Bethany’s impact; analysis by and beyond the numbers

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A good many people, here and across the Smoky Valley,

have a feeling in their bones that we would all be in bad shape

without Bethany College.

We see this institution in many ways, but a couple stand

First, when another college year begins, the town gets a

spring in her step. The campus is busy. The place reacquires its

sentience of a park, walkways shimmering with traffic, gardens

in full bloom and fountains at full throttle; buildings, proud and

solid, seem to thrust out their chests, tickled with the dancing

of leaf shadows under the high trees. The revivifying effect of

youth spreads over the campus, across town. Traffic scuttles

among the scene: students, determined, curious, anxious,

athirst, cautious, even impetuous; beyond them, the durable

poise of faculty, their unswerving mission to open learning at

new levels and intriguing ways.

Second, the money.

Bethany College has published a compact memorandum,

with an analysis, that shows what it calls the “economic value”

of Bethany College

“Bethany College generates a positive economic impact …

and creates lifelong benefits for its students. The entire state …

benefits from the education provided by Bethany through the

added income and social savings generated by students who

remain in the state,” said the memo, sprinkled with figures from

Economic Modeling Specialists International, an Idaho statisti-
cal research agency.

Last school year (2012-13), Bethany added $15.4 million

in income to the Bethany College Service Area. This includes

a $6.2 million payroll for 140 full-and part-time employees.

They returned it to the regional economy by buying things

– groceries, clothing, household goods and services, among

others. This, says the analysis, had a net impact of $7.9 million

in added regional income.

Students spent nearly $300,000 off-campus last year at local

businesses for items including groceries, rent, transportation

(chiefly gasoline, auto maintenance); Bethany guests and visi-
tors spent roughly $1.3 million.

Students employed in the regional workforce earned $5.9

million in the last school year; they paid $6.1 million for

tuition, fees, books and academic supplies. (“In return for

the money invested in college, students will receive a present

value of $22.7 million in increased earnings over their working

lives,” the analysis said. The benefit to students for the cost of

education is $2.40 for every dollar invested in that education.

The study also found benefits to society. Kansas will receive

a present value of $32.3 million in added state income over

the course of students’ working lives. Another benefit: “…$7

million in present value social savings in reduced crime, lower

unemployment, and increased health and well-being across

The analysis continues, with, for example, a $2.9 million

“net present value” of added tax revenue from students’ higher

lifetime incomes and the increased output of businesses; and

another $1.2 million in government savings due to reduced

demand for “publicly-funded services” in Kansas.”

The value of Bethany can be seen in the beauty and vitality

of the institution, and the force of its economy. There is more,

though; here is an institution of educators who believe that

character is more precious than special knowledge, that vision

is not just something arrived at through a well-ground lens.

Here is a place that believes, beyond those numbers, that youth

is the most hopeful property the Republic boasts.

*

Before all that, there was the odd scene in 1956, when

Kansans voted to re-elect a favorite son, Dwight Eisenhower,

as President of the United States, and at the same time, send

a Democrat, George Docking, to the governor’s office by a

landslide.

Go figure. Docking was reelected in 1958; another landslide.

(Eight years later his son, Robert, would be elected to the first

of four consecutive terms.)

In that sense, Kansas has been a mystery for decades. We

love to claim we’re red at heart, but we’re blue in the booth

when it comes to electing governors.

In the half-century since 1964, Kansans have voted 15 times

for governor. Democrats have won nine of those elections,

Republicans, six.

During the 50 years since 1964, Democrats have served

as Kansas governor for 28 years, Republicans for 22. (Note:

Governors served two-year terms until 1974, when a state con-
stitutional amendment ordered four-year terms for governors,

limiting them to serve two consecutive terms.)

Here is a list of Kansas governors, by election year, over the

past half-century:

1964: Bill Avery, Republican

1966: Robert Docking, Democrat

1968: Robert Docking, Democrat

1970: Robert Docking, Democrat

1972: Robert Docking, Democrat

1974: Robert Bennett, Republican

1978: John Carlin, Democrat

1982: John Carlin, Democrat

1986: Mike Hayden, Republican

1990: Joan Finney, Democrat

1994: Bill Graves, Republican

1998: Bill Graves, Republican

2002: Kathleen Sebelius, Democrat

2006: Kathleen Sebelius, Democrat

(Sebelius was appointed Secretary of Health and Human

Services by President Obama in April, 2009; she was succeeded

as governor by Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson, who served the two

years remaining in Sebelius’ term. Sebelius resigned her cabinet

post in June 2014.)

2010: Sam Brownback, Republican

Notes: Reelection for Republican governors is no sure thing.

In recent history, Bill Graves is the only Republican to be

reelected governor since Ed Arn did it in 1952 – 62 years ago.

In the past half-century, Robert is the most popular name for

a governor. We elected “Roberts” five straight times, from 1966

and 1974. We’ve elected “Bills” three times.

The Bills – Avery and Graves –were good friends.

The Bobs – Docking and Bennett – were not.

*

***

Dept. of Football:

Let them have fun

***

Electing Kansas governors:

Red at heart, but blue in the booth?

No matter the perception, when it comes to governors,

Kansas is hardly a Republican stronghold. A half century of

elections says that Kansans prefer to elect governors who are

Those taxers and spenders that conservatives so love to hate?

They’ve been Republican governors, not Democrats.

Fred Hall was a taxer. Bill Avery wisely campaigned for a

sales tax increase but lost his job because of it. Mike Hayden

got caught in a storm of school finance, with property taxes

soaring, among others, and acquired the label “Tax Hike Mike”

– rather unfairly, we add. Bill Graves added more than $14

billion to the state’s $11 billion highway bond debt, allowed

appropriations of more than $600 million for Statehouse

remodeling and related new office construction, and helped tie

new knots in the state’s battered school funding laws, at the

expense of higher property taxes.

The other evening, during a televised college football game,

a player made a brilliant, gravity-defying run and achieved a

first down that was thought impossible only moments before.

After he was tackled, the player bounced up, casually flipping

the football. No spinning, no dancing, no gyrating. He simply

got up quickly while giving the football a teeny flip.

He was flagged for “unsportsmanlike conduct;” his team

was penalized 15 yards. Even the broadcasters were amazed.

“What’s unsportsmanlike about that?” one asked after the

replay.

Increasingly, we see players penalized for the slightest nod of

joy, slap on the back, crow of excitement. The gestapo NCAA is

determined to take the fun, or what’s left of it, from football.

Players are no longer allowed to celebrate those miraculous

moments that bring the joy and disbelief to a football game –

the impossible catch, the incredible run, the unthinkable inter-
ception, the leaps and dives that are unreal, that happen only in

fantasy or science fiction, those … if I hadn’t seen it myself…

moments.

Do celebrations delay a game? They’re hardly the time-wast-
ers we suffer from advertisers, or replay reviews, or bloviating

broadcasters and the inane blather from sideline “reporters.”

Some celebratory tricks are worth a second look: the rapid

twist of a football so that it stands, spinning upright on the turf;

the full, pads-on back- or front-flip; the goalpost dunk and the

squad salute are a few that come to mind.

For most players, happiness is the one mirthful element

remaining in big time college football. That’s why the NCAA

makes it an offense. For these bosses, joy is a sin.

– JOHN MARSHALL

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