Bethel College has honored three recipients for their contributions to the business, education and government sectors in the Mishawaka area. The local leaders have been presented with the college's annual Greater Award. June 6, 2014

News Release

MISHAWAKA, IND., June 6, 2014 – Bethel College recently recognized the contributions of three local leaders who have made our community greater by presenting them with the Greater Award. The award will be given annually and is a result of Bethel’s institutional “GREATer” agenda, as outlined by President Gregg A. Chenoweth, Ph.D., in his inaugural address.

“As Bethel implements our GREATer agenda, we know these values are already embodied by extraordinary people within and beyond the college,” says Chenoweth. “This Greater Award allows us to honor local heroes who already modeled it for our community.”

The three recipients, chosen for their contributions in education, government and business, include The Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C., president emeritus of the University of Notre Dame; Indiana State Senator Carlin Yoder; and Paul Zercher, founder and president of Zercher’s Best-One Tire and Auto Care. (See bios below.)

Bethel will also present Greater Awards to faculty and staff at quarterly gatherings designed to celebrate employee contributions to the five institutional GREATer priorities:

G: Grow by 1,000 students by 2018 — 200 traditional and 800 adult and graduate students.

R: Create conditions for revival on campus, living in expectancy that God will move.

E: Strive for an encore, serving our constituents so well that they’re left wanting more.

A: Work toward improving our aesthetics with $20 million in designated projects ($5.8 raised in the first six months) on campus to reflect our best self and maximize our service and our impact.

T: Testify to who we are and what God can accomplish through us.

The Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C., president emeritus of the University of Notre Dame, served as the 15th president of the Notre Dame from 1952-1987, the longest tenure (at the time) among presidents of American institutions of higher learning. His public service career was as distinguished as his educational contributions, including 16 appointments over the years — most recently for the U.S. Institute for Peace — civil rights, peaceful uses of atomic energy, campus unrest, treatment of Vietnam offenders, Third World development and immigration reform, to name a few. He was a national leader in the field of education, and served as chairman of the International Federation of Catholic Universities from 1963-1970. His stature as an elder statesman in American higher education is reflected in his 150 honorary degrees, the most ever awarded to one person.

Father Hesburgh chairs the advisory committees of two institutions at Notre Dame: the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies and the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, both housed in the Hesburgh Center for International Studies. He is also actively involved in the University Center for Civil and Human Rights, its Environmental Research Center near Land O’Lakes, Wisconsin and its Ecumenical Institute in Jerusalem.

Indiana State Sen. Carlin Yoder has represented northern Indiana since his election to the General Assembly in 2008. Currently, he serves portions of Elkhart and Kosciusko Counties. In the Senate, Yoder is the assistant majority caucus chair and also chairs the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. He is a ranking member of the Education and Career Development Committee, and he serves as a member of the Utilities Committee.

Most recently, Yoder worked to advance legislation protecting young Hoosiers from child seduction. He also supported Governor Pence’s call to provide a tax credit to parents who adopt children. In 2013, Yoder was appointed to the small business caucus, a group of bipartisan legislators whose goals include reducing regulation for Indiana’s small business owners. In 2012, he served as the chief sponsor of HEA 1001, Right to Work in Indiana.

Yoder owns The Music and Dance Academy and serves as district director for Congressman Marlin Stutzman

(IN-03). He earned a degree in education from Indiana University, South Bend.

Paul Zercher, founder and president of Zercher’s Best-One Tire and Auto Care (formerly Zercher Tire, Inc.), is a man of faith, family, business and philanthropy. After serving in Italy in World War II, he returned to Monroe, Ind., where he had grown up, to start a business. He began his business with a one-man gas service station and has expanded his business to more than 250 Best-One Tire and Service locations in 14 states.

Some of Zercher’s greatest business accomplishments include being named a member of the Tire Industry Association’s Hall of Fame, and also being named Modern Tire Dealer’s “2005 Tire Dealer of the Year.” His philanthropic involvement has included serving on numerous committees and boards over the past 60 years. Several include The United Way of Adams County, Swiss Village Retirement Community, Adams Memorial Hospital, Taylor University and The Monroe Lion’s Club, among others. Zercher has always enjoyed being able to give of his time to a community that has been so wonderful to him and his family.

Bethel College is an accredited Christian college offering associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in more than 70 areas of study. The current enrollment of more than 1,800 includes students from 34 states and Puerto Rico, 10 countries and 16 percent from culturally diverse backgrounds. In addition to its beautifully wooded 75-acre main campus in Mishawaka, Ind., Bethel also offers specific academic programs at sites in Elkhart, Ind., Fort Wayne, Ind., Dowagiac, Mich., and St. Joseph, Mich. Connect with Bethel online at, or via Facebook (, Twitter (, YouTube ( and Instagram ( Bethel College

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