Celebrating Bethel’s 70th Year: the 1960s
Majors Offered: Elementary Education, Music, Music Education, Choral-General Teaching (Education), English Education, English, Biology Education, Biology, General Science, Biblical Literature (accompanied by choice of Christian Education, Missions, Pastoral Theology, English, History), Social Studies Education, Social Studies Teaching Area and History
Sports: Men’s Basketball, Baseball, Men’s Golf, Men’s Tennis, Cheerleading
Theatre production: The Miracle Worker
New construction: Oakwood (1965), Hall of Science (completed 1964)
Lauralee Nothstine ’67, a Mishawaka native, grew up near the Bethel College campus. In fact, she dedicated her life to Christ at Liberty Drive Missionary Church (now College Park Missionary Church) at age 16, just a few blocks away. Though she spent the first year of college at a different school, a desire to be closer to home led Lauralee to enroll at Bethel.
“God had his stamp of approval on that phase of my life,” she recalls. “The wonderful Christian professors at Bethel, the meaningful chapel services, the Missions Club and the activities at Bethel all contributed to a heart content on where God had directed me.”
Despite being a commuter student, Lauralee was very involved on campus. She served as treasurer in student government and was an active member of the Missions Club. On top of this, she kept busy working at a bakery across from Bethel.
Lauralee studied elementary education – a major that remains one of Bethel’s most popular today. Faculty members like Bernice (Schultz) Pettifor and Pauline (Getz) Medhurst made a lasting impression on her.
“[Prof. Getz] was such an inspiration to me because of my creative writing and speech interests,” says Lauralee.
Shultz, a professor of Elementary Education, was a huge encouragement to Lauralee; she also served as her supervisor during student teaching.
“I always appreciated her,” says Lauralee of Shultz.
Not only was Bethel the training ground for Lauralee’s future career – it was also the place where she met her husband, Bible major Thomas Nothstine ’66. Together, they dedicated their lives to serving the Kingdom of God and raising their three children.
After getting married, Lauralee taught elementary school while her husband earned his seminary degree. The couple served at El Dorado First Church of the Nazarene in Arkansas before going to Swaziland, Africa, where they served for 18 years. In 1994, they were reassigned to Madagascar, in the southeastern part of the country. During their time there, Lauralee used her elementary education degree by developing a ministry for youth. The Nothstines continued to serve in Madagascar until their retirement in 2007.
Lauralee now works as a reference and technical services assistant at Olivet Nazarene University – the former home of Bethel College President Gregg Chenoweth. (Dr. Chenoweth’s wife Tammy also happens to be Lauralee’s niece). Clearly, the ties the Nothstines have with Bethel remain strong.
The couple attended last year’s commencement ceremony to celebrate Tom’s 50th class reunion, and reflected on some significant changes to the campus. Perhaps most notable is the development of facilities across campus. In 1967, the Huffman Administration Building served as the dining hall, chapel, library and lecture hall. The Middleton Hall of Science was under construction, and the Everest-Rohrer Chapel was nothing more than a dream.
“Today, when I walk across campus, I am sure my mouth is agape with wonder at the beauty of our Bethel. What a marvelous transformation from her baby stage to where she is today,” Lauralee says. She and Tom plan to attend this year’s commencement to celebrate her 50th class year reunion.
The words she has for current Bethel students are simple:
“Keep your hearts and minds focused on God’s plan for your life. It is not down the road after graduation or after post graduate work — it is what you are doing in the next 15 minutes, in the next 24 hours.”