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The Clarion

The Student News Site of Bethel University

The Clarion

The Student News Site of Bethel University

The Clarion

Back in the day

Professors share memories from their time as a student or early years teaching here, accompanied by photos from old Bethel rosters.

Brian Holland, Business, Hired in 1985

Brian Holland

On my office door is a photo of my car with three of my students that wrapped it in cellophane. To the left is my car, and it’s that student’s dad with three other people who wrapped my car when his dad was a student here. 

And you know what happened, which makes the story even funnier? So, I go out and it’s not wrapped anymore. Security unwrapped it and didn’t even tell me that my car was wrapped. So I went down to security and I said, “Thank you for unwrapping my car,” but I said, “I’m a little disappointed that you didn’t tell me.” 

And they said, “Well, we still have an open case to try and figure out who did this to you,” and I said, “Let’s close the case, I already know who did it.” They didn’t mean any harm. They were just doing it because their dad did it to me.



Dave Wetzell, Mathematics, Hired in 1985

Dave Wetzell

I always enjoyed attending Bethel sporting events, including football. St. John’s was always a difficult opponent, to say the least. In 1999, our lifetime record against the Johnnies was 0-20. Yes, we had never defeated St. John’s. In 1998, we played in Collegeville and lost 10-3, a close score. That year we played at home, and I had a gut feeling that this was the year. So I offered extra credit to all my students if they would attend the game. Over 90% of my students took me up on my offer. The final score: Bethel 24, St. John’s 20.





Marion Larson, English and Journalism, Hired in 1986

Marion Larson

A couple of years after I started working at Bethel, I was out for a run around campus in the middle of the day. I was wearing a Wheaton College T-shirt — that’s my alma mater. George Brushaber, Bethel’s former president, drove past me as I was running. Apparently he saw me, because a few days later a Bethel T-shirt appeared in my P.O. I took the hint.







Gretchen Wrobel, Psychology, Hired in 1988

Gretchen Wrobel

While they were building the Great Hall, there was a marshy area because it’s close to the lake, and they pounded steel pylons into the ground to support the building. I don’t know how many, but it was a lot. And so for almost a whole semester, we would hear that all day long. And when you were teaching, it was going on all day long. I had a classroom that was going to be the butt of the new building, and it was crazy. All day. It’s a beautiful building, and we were so excited to not have Chapel in the gym anymore.





Bill Kinney, Mathematics, Class of 1990

Bill Kinney

During my freshman year, the winter was fairly warm. It was so nice one day in early March with a high of around 70 that my calculus professor David Wetzell told us we could have class outside if someone could find him a movable chalkboard. Someone said he would do it, bolted out of the room to go get it and we were outside having class within about five minutes. So now I always tell my students that I learned L’Hopital’s Rule outside.

One memory that stands out teaching was that during one class up on RC fourth floor, out of the blue, some random unknown person in a gorilla suit opened the door and yelled as they ran across the back of the room before leaving. Ever since that I’ve used it as an example for probability. 

I say, “What is the probability that in the next 10 seconds, some random unknown person in a gorilla suit will open the door and yell as they run across the back of the room before leaving? The answer may be small, but it’s NOT zero … it happened!”

Amy Poppinga, History, Philosophy and Political Science, Class of 1999

Amy Poppinga

I was a teaching assistant in the history department. Along with two other TAs, we planned an overnight stay in one of our professor’s offices. There were no surveillance cameras then, and we had to hide from security when they made the rounds because students weren’t allowed to stay in the building overnight. Not the most exciting story, but definitely one of my favorite memories. One of the TAs remains one of my closest friends, and that’s how we met. 






Michelle Wingard, Art and Design, Class of 2000

Michelle Wingard

I remember how significant Raspberry Monday felt to me as a Bethel student. I submitted work for the first time as a sophomore, and sadly I didn’t get into that year’s show. The next year, I entered Raspberry Monday again, and much to my surprise, one of my works was selected. 

At the award ceremony, everyone speculated about whose work might be selected to win a Purchase Award and be added to Bethel’s Permanent Art Collection. All of my speculations were seniors, so I was completely shocked when my name was announced as the winner of a Purchase Award. Knowing that the art faculty selects the works they want to add to the Permanent Art Collection was an incredible encouragement to me at that moment. I think Raspberry Monday is still one of my very favorite days of the Bethel academic year. 



Sara Wyse, Biological Sciences, Class of 2005

Sara Wyse

For the Ecuador and Galápagos Islands interim trip, we were in the Amazon rainforest going for a night float on the river with the goal of seeing some nocturnal animals. We approached the bank of the river and were ready to turn on the light to see what we could see. The boat was parallel to shore rather than perpendicular, and when the light went on a caiman jumped right into our boat! 

All the students were screaming and jumping up into their chairs — it was quite a miracle we didn’t tip the boat. Our native guide wrangled the caiman with his hands before returning it safely to the water. Needless to say, that memory has stuck with me over the years. We were blessed to see, even up very close, biodiversity that inspired awe and wonder. That study abroad trip was incredibly impactful to me as a learner and future ecologist, caiman and all. 

Answers have been edited for brevity and clarity.

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About the Contributor
Molly Wilson, News Editor
Molly Wilson, 21, is a senior journalism and political science double major and math minor. She likes her Retro Boardwalk Owala water bottle, being a student manager of Lucia Chorum and experimenting with her newly pierced ears. [email protected] | 763.242.6904
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