Bethel University (Tennessee)
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Bethel University is a Christian institute of higher education in Tennessee, accredited to bestow degrees to the master's level. Bethel University's main campus is located in McKenzie, Tennessee, with satellite campuses located in Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, Jackson, Paris, and Clarksville.
|Type||Private, four-year University|
|Affiliation||Cumberland Presbyterian Church|
|Colors||Purple and Gold|
|Athletics||NAIA, Southern States Athletic Conference, Mid-South Conference|
Founded in 1842 as Bethel Seminary, it became Bethel College in 1847 and assumed its current name in 2009. Bethel University student enrollment as of Fall 2017 consisted of 4,579 students. On August 4, 2014, Bethel University and the Board of Trustees officially announced Dr. Walter Butler as its 40th president, a position he held on an interim basis since August 1, 2013 after longtime President Dr. Robert Prosser retired.
In the 2010s, Bethel University began renovating and building new facilities to accommodate its rapidly growing enrollment numbers.
On May 8, 2010, the university held a dedication service for its newest building, the Ray and Linda Morris Science Complex, featuring new laboratories, additional classrooms, and a lecture hall. Also dedicated that year was a new residence hall, University Hall, which houses up to 250 students.
June the following year saw the reopening of the Odom Hall math building after extensive renovations, along with Heritage Hall, a new three-story residence hall which was dedicated in August 2011.
The university's most ambitious construction plan also saw its first of four phases completed in August 2011. Phase I of the Vera Low Center for Student Enrichment features a new cafeteria, student services offices, bookstore, enrollment offices and a student activities room. Phase II of the Rosemary and Harry L. Crisp Arena, which opened in Spring 2012, consists of a new gymnasium, athletic training facilities, offices, and a fitness center for students, faculty, and general public. Phase III, the Cumberland Chapel, was under construction as of May 2012[update].
In conjunction with the Henry County Medical Center, in November 2012, Bethel University opened its new satellite campus for the Physician Assistant Program along with the medical centers' new Diagnostic Center.
The bulk of students attending Bethel University are residents of Tennessee, but the school does take students from other states and countries. Each year, two international students are chosen to receive the Honors Scholarship for International Students which includes full tuition, room, meals, and all fees.
Bethel University consists of three colleges: the College of Arts & Sciences, the College of Professional Studies, and the College of Health Sciences. The University offers Associates, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Arts, Master of Business Administration, and Master of Science degrees through a variety of academic programs. Since 1988, it has hosted the two-day academically-based Hendrix Scholarship Competition offering full tuition and board for the winner, with full tuition for the runner up. Students who qualify may enter the Honors program, receiving a $10,000 scholarship per academic year.
Music, drama and performing arts are organized through a variety of entities within Bethel University. The academic branch of Bethel University houses the department of music, as well as the department of theatre. The department of music offers academic classes that fulfill requirements for graduation in the areas of music education, music performance, music business, and church music. Music performing ensembles found in the department of music include the Wildcat Marching Band, Academic Concert Symphonic Band, Academic Wind Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, Brazilian Drum Ensemble, Brass Ensemble, Jazz Band, Choir (Bethel University Singers,) Chamber Choir, and various student-led performing groups. Students can receive healthy scholarships (regardless of their academic major) through membership in the Wildcat Marching Band, Wildcat Symphonic Band, and the Bethel University Singers. The department of theatre offers traditional performance experiences through productions that span through both fall and spring semesters.
Renaissance performance groups include: The Renaissance Choir, Vocal Authority, The Renaissance Quartet, The Renaissance Bluegrass Bands, Renaissance Theatre, Renaissance ACTS, and The Renaissance Regiment.
Bethel University teams, nicknamed athletically as the Wildcats, are part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division I level, primarily competing in the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) in all sports; except for track and field, bowling and football, which compete in the Mid-South Conference (MSC). Bethel was a charter member of the Volunteer State Athletic Conference (VSAC). Prior to competing in the TranSouth Athletic Conference (TSAC), Bethel was in the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (KIAC). Bethel University's mascot is the Wildcat. Bethel offers Intramural sports in a wide variety of areas. Activities include: beach volleyball, dodge ball, co-ed soccer, tennis, softball, flag football, basketball, and many other events.
Some of the sport teams' accomplishments include:
- Men's Soccer – NAIA National Champions 2008. Played four of five years at the National Tournament.
- In-Line Hockey – National Champions in 2011-2012 and 2018-2019 National Champions; Southeastern Champions, second place in the National Championship for 2010 against club teams.
- Bass Fishing – Southern Collegiate Champions for 2010-11, Match Champions, Invitation Champions, 1st Triple Crown Champion.
- Women's Basketball – Three straight National Tournament appearances, ranked in “top ten” in the NAIA for 2010-11.
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- Bethel Athletics
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