Bethel College Graduation 2017

Party at the Ponds

The Graduate Dinner is moving outside! Instead of a sit down meal, we are turning the dinner into Class of 2017 Party at the Ponds. We will have a light dinner, activities around the pond and end with a time of prayer.  Details are all here!

Countdown to Commencement

Commencement Preparations: Attention students

Rehearsal will begin at 9 a.m. for the morning ceremony and 4 p.m. for the afternoon ceremony (BE ON TIME) the day of commencement in the Everest-Rohrer Auditorium. Please be there promptly so that we are able to prepare well for the ceremony. It is critical that you arrive on time.

Commencement line-up

We will prepare for the processional during rehearsal and will begin to march from the Auditorium. Do not be late for rehearsal. Students who are not in the auditorium prior to the commencement line-up will not be allowed to participate in the commencement ceremony.

Inclement weather

Bad weather may dictate that the rehearsal be conducted in Goodman Gymnasium. Signs will be posted directing graduates to Goodman if necessary.

Graduation Ceremonies

Saturday morning commencement

  • Adult programs
  • Organizational management
  • BSN completion
  • Graduate programs

Saturday, April 29, 10 a.m.
Wiekamp Athletic Center

Saturday afternoon commencement

  • Traditional undergraduate programs
  • BSN
  • ADN

Saturday, April 29, 5 p.m.
Wiekamp Athletic Center

The processional will leave the Everest-Rohrer Fine Arts Center (weather permitting) at 9:50 a.m. and 4:50 p.m. Guests not seated by 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. will be held until the entire processional has entered Wiekamp Athletic Center.

The 2017 commencement ceremony is a ticketed event. Tickets will be required to attend the ceremony. (Each student will be given eight tickets for friends and family. Tickets will be picked up at the graduation fair BY STUDENTS or in the Campus Store with the cap and gown. Tickets not picked up by April 25, will be redistributed. Please contact the Campus Store if you need to make arrangements to get your tickets after April 25.)

Commencement Speakers

Bethel College is pleased to its three speakers for the 70th graduation ceremony.

Virginia Krake 1947 Grad

Virginia (Schultz) Krake ’49 was one of two upper classmen (both pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Bible) who transferred to Bethel College for its first semester of classes. The second student, Marcus Krake ’48, whom she met on campus and eventually became her husband, was the sole graduate of the class of 1948.

The Bethel College of 1947 was a place of eager anticipation for students and faculty alike. In the very first year of the college’s existence, the enrollment for the first semester was a mere 87 brave young people becoming a part of history.

“What I would want to say to [current] students is that I’m very glad I followed the Lord’s direction and came to Bethel … I thought I was making a sacrifice to do what the Lord wanted me to do when I came to Bethel … but it didn’t prove to be a sacrifice. It proved to be a blessing,” Krake said.

Though many years have passed since her graduation, Krake remains in contact with some of her peers from Bethel, and her family legacy at Bethel lives on. All four of the Krake’s children attended the college and three graduated, including Barbara (Krake) Rodgers ’75, administrative assistant to Bethel’s current president. Rodgers’ two daughters also graduated from Bethel: Emily (Rodgers ’99) Sherwood, current director of alumni relations at the college and Andrea (Rodgers ’02) Gregory.

Read her entire story on the Bethel Blog.

Gary Varvel cartoonist

Gary Varvel has been the editorial cartoonist for The Indianapolis Star since 1994. In a career that started in 1978 as the chief artist at The Indianapolis News, Varvel was inducted into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame in 2015.

His work is syndicated through Creators Syndicate and his cartoons have appeared on CNN, FoxNews and in Newsweek, Time, The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, The Arizona Republic, San Diego Union Tribune, National Review and Sports Illustrated. His work has also been reprinted in many college and high school textbooks.

Varvel has won the National Headliners Award, Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, National Cartoonists Society Reuben Award for Best Editorial Cartoonist, Grambs Aronson Award for Cartooning with a Conscience, Indiana Society of Professional Journalists' Award for Best Editorial Cartoon and the Best Editorial Cartoonist Award in the Hoosier State Press Association.

