For the 70th year in a row, loyal Bethel alumni and friends gathered at First Mennonite Church, Reedley, California, for the annual Bethel College Fellowship Banquet. Sixty-six people attended the Jan. 30 event.
“It began in the 1946–47 school year,” said Joleen Siebert ’73, emcee. “Alumni and supporters in California are contacted, but the bulk of the attendees are from Reedley and Fresno. Prospective high school students are invited as guests of the Bethel Fellowship Committee.”
An alumni choir performed “O Thou, in Whose Presence” by former music professor J. Harold Moyer ’49, directed by David Boldt ’78, with Andrea Friesen ’91 on flute and Chris Janzen ’04 on guitar. President Perry White and Dalene White attended, and he gave an update from the college.
“It was a lovely evening,” Siebert concluded.
As part of the program, Roberta (Graber) Linscheid ’79 asked alumni to jot a college memory on notecards supplied at the tables. Then she read them to the audience. Some recollections were anonymous; others added their name to their words.
- “Bethel is where I met Marden Habegger [’38], who became my husband,” wrote Marianna Habegger ’37, at age 99 the oldest person there. The marriage theme continued on other cards: “I met my wife, a fellow waiter in the Bethel dining hall,” and “My first day at Bethel, I met a girl that I thought I would like to get to know. I ended up marrying that girl.”
- Others wrote of “Physicist Edward Teller speaking at convo”; “Shuffling, weary bodies that had been up until 4 a.m. studying (of course), [going] to Dr. Dwight Platt’s bio class at 7 a.m.”; “Singing with Open Road and the Concert Choir while touring Europe during interterm”; and “Chanticleer, the Count Basie Orchestra, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, The Klezmatics—world-class musicianship five minutes from the Mods!”
- Other recollections were of “Ultimate Frisbee on the Green,” the “yearly Buffalo Barbeque, [with] buffalo from Western Kansas, quite an event” and the “1960 homecoming football game when it poured rain. We dried off afterward, changed clothes and went to the banquet.”
- There were also pranks: “The convocation when the shower of green ping-pong balls fell from the catwalk, bounced off a music stand and fanned out behind President Schultz” and “Going to convocation and watching a live mouse parachute down from the catwalks and scamper across the stage. The mouse belonged to another student.”