Bethel University president elect reflects on his first semester at Bethel, COVID-19 and plans moving forward.

By Molly Korzenowski

President Elect Ross Allen misses being able to float around the DC and linger in the egg, talking with students and simply getting to know them. Allen, 59, has been working from his home in White Bear Lake, interacting with the Bethel community in the only way he can: through Zoom calls. Still, Allen was nothing but smiles while reflecting on his first semester at the university.

“We’ll work through this crisis and frankly, we’ll learn something,” Allen said. 

Through the pandemic, Allen said he recognizes the importance of body language and physical community now more than ever. He says this is a very important value at Bethel and is optimistic that it will be back for the fall. 

“As Jay [Barnes] keeps saying, our better days are ahead,” Allen said. 

Allen and his Bethel colleagues set up their first in-person meeting a few days ago, sitting outside in chairs six feet apart. They talked about the future and how the importance of social distancing will be different for each individual entering into a cautious fall semester. Allen and the leadership team are still working out what the upcoming school year will look like. 

“To see people working together for Christ and for this place is great,” Allen said. 

Allen will still be confirmed as the university president by Converge Worldwide on July 1 on a Zoom call. Through the pandemic, he has learned a lot about the Bethel community and looks forward to seeing where the university will go. 

“I have been excited about what I feel God has placed on my heart for how we continue to build on who Bethel is,” Allen said. 

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