A New Watne Working in Watne Memorial Library

February 8, 2021

Libraries + Higher Education

Libraries are a cornerstone of higher education and their mission to transfer knowledge to the next generation. Crown’s library, known affectionately as the Peter Watne Memorial Library, boasts over 300,000 physical and electronic resources. All of Crown’s programs, whether online or on-campus, are supported by the library’s 85 plus databases– Communication majors find the video production equipment essential for giving a hands-on opportunity to create their own productions. Students interested in learning a language or digging deep into biblical studies also find just what they need through the library.  Even local pastors make use of the library’s many comfortable study rooms and resources to help prepare thoughtful Sunday sermons.


Let’s Meet Bay


It’s serendipitous that Bay Watne, Peter Watne’s great-niece, would become a student worker in the library this year. Bay is a first-year sophomore and is in the Exercise Science program at Crown.

Originally from Nebraska, Bay was looking at a school down in Oklahoma. However, when a friend was coming to visit Crown College, Bay decided last minute to tag along. By the end of her Crown tour, she decided to go to Crown. Her connection with Dr. Ingraham, the smaller class sizes, and the community easily persuaded her to become a Crownie. Bay immediately recognized during her visit that, “If you want to make close friends, you can [at Crown].” That deep community that goes beyond pleasantries made Crown an easy place to call home.


Campus Life + Work-Study 

Bay not only began taking courses toward her Exercise Science degree but jumped into student life at Crown College. She joined the Cross Country team as well as the Track team. She also decided to get a student-worker job at Crown to help pay for college. She was excited to see that the library was hiring. Bay already spent much of her time using the quiet space in the library to study, so it was a no-brainer that she would enjoy the job. Beyond the practical need for a place to work, she also thought it would be cool to work in a place named after her late great uncle.



Who was Peter Watne?


Peter Watne (left) and his brother, Tom Watne (right), from the Crown College 1968 yearbook. Tom Watne is Bay’s grandfather.

Peter attended Crown during the mid 1970’s when the school was still St. Paul Bible College. During his time at college, he developed a type of blood cancer that starts in the lymphatic system called Hodgkin’s disease. His roommate at the time, Bill Arant, recalls that after returning from Christmas break during Peter’s final year, Peter shared that he had discovered he had the disease. However, Bill noted that Peter’s resolution to belief that God was with him during the disease was astounding. Peter’s faith carried him with bravery and strength while his body gave out, encouraging others around him. The dean, at the time, Reverend Charles W. Shepson recalls his relentless encouragement of others and his unmoving faith to believe that God was still good. Even more astounding, Peter believed that God had the right to do as he wills because he is Creator— something that seems especially difficult to swallow in the current climate of individualism that is prevalent today. 

Though he was young, Peter led by example and often showed others “The Way,” shining Christ’s light on all that he touched. The Peter Watne Memorial Library is a fitting name for a place that develops and trains up young people to share Jesus with the world. 

Bay’s Continuing Work

Bay continues the legacy set by her great uncle. Her commitment to Christ and to sharing his love speaks not only of her character, but  the lasting impact a member of a family can have through generations. 


Bay is struck by the sheer volume of knowledge housed in one location. She believes  if someone was looking, especially for Jesus, they could certainly find him there in all of those books. Bay doesn’t only use the library to find resources for her courses, she shared that just last week she had discovered a spiritual development book that she was compelled to read on her own time. 


“If you are wanting to know more about the Lord and the Bible, we have so much stuff here.”


She loves that she gets to help other Crown students find  resources they are looking for. It is clear that Bay has a servant’s heart and looks for opportunities to share that kindness with others. 


Bay reiterates that Crown is a special place where she can be herself. Her friendships have only grown from her athletic teams, courses, and now her job at the library. She also finds the professors  go beyond the classroom. Bay has continually seen them interested in her personal life and she has been struck with how they care about each student and care that every student understands the subject and gets applicable knowledge. Bay sees her time at Crown as a gift, “being free to pray before class and tying truths back to the ultimate truth.”



Watne’s Future

When Bay told her family that she would be working in the Peter Watne Memorial Library, they thought it was incredibly cool. Crown’s library is quite different from what it was like when Bay’s great uncle was a student.  Today the Peter Watne Memorial Library houses video equipment for Film + Video Production students, curriculum for the Teacher Education department, and more quiet study rooms than ever before, yet the Christ centered mission remains the same.


Bay plans to continue serving her fellow Crownies in the library as a student worker. She hopes is to graduate with a Bachelor in Exercise Science and continue on to graduate school to get a Masters degree in Nutrition. As Bay continues her studies, the library will be an even more invaluable research tool. She may use the human anatomy models that are a part of the curriculum housed in the library, or perhaps she will take advantage of the electronic Visible Body database. Whatever resources she needs, it is clear that Bay will stay connected to the Peter Watne Memorial Library in the future.