Presidential Legacy – Steven R. Cramer, Ph.D. (1950- )
Steven R. Cramer, Ph.D. (Indiana State University), was inaugurated as Bethel’s sixth president in 2004. A 1975 Bethel graduate in Music and its 2002 Alumnus of the Year, he worked for Bethel in admissions from 1973-1975 and church relations from 1982-1985 and then returned once more in 1987 as Bethel’s vice president for institutional advancement. He would serve 17 years in that role, designing and implementing five fundraising campaigns totaling more than $50 million. During his presidency enrollment continued to climb to more than 2,100 students, as Bethel continued to rise in its ranking of the Midwest’s Best Baccalaureate Colleges by U.S. News & World Report. Bethel study abroad offerings were expanded; the music department received NASM accreditation; and the campus became more intentional in its multi-ethnic programming. Cramer worked to secure the long-term financial future of Bethel during a period of national economic crisis. Despite the economic upheaval, the college was able to move forward with multiple building projects, including the Pannabecker Math and Science Laboratories, a new west campus entrance and a renovated Helm, the Lodge residence hall, a renovated Dining Commons, and an enlarged College Bookstore/ Coffee shop. The campus borders were also expanded with the purchase of approximately 13 acres to the south. There were several firsts during this time, such as the appointment of the first two female vice presidents, the launch of online degree programs, the visit from a sitting U.S. President (George W. Bush), and hosting the Missionary Church General Conference. In February of 2011, the campus was once again touched by a profound spiritual revival.