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Bender Receives Distinguished Saint Paul's Graduate Award

Kelly R. Bender ’68, senior pastor of Paradise Valley (Ariz.) United Methodist Church, has been named Distinguished Graduate of the St. Paul School of Theology, Kansas City, Mo. The award is given annually to the graduate who “best exemplifies the purpose and ideals of the seminary, and who has been particularly effective in ministry.”

A native of Ulysses, Bender served nine years as senior pastor of the First United Methodist Church in Wichita, and has been at the 2,000-member Paradise Valley church since 2001. He graduated from St. Paul’s in 1971. He was a trustee of Southwestern College from 1987 to 1999.

In addition to his ministerial credentials, Rev. Bender is a certified family life educator; he holds a master’s degree and a doctorate from Kansas State University. He has led numerous workshops around the Midwest, and in 2001 was awarded the Community Enrichment Award from the Sedgwick County Commission for his founding leadership in downtown redevelopment.

Lady Builders in Nation's Top Five

The Southwestern College women’s basketball team has earned prestigious distinction by placing in the Academic Top 25 Honor Roll for 2002-2003 by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA). The award recognizes the nation’s highest team grade point averages (GPAs) for the 2002-2003 season based upon nominations submitted by WBCA-member coaches.

The Lady Moundbuilders finished fourth in the NAIA and were the only school from the state of Kansas in the top 25 with a team GPA of 3.513.

“I am very proud of the efforts of our team in the academic area,” says head coach Dave Denly. “One of our emphases every year is to not only be a competitive basketball team but a competitive academic team. We set a goal at the beginning of the season to have a team GPA of 3.5 and to be one of the top 10 academic schools in the NAIA. We are excited to represent Southwestern and the Lady Builder basketball program in this way.”

Finishing first was Concordia (Neb.) University with a 3.660 team GPA followed by Carroll College (Wisc.), 3.608, and Midland Lutheran College (Neb.), 3.524.

Celebrating 50 Years: The Class of 1953

Front row (l. to r.): Joe Toledo, Donna (Fall) Alexander, Dorothy (McCoy) Dvorak, Wanda Ecker, Shirley (Bailey) Coad, Vela (Longhofer) Vincent, Darlene (Branson) Smith, Connie (Kerr) Lee, Wanda (Kirkhart) Smith, Gwen (Simon) Ramsay.
Middle row:
Carolyn (Combs) Smith, Colleen (Tarrant) Warren, Phyllis (Hartnett) McMurry, Lois Klitze, Luther Kiser, Neil Frank, Frank Newman, Jim Pake.
Back row:
Duane Harms, Bill Neely, Robley Rhine, Joe Gillaspie, Virginia (Chism) Nichols, Gweneth (McDonald) West, Jim Farney.

Celebrating 50+ Years: Classes of 1952 and Before

Front row (l. to r.): Howard West, Bill Stanley, Cloyce (Brown) Stanley, Everett Samuelson, Lois (Boyd) Samuelson, Harold Deets, Garland Hattan, Betty (Eckl) Bean, Mary Lois (Fulton) Smith, Betty (McGowan) Bradley, Betty Jean (Matthews) Robinson, Virginia (Roberts) Fikes.
Back row: Byron White, Sidney Brown, Marvin Bean, Vena (Condit) Hiebsch, Ken Hiebsch, Forrest Robinson, Joe Sims, J.C. Fikes.

Bernie Nickel: SC Ambassador

When Bernie and Dorothy Nickel arrived in Winfield in 1949, by Bernie’s estimation, “there were no two poorer kids.”

But they had one goal: “ Our goal was to be part of the community,” says the retired optometrist. “If we did something, we wanted to leave it as a part of Winfield.”

No goal has ever been more admirably met, and in recognition of the couple’s philanthropic spirit, Bernie Nickel was named the Southwestern College Ambassador for 2003. He shares the award with Dorothy, who died in 1999. The couple has been an active supporter of SC students through their scholarship fund.

Although trained as an elementary school teacher, Dorothy had her greatest impact on Winfield as a volunteer. She was a noted book reviewer, and a leader in P.E.O., a women’s organization. She also was active in Christian women’s groups and served several years on the library board.

Bernie, too, has been a community leader. In addition to his active optometry practice, he served two terms (eight years) on the school board, and three terms (nine years) on the governor-appointed State Board of Examiners for Optometry. He serves actively in Rotary, and in the First United Methodist Church, and was a Chamber of Commerce ambassador six years.

His volunteer time is spent in a varied manner, from the youth he spends time with as part of the HOST (Helping One Student to Succeed) program, to business owners as part of SCORE (Senior Corps of Retired Executives), to senior drivers as an area examiner for AARP (where he teaches safety and reaction rules and does visual exams).

In a few months, he will leave for Panama on his third trip as a member in VOSH (Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity). The 10 professional optometrists will see up to 3,000 persons during the 10-day trip, paying their own travel costs and donating their time.

Garland Hattan ’34: SC Alumni Award

If the choir at East Heights United Methodist Church sounded familiar to Moundbuilders in 1945, Garland Hattan has a good explanation.

He was newly-returned from World War II and still wearing his Navy uniform when SC alum and Methodist minister Basil Johnson approached him. Johnson had been charged with organizing a new church in east Wichita. Would Garland pull together a choir?

Then, as now, Garland was a willing volunteer. By the time he had finished recruiting, he had organized a 34-member choir, and half the members had Southwestern roots—17 of them had sung with Hattan in the A Cappella Choir. A program still noted for is musical excellence was born.

Over the years Garland has continued to support and encourage SC, as the alumni representative and class agent of the class of 1934 for many decades and as a member of the president’s advisory council in Wichita. For his enthusiastic support of Southwestern he was presented the SC Alumni Award during Homecoming 2004.

He now is “triple retired,” he says. After a 10-year stint as administrator for the G.I. Bill with the Veterans Administration, he transferred to the postal service and was in charge of personnel programs for Kansas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska until he retired in 1971. He remained in the Naval Reserves after leaving active service, and helped organize the reserve program in Wichita (he was battalion training officer for three divisions of 200 men each for 17 years). He also sold cars for his brother, Don Hattan, long enough to qualify for retirement there.

Now he continues to spend time volunteering, and he’s returned to his musical roots. For eight summers, he’s filled in as choir director in the Church of the Wildwood, Green Mountain Falls, Colo., where he and his wife, Frieda, spend their summers.