Spring Commencement 2011

Friday, May 13, 2011 - 10:30am to 12:00pm

The 2011 Bethany Lutheran College (BLC) commencement ceremony held on Friday, May 13, at 10:30 a.m., in the Ronald Younge Gymnasium on the BLC campus.

Commencement Speaker

Erling Teigen

The commencement speaker was the Reverend Erwin Ekhoff, member of the Bethany Lutheran College Board of Regents.

Reverend Erwin Ekhoff currently serves as the administrative pastor at King of Grace Lutheran Church in Golden Valley, Minnesota. He attended Northwestern College of Watertown, Wisconsin, where he earned a bachelor in liberal arts degree in 1972. He then enrolled in Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary and received a bachelor of divinity degree in 1976.

After graduating from Bethany Seminary, Ekhoff spent three years as pastor of an Evangelical Lutheran Synod congregation in Bishop, California. In 1979 he accepted a call to Waterloo, Iowa, where he led the efforts of a small mission congregation from a synod supported parish to a self-supporting congregation.

In 1982 Ekhoff was called to King of Grace Lutheran Church in Golden Valley, Minnesota, where he continues to serve as administrative pastor. King of Grace is presently a 725-member congregation that supports a preschool through grade eight Christian day school.

Ekhoff's service to the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS) involves current positions of Circuit Visitor where he assists various pastors and congregations and he serves as a member of the Bethany Lutheran College Board of Regents. Past service includes chairing the ELS/WELS Forum, serving as a member of the ELS Board for Home Missions, the Long Range Planning Committee, and various Ad Hoc Committees. He enjoys mentoring young pastors and seminary students in administrative and time management skills.

Pastor Ekhoff and his wife, Cindy, have five children and are grandparents to six.

Distinguished Alumnus Award

During the ceremony, the 2011 Distinguished Alumnus Award was presented to Willis Anthony. Anthony, of Norseland, Minnesota, attended high school and junior college at Bethany before attending Iowa State University and the University of Minnesota (U of M) where he received his bachelor of arts degree. He continued his education at the U of M earning a master's in agricultural economics and a Ph.D. in agricultural and applied economics. He also studied law at the U of M.

After earning his degrees, Anthony worked two years as an agricultural economist for the United States Department of Agriculture and taught agricultural and applied economics at the U of M between the years 1967 and 1981. He returned to Norseland in 1981 to run the family farm. Anthony Farms, Inc. is a 2600-acre grain farm and Josie's Pork Farm finishes approximately 24,500 pigs per year. Anthony has provided consulting expertise in a variety of agricultural venues including the Board of Directors of the U.S. Grains Council; and Executive Board of the Council on Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching. Anthony is a recipient of the U of M's Applied Economics Outstanding Alumni Award and he received the U of M's Siehl Prize for Excellence in Agriculture in 1999. He currently serves as a member of the Bethany Lutheran College Board of Regents.

Joining Ekhoff and Anthony on the commencement stage will be Dr. Dan R. Bruss, President of Bethany Lutheran College, Rev. Dr. J. Kincaid Smith, member of the Bethany Lutheran College Board of Regents, and Rev. Donald Moldstad, College Chaplain.