Bethany College, located at Lindsborg, Kan., was founded in 1881, and is carried on under the auspices of the Swedish Lutheran church. The purpose of the founders was to establish a school, "imparting higher education founded on the principles of Evangelical Christianity." Rev. Carl A. Swensson, who had been elected pastor of the Bethany Lutheran church of Lindsborg in 1878, was active in organizing the school or academy and became its first president.
The first building of the school contained recitation rooms and dormitory for men, while a separate dormitory was provided for the female students. School opened on Oct. 15, 1881, with J. A. Udden as teacher, and about 30 students enrolled. The following year the Smoky Valley district of the Kansas conference of the Augustana synod look charge of the institution; a board of directors was appointed, and soon afterward the college was incorporated under a state charter.
In 1883 a large dormitory was erected for male students and two years later a main building was erected to furnish class rooms, a chapel museum, library and science departments. The institution passed into the hands of the Kansas conference in the spring of 1885, and the name was changed to Bethany College and Normal Institute. From that time its progress was both rapid and satisfactory. The school began to outgrow its quarters, new buildings were needed, and with this end in view the name was changed to Bethany College in Dec. 1886. The charter also was changed so that the college was invested with power to convey academic degrees.
The conservatory of music was begun in 1882, and the school of business in 1884. In the fall of 1886 the model school was added, and in 1900 the school of fine arts, but this was later combined with the school of music, and today the college has the following departments: Preparatory, normal, commercial, collegiate, a model school, art department and a conservatory that has gained a wide reputation throughout the state.
LIBRARY AND MAIN BUILDING, BETHANY COLLEGE.
Bethany has a fine main building equipped with every convenience for recitation rooms and laboratories, a women's dormitory accommodating 92 students, a dormitory for men, an art hall, the Swedish pavilion of the Louisiana Purchase exposition, which was donated, an auditorium with a seating capacity of 3,000 and a $5,000 pipe organ, a gymnasium and the Carnegie library. The student body consists mostly of the Lutheran youth of the state and the college has an annual enrollment of several hundred. In 1910, Ernst F. Pihlbrand was president of the college and C. F. Carlbert, vice-president.
One of the first steps taken by the school after its organization was the formation of a chorus and orchestra to sing the Messiah, the proceeds to go toward the support of the school. Since that time the oratorio has been sung twenty-five times at Lindsborg under the direction of the musical department, and during Holy Week people come from many parts of the state to hear this chorus as there is no other like it in the country.Pages 176-177 from volume I of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed May 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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