Bethel Inaugurated Sixth President

Bethel College in Mishawaka conducted an investiture ceremony to formally instate Steven R. Cramer as the college's sixth president, Sunday, November 7, 2004. The ceremony, which was by invitation only, took place at 2:30 p.m. in the Everest-Rohrer Chapel/Fine Arts Center auditorium on the Bethel campus. A reception was immediately following the ceremony in the Wiekamp Center.

In 1987, Cramer began his role as vice president for institutional advancement at Bethel College. He was subsequently appointed the sixth president of the college, and officially assumed those duties on July 1, 2004, following the retirement of former president Norman V. Bridges.

During his 17-year tenure at the college, Cramer served on Dr. Bridges' administrative team and assisted him in the planning and development that helped fuel the college's dramatic growth. In 2000 he chaired the process leading to Bethel's current ten-year strategic plan.

Specifically, Cramer designed and implemented four fundraising campaigns, totaling $21.5 million. He currently is leading the college's $34 million "Design for Distinction" campaign, which is slated to conclude in December, 2004. To date, funds raised toward the campaign have surpassed the goal and now stand at approximately $37.2 million.

A 1975 Bethel College graduate, Cramer earned his master of science in administration from the University of Notre Dame and a Ph.D. in educational leadership and administration from Indiana State University in Terre Haute. Before coming to Bethel, Cramer was the Executive Director of the St. Joseph's Care Foundation, where he developed fund raising opportunities for the foundation, increasing gift-income ten-fold.

Born on September 15, 1950 near LaPaz, IN, and a graduate of LaVille High School, Cramer has his roots in northern Indiana. He and his wife, Terri, reside in Osceola, IN, and are the parents of three grown children—Jodi (Ryan) Culp; Jeff (Kristin) and James. The Cramers also have two grandchildren.  

During the November 7 inauguration ceremony, Bethel bestowed honorary degrees on three distinguished academicians and accomplished church, business and civic leaders. Wesley L. Gerig was recognized with an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree. For the past 53 years, Dr. Gerig has served as a Missionary Church pastor, professor and biblical theologian. While teaching at Fort Wayne Bible College/Taylor University, Dr. Gerig has served as an instructor and director of admissions for the Winona Lake School of Theology as well as a pastor and speaker. He also has taught in Bethel's Graduate Program.

Renowned evangelical apologist William L. Craig received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree. Dr. Craig is an ordained evangelist in the Missionary church and former missionary with World Partners, as well as professor-at-large at Bethel College. Currently, Dr. Craig is president of both the Philosophy of Time Society and the Evangelical Philosophical Society, and serves as research professor at Talbot School of Theology and visiting professor at Wheaton College.

Bethel College Trustee Emeritus William E. White was presented with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. Since 1966 White served on the Bethel Board of Trustees, for 17 years as its chairman. Throughout his career, White has held key administrative positions at several major manufacturing facilities and has provided leadership to various business and civic organizations. White also has been active through the years in the Missionary Church on the congregational, district and denominational levels.