The Walter C. and Helen E. Claassen Endowed Chair in Business Administration, endowed by gifts from retired Newton businessman Walter Claassen and his late wife Helen, will fund the salary of an outstanding scholar and teacher in the business and economics department at Bethel College.


The Walter C. and Helen E. Claassen Endowed Chair in Business Administration, endowed by gifts from retired Newton businessman Walter Claassen and his late wife Helen, will fund the salary of an outstanding scholar and teacher in the business and economics department at Bethel College. Professor of Business and Economics Allison J. McFarland was the chairís first recipient in an Oct. 27 ceremony at the college.

Walter Claassen, a Newton native who lives in North Newton, attended Bethel College and graduated from The University of Kansas, then went on to the Harvard Business School for a master of business administration. He worked in Chicago and served four years in the U.S. Navy before returning to Newton to work in the Kansas State Bank, which his grandfather had helped start. From 1962 through 1982, Walter Claassen served as bank president.

Claassen has a long history of service to the Newton community. He has served on numerous boards, including the Bethel College Board and the United Methodist Youthville Board.

In his retirement, he has stayed busy with church activities at Newton First Presbyterian Church, as well as civic organizations and voluntary service. Helen Claassen also was active in church and community, serving on the Newton Public Library Board, the Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony Orchestra Board and the Newton Community Theater Board.