After winning a fifth-straight Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament, the Bethel Women’s tennis team made its fourth trip in a row to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics championships in Mobile, Ala., in late May. Among Bethel players’ KCAC honors: Freshman of the Year, Ashley Koester, Conway Springs; Newcomer of the Year, Allie Hipp, Claflin; Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Miranda Weaver, senior from Hesston; and, for the third straight year, Most Valuable Player, Katie Malotte, graduating senior from Marysville. Lonnie Isaac ’93 was named Coach of the Year. .

Sand Creek Community Gardens on campus received a grant of $4,506 this spring through the Kansas Community Gardens Project, a joint initiative of the Kansas Health Foundation and Kansas State University Research and Extension. SCCG was one of only 24 community garden efforts in the state to receive funding in the project’s inaugural year.

At Bethel’s May 20 commencement ceremonies, Brad Born ’84, vice president of academic affairs, presented the Ralph P. Schrag Distinguished Teaching Award to Francisca Méndez-Harclerode, assistant professor of biology. The award is based on peer reviews and student evaluations.

Also at commencement, Keith Sprunger, professor of history emeritus, was honored for serving nearly 50 years as a historian, the past five of which he has dedicated to creating a new history book narrating Bethel’s 125 years. President Perry White presented Sprunger with the Julius and Agatha Dyck Franz Community Service Award, given periodically to a faculty member judged to have made an especially important contribution to the college community beyond the normal expectations.

The eighth-best women’s discus throw in the nation in late April at the Southwestern Relays in Winfield sent Erin Bradley, junior from Newton, on her first trip to the NAIA Track & Field Championships in Marion, Ind. Bradley finished 15th with a throw of 41.23 m. Her Southwestern throw of 44.25 m set a new Bethel record, breaking the previous one set by Bradley’s teammate, Dorothy Voth, graduating senior from Hesston.

Bethel’s annual URICA Summer Research Grants (URICA stands for Undergraduate Research, Internships and Creative Activity) provide a $1,000 stipend to each student selected, with an additional award of $250 to the faculty mentor/s and $250 to the student’s department to help defray research expenses. This year’s summer grant recipients are Leah Bartel, senior from Golden, Colo., social work; Ariane Bergen, senior from Moundridge, psychology and biology; Emma Regier, senior from Newton, biology; and Natalie Stucky, senior from Moundridge, law history.

Two Bethel basketball players were named NAIA (Division II)-Daktronics All-America Scholar-Athletes: Justin Baldia, senior from Lewisville, Texas, and, for the second year in a row, Jessica Muckenthaler, graduating senior from Emporia. Nominated by their head coaches, student-athletes must have achieved junior academic status and must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale to qualify for this honor.

The Kansas State Board of Nursing presented a certificate of excellence to Bethel and the Department of Nursing May 7, recognizing an NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination for registered nurses) pass rate above the national average for first-time takers in 2011.

Timothy Shade, assistant professor of music and director of the Bethel College Chamber Orchestra and Bethel College Wind Ensemble, was named Outstanding Young Bandmaster for 2012 by the Kansas Bandmasters Association and Phi Beta Mu, a bandmasters’ fraternal organization.