A meteorologist, World War II refugee and a district attorney are all scheduled to speak in North Newton this fall.
Bethel College Life Enrichment recently released its schedule of speakers for the fall 2019 semester.
The weekly series, which is designed for adults age 60 and over, is held from 9:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. each Wednesday beginning Aug. 28 in Krehbiel Auditorium at Luyken Fine Arts Center on the campus of Bethel College.
"We're in our 45th year, which is amazing to me that something like this has gone on that long," said Gary Rediger, chairman of the Life Enrichment Committee. "It's developed a reputation."
Life Enrichment typically features three speakers each week, with each session focusing on a different topic.
The Life Enrichment committee takes on the task of gathering speaker and topic suggestions and putting together a semester-long schedule.
Rediger said they try to include at least one presentation from a list of 14 categories that includes history, economics and science.
"All of us on the committee are keep our eyes and ears open, but a lot of suggestions also come from our audience," Rediger said.
The committee can start out with more than 100 ideas and must narrow it down to the topics that hold the most interest for their audience and for which speakers are available.
"Even ones that I didn't think I wanted to go to are interesting and I learn something," Rediger said.
With an average attendance of close to 200 people each week, Life Enrichment provides attendees the opportunity to learn more about both local and global issues.
"We've been told that other colleges call Bethel College after hearing about our program because they're impressed with it," Rediger said.
Some speakers, such as former TV anchor and photojournalist Larry Hatteberg and Manhattan author Ronald Parks, will have presentations long enough to warrant double sessions.
Other speakers scheduled to appear at Life Enrichment include Bethel College President Jon Gering and retired KWCH-12 meteorologist Merrill Teller on Sept. 4.
North Newton storyteller Laurel Gugler will speak on Sept. 11.
Ardent Mills plant manager Mike Ginal, Farm Bureau Board of Directors member Steve McCloud and Ellsworth Correctional Facility theater program coordinators Larry Temple and Dawn Abrahams will speak on Sept. 18.
Newton Community for Racial Justice co-coordinators Sara Dick and Larry Lee will be present at the Sept. 25 Life Enrichment session.
Bethel professor emeritus of history Keith Sprunger and Alta Mill historian Jerry Wall will speak at Life Enrichment on Oct. 2.
World War II refugee Justina Neufeld will tell her story on Oct. 9. A panel discussion on dementia led by Denise Vann of the Kansas Alzheimer’s Association and a session about elder abuse and scams will be presented by Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett that same day.
Photographer Jeff Heidel will show pictures of Kansas' small town and back roads on Oct. 16, and Deon Steinle, assistant fire management officer for Mid-Plains Fire Management Zone, will also speak about his work.
Cherokee Strip Land Rush Museum Director Sandy Randel will present “Etzonia: The Lost City in Kansas," on Oct. 23.
On Oct. 30, author Barbara Moran will speak about autism and Carmaletta Williams of Grandview, Mo., will lead a double session entitled “Free Does Not Mean Welcome.”
“Hope for Harvey: D-FYing the Drug Trend,” will be presented on Nov. 6, along with stories about Bethel College students' visit to Europe and the story of KNORK.
At the last fall session on Nov. 13, Jesus Martinez will speak on “From Mexico: Building Bridges, Not Walls,” and Bethel College's Director of Choral Activities William Eash will present “Communication through Singing Together.”
First-time Life Enrichment attendees can participate for free; there is a fee of $30 per semester or $3 per week for regular attendees. There is a coffee break each week with refreshments available by donation. Lunch in the campus cafeteria is available by purchasing tickets before 10:35 a.m. for $6.50 for a full meal or $4.50 for soup, salad and dessert.
For more information about Life Enrichment and a complete schedule of speakers, visit https://www.bethelks.edu/academics/convocation-lectures/life-enrichment.