Bukowski and Fremder selected for Service to Bethany Award

Bill Bukowski
Bill Bukowski

William Bukowski and Dr. Alfred Fremder are the 2024 recipients of the Exceptional Service to Bethany Award. The Exceptional Service to Bethany Award recognizes faculty or staff members, administrators, volunteers, or a specific graduating class or group who has contributed substantially to the well-being of Bethany Lutheran High School or College by furthering its purposes and programs. The award is selected annually by the Bethany Alumni Board.

William (Bill) Bukowski led the Bethany Art Department for 40 years. During his four-decade career, he taught countless Bethany students, many of whom were introduced to art for the first time, trying to earn their required general education by taking his art history course. He introduced the student body to hundreds of visiting artists through the exhibition program. He also organized group shows of alumni and friends of the College and exhibited current students every semester. In 1981, Bukowski started the Bethany Alumni Art Collection, which has grown and is on display in every building on campus. As a practicing artist, he completed two major art commissions on the Bethany campus at the request of the Board of Regents: the Trinity Chapel Altarpiece in 1996 and the Creation Fresco in Meyer Hall of Math and Science in 2002. His art tours to Minneapolis, Chicago, New York, London, Paris, Venice, Florence, and Rome became part of what students called the journey of “The Bukowski Art Army.” In 2015, he was invited to present on “Luther and the Visual Arts” at the B.W. Teigen Reformation lectures on campus. For 22 years, he brought area grade school and high school students on campus in the summer for the Young Michelangelo Art Camp. Bukowski was a Christ in Media Institute board charter member and worked with the Media Arts faculty to produce the Speechless Film Festival at Bethany. Bukowski influenced several generations of artists at Bethany from students in education to studio artists.

Bukowski earned a bachelor of fine arts degree (B.F.A) from Minnesota State University – Mankato in 1976 and his master of fine arts (M.F.A.) in painting from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1979. He retired from Bethany in 2020 but still lives in Mankato with his wife, Sherri (’74 Goetzke). They have three children who all attended Bethany: Jeffrey ’04, Julia Woldt ’05, Jenna Londgren ’09, and several grandchildren. He continues representing Bethany as Professor Emeritus in art exhibitions and lectures at the ELS Seminary, churches, and community groups.

Alfred Fremder
Dr. Alfred Fremder

Dr. Alfred Fremder attended high school and then prep school at Concordia College in Milwaukee. He became a student of Dr. Liborius Semman, Dean Emeritus of the School of Music at Marquette University, for advanced piano study. He graduated from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, in 1945 and then accepted a call to the Music Department at Bethany. He was a piano and theory professor, Department chairman, and Bethany Concert Choir conductor until 1956. While serving at Bethany, he earned his master’s degree from the University of Minnesota. Fremder’s impact on the tradition and history of the storied Bethany choir is known to all who sang under his direction and to those who were choir members after him. During his time at Bethany, he wrote the beloved eight-part setting of “On My Heart Imprint Thine Image,” and it was his idea to use this as the closing prayer for all performances of the Bethany Choir. By every account, Fremder was respected and beloved by all those who sang in the Bethany Choir under his tutelage.

After Bethany, Fremder taught music at Arizona State University. He earned his Ph.D. from North Texas University in 1970 and then served as professor of composition and piano at Texas Wesleyan College. In 1978, he was called to Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, to serve as seminary chaplain, coordinator of musical and cultural activities, and professor of practical theology until his retirement in 1991. In retirement, Dr. Fremder and his wife Ernestine made their homes in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Scottsdale, Arizona, and Garland, Texas, where he passed away on April 19, 2006. While living in Scottsdale, Fremder was a member of Redeemer Lutheran Church (ELS). His wife Ernestine passed away in December 2001, and his son Steve passed away in February 2006. He is survived by his son David and daughter-in-law Laura of Garland, Texas, daughter-in-law Barbara Fremder of Omaha, Nebraska, and several grandchildren.

Bukowski and Fremder will be officially recognized as the 2024 Exceptional Service to Bethany Award recipients following the worship service in Trinity Chapel on Sunday, September 29, at 9 a.m. A reception will follow the program in the chapel narthex. This event will be a part of Bethany’s Fall Festival – A Homecoming Weekend. Bethany President, Dr. Gene Pfeifer, and others close to Professor Bukowski and Dr. Fremder will share remarks at the event.

Submit a nomination for the Exceptional Service to Bethany Award by going here.