Couple Continue to Give Back to Bethany

Students at Bethany College will benefit from a generous gift given to the school.

According to the school, Rob and Celeste (Bohman) Habiger, ‘69 have given back to their alma mater in numerous ways over the years, most recently with a $28,000 gift to Bethany College’s Path to Your Purpose initiative.

Celeste serves as a class agent for the Class of 1969, and Rob serves on the Bethany College Board of Directors. In 2017 – 2018 academic year, Rob held the position of Visiting Professor of Physics and Celeste volunteered in the Alumni Office. Together they received the 2018 Bethany College Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of their service in and beyond the Bethany community. During the Fall of 2021, the Habiger’s $28,000 gift to Bethany College’s Path to Your Purpose initiative enabled current Bethany students to deepen their educational experience through paid internships as part of a pilot program for Bethany College’s new Pathways Internship initiative. This most recent gift is a further extension of their legacy of supporting innovative educational programs across the state of Kansas.

Chad Moore, Director of Path to Your Purpose at Bethany College explains, “I’ve had the privilege of talking with Rob and Celeste over the past year. It’s been continuously evident that they are curious, compassionate people committed to demonstrating their Christian faith through acts of love, service, and continual learning. Rob and Celeste believe in the life-changing power of a challenging and fearless liberal arts education, and they know that student learning is greatly enhanced through hands-on work experiences outside the classroom. Their support of the Path to Your Purpose program this spring enabled us to pilot a new internship model at Bethany, the Pathways Internship Program, which is already paying dividends in the lives of our students. I’m deeply grateful for Rob and Celeste’s support of this initiative.”

The Pathways Internship program is a new experiential education model at Bethany College that combines opportunities for vocational reflection in a classroom setting with paid internship opportunities created in partnership with local businesses and non-profit organizations. During their Pathways Internships, students contribute to the missions of the organizations with which they are working while simultaneously discerning their own sense of purpose through a vocational research project conducted in collaboration with their internship supervisor and the Director of Path to Your Purpose.

Bethany College junior, Kylie Jacobs of Freemont, California was part of the inaugural class of Pathways Interns. Jacobs worked in the immigration services office of Catholic Charities of Northern Kansas alongside her Pathways Guide and internship supervisor, Yessenia Baquera, Catholic Charities’ Immigration & Hispanic Services Specialist. With Baquera’s guidance, Jacobs gained first-hand experience with the legal intricacies and complex systems that immigrants to the U.S. must navigate in order to receive residency and citizenship. Jacobs reported that this experience helped her gain perspective on the difficulty of immigrating to the United States. Jacobs was inspired by the compassion, courage, and hope that characterized the clients with whom she interacted. “Not only was I able to learn about immigration law from this experience,” Jacobs reported, “but I was also able to learn how nonprofits work and how their services help those in communities such as Salina. Being able to sit in on appointments where people shared their immigration stories and seeing how grateful they are to stay in this country, really puts into perspective the importance of understanding immigration law.” Jacobs is currently studying for the LSAT and plans to attend law school after graduating from Bethany.

The Habigers’ support was crucial in providing the finances necessary to create this paid internship opportunity via the Pathways Internship initiative. “Bethany’s program of helping students discover and develop their path to a life and career of purpose resonates strongly with us, especially the emphasis on service to others,” Rob & Celeste explained. “We believe God calls all of us to serve others using the talents and skills we are given. As alumni and supporters, we are proud of Bethany for helping students discern and nurture that calling of service to their communities.”

The Habigers are no strangers to supporting higher education in Kansas. Their commitment to championing the value of education is well-known both at Bethany College, where Rob and Celeste became “Swedehearts” and graduated with bachelor’s degrees in 1969. Rob went on to receive his master’s and doctorate degrees in physics at Kansas State University. They have traveled the world during their careers and contributed both time and treasure to humanitarian and educational efforts across the globe. The Habiger’s, now residents of Littleton, CO, have never forgotten their beloved Bethany community and the liberal arts education they received at Bethany.

Additional contributions for helping students discern, discover, and navigate the path to their purpose would help solidify and expand this program. This type of project-based learning is unique to a liberal arts education and has always been a hallmark of the Bethany College experience. These monies ensure the future of experiential education opportunities for our students. To give, please contact the Office of Advancement and Alumni Engagement at [email protected] or 785-227-3380 ext. 8270. You may also send a check to: Bethany College 335 E. Swensson St. Lindsborg, KS 67401.

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