He is also a board member of House of Grace Films and co-writer and producer of the films, “The Board” (2009) and “The War Within” (2014), which was winner of seven film festival awards. Varvel also authored and published a children’s book, “The Good Shepherd” (2015).

Varvel is a life-long Hoosier who lives west of Indianapolis with his wife, Carol. They have three children and five grandchildren.

Take a look at the illustrations Varvel created to depict Bethel's history.


Don Clark has more than 30 years of successful recreational vehicle industry experience with a proven track record of leading and growing companies throughout the industry. Clark’s history includes: distressed company turnarounds, successful startups, and helping businesses grow. Prior to co-founding the RV company Grand Design, Clark had significant impact at two other companies. He was named president and successfully led the turnaround of a struggling Thor division, and he was part of the owner/management team that helped drive Keystone RV Company to become the largest towable manufacturer in the world.

Most recently, Clark, along with partners Ron and Bill Fenech, recruited and built the team that led Grand Design RV to become one of the fastest growing RV manufacturers in the history of the industry. In four short years, Grand Design grew to be a dominant player in its space; it was acquired by Winnebago for just over $500 million in October 2016.

Clark was recently honored by Ernst and Young by being awarded the Ernst and Young “Entrepreneur of the year for the Ohio Valley Region.” Clark’s coaching management style has attracted some of the strongest talent in the industry. In spite of these accomplishments, he lists his most monumental accomplishment as his three children Courtney, Austin and Caitlin, who continue to amaze and inspire him each and every day.

Commencement Ceremony Information

Special arrangements needed?

Please contact Susan Williams if there is an injury or disability that will require special accommodations at commencement.

Campus store hours

The campus store will be open Friday 9 a.m. – 7 p.m., and Saturday 8:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. during commencement weekend. The store will have an extensive inventory of Bethel apparel as well as very attractive diploma frames with mat.

Student Questions?

Before contacting the college with questions about the 2017 Commencement, please review this website. If you still have questions, feel free to contact the appropriate staff.

Adult, OM, graduate programs, and BSN Completion students should contact Sara Silveus.

Students in Traditional and ADN should contact Susan Williams.

Nurse Pinning

Pinning Rehearsal

There will be a mandatory rehearsal for pinning prior to the service on Saturday, April 29. The pinning ceremony will be held at 1:30 p.m. in the Everest-Rohrer auditorium.

You must be present to help the service go smoothly. Those with speaking or singing parts are asked to arrive at 12:30 p.m. for a sound check.

Dress for the Pinning Ceremony

Professional dress is required for all graduates. Dress as if you were dressing for a job interview. Suits or dress pants and dress shirts are appropriate. Professional pantsuits are also acceptable. For ladies, high heels should be avoided since you must walk across the stage. Tops that are sleeveless, have spaghetti straps, or are low cut are not professional and are not to be worn.

If you cannot attend

Since graduates are individually recognized in this ceremony, if you cannot attend, please contact Deborah Gillum at 574.807.7015.


Pictures are not to be taken during Pinning, but there will be ample opportunity afterwards to have a repeat on each individual being pinned. There will also be some group photo opportunities immediately after the service, e.g. entire group of graduates, Grace students, etc. Please speak with Deborah Gillum if you would like a special group photo to be taken. Family is also welcome to take pictures at that time.

About the Nursing Pin

The pin has three symbols that represent nursing at Bethel College. The pin also states the degree received with a white pin representing the ADN degree, a blue pin for the BSN degree, and a gold pin for the MSN degree.

  • The Helm: This symbolizes the Bethel College belief that God is at the helm of the ship of life and can assist the graduate through uncharted waters.
  • The Lamp: This represents the vision of the Bethel College graduate nurse in bringing support and comfort to those in darkness.
  • The Shield: This represents the shield of knowledge that enables the Bethel College graduate nurse to provide safe care to clients.
  • The Pin Guard: Pin guards are an optional accessory graduates can attach to their pin to provide safety and to further represent the degree that has been received. You can order these on the form you have been provided with.


Before contacting the college with questions about the 2017 Commencement, please review this website. If you still have questions, feel free to contact the appropriate staff.

Student-only Information

Details on tickets, ordering caps and gowns, and more is on MyBethel. Please log in.