Crossroads Spring 2014 - Alumni Magazine of Eastern Mennonite University

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emu... preparing students to serve and lead globally | crossroads | 1

vol. 94, No. 3

photo by Michael sheeler

crossroads spring 2014, Vol. 94, No. 3

Crossroads (USPS 174-860) is published three times a year by Eastern Mennonite University for distribution to 14,000 alumni, students, parents and friends. A leader among faith-based universities, Eastern Mennonite University emphasizes peacebuilding, creation care, experiential learning, and cross-cultural engagement. Founded in 1917 in Harrisonburg, Virginia, EMU offers undergraduate, graduate, and seminary degrees that prepare students to serve and lead in a global context. EMU’s mission statement is posted in its entirety at Board of Trustees: Andrew Dula, chair, Lancaster, Pa.; Wilma Bailey, Indianapolis, Ind.; Evon Bergey, Perkasie, Pa.; Myron Blosser, Harrisonburg, Va.; John Bomberger, Harrisonburg, Va.; Herman Bontrager, Akron, Pa.; Shana Peachey Boshart, Wellman, Iowa; Randall Bowman, Archbold, Ohio; Janet Breneman, Lancaster, Pa.; Gerald R. Horst, New Holland, Pa.; Charlotte Hunsberger, Souderton, Pa.; Clyde Kratz, Harrisonburg, Va.; Kevin Longenecker, Harrisonburg, Va.; Kathleen (Kay) Nussbaum, Grant, Minn.; Dannie Otto, Urbana, Ill.; Amy Rush, Harrisonburg, Va.; Jeffrey A. Shank, Sarasota, Fla.; Robert Steury, Goshen, Ind.; Anne Kaufman Weaver, Brownstown, Pa. Associate trustees: Jonathan Bowman, Manheim, Pa.; David Hersh, Line Lexington, Pa.; Chad Lacher, Souderton, Pa.; E. Thomas Murphy, Jr., Harrisonburg, Va.; Mark Prock, Virginia Beach, Va.; Judith Trumbo, Broadway, Va. Loren Swartzendruber, president; Fred Kniss, provost; Kirk Shisler, vice president for advancement; Andrea Wenger, marketing and communications director. Bonnie Price Lofton Jon Styer Editor-in-chief Designer/photographer Braydon P. Hoover Mike Zucconi Mileposts editor Info/social media officer Marcy Gineris Ricardo Fearing Web content manager Web designer Lindsey Kolb Carol Lown Photographer/proofreader Mailing list manager Jessica Hostetler Project & office coordinator/ proofreader All EMU personnel can be reached during regular work hours by calling 540-432-4000, or via contact details posted on the university website, Cover: Ben Wyse ’99, owner of Wyse Cycles, holds son Desmond, age 19 months, the youngest of three children in his and Anna Yoder Wyse’s (’95) family. POSTMASTER: Submit address changes to: Crossroads Eastern Mennonite University 1200 Park Road Harrisonburg VA 22802

Loren Swartzendruber ’76, MDiv ’79, DMin, addresses the 2014 Walk For Hope gathering.

Living, worshipping, volunteering, working, playing, here in the Valley I meet many strangers on airplanes while traveling for EMU, and inevitably we ask each other, “Where do you live?” “I’m from the Shenandoah Valley,” always draws a positive and envious response, even if the person has never visited Virginia. “What a beautiful area of the country!” This issue of Crossroads shares the stories of many EMU alumni who live, worship, work, volunteer and play in the Valley. A majority of them, like me, were born and raised in another state or country. We came to this small university nestled between two mountain ranges, fell in love with the region, and made this our home. Very few communities of this size are blessed with the presence of four institutions of higher education. Along with the alumni of James Madison University, Bridgewater College, and Blue Ridge Community College, EMU’s alumni contribute immeasurably to the quality of life throughout the area and Commonwealth. Perhaps we should start an annual tradition of “wear your school colors” to work as a way of visually communicating the alumni impact of EMU and our fellow institutions. Of course, many professionals have received degrees from more than one of the colleges. I’ve met a few folks who have been involved in all four as students or faculty. While the 2013-14 academic year at EMU will long be remembered as the year we “listened” regarding our hiring policy relative to individuals in same-sex relationships, the reality is that our imprint is far greater than any single issue that can so easily divide us. No matter the outcome of our listening process, EMU alumni will always share their gifts for the common good of the Shenandoah Valley.

Loren Swartzendruber President Cert no. SW-COC-001635

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Believing in Community


Doing Business for Charities


You Cared for Me


Restorative Justice at JMU


First Mediation Center


Higher Ed Faculty, Staff

How EMU’s vision – “offering healing and hope in our diverse world” – is lived by 3,250 local alumni.


In this Issue


Alumni-run, nonprofit enterprises funnel funds toward worldwide efforts to ease suffering.

More than 700 local alumni work in the healthcare field, often with outreach to the most marginalized.







JMU’s Josh Bacon has become a national leader in restorative justice practices on college campuses.

The Fairfield Center was founded as an alternative to the court system for mediating disputes.

Twenty-nine alumni working in local institutions of higher education responded to our interview queries.


Farmers Market

A married couple, both alumni, persisted to bring the Farmers Market to fruition in a great location.


Gehman vs. Goliath


Bicycle Lifestyle

A proposed 150-foot dam at Brocks Gap would have flooded the community of Fulks Run in the 1960s.

Wyse Cycles could be the first business in the country to employ a “mobile bike shop” model.


It’s a Home – the Geimenschaft

About 40 residents are crammed into the Geimenschaft, with a long waiting list. | crossroads | 1


Building our community TALK ABOUT PUNCHING ABOVE YOUR WEIGHT… 1 Consider, EMU has never been large and still has just 900 traditional undergraduates enrolled, plus 600 other types of students (adult degree completion, master’s, seminary, etc.). This place is one-half the size of my old high school in Northern Virginia, and twenty-sixth the size of my old undergraduate university in Canada. Yet let’s dive beneath the surface of Rockingham County and the City of Harrisonburg. Who helped stop the Army Corps of Engineers from flooding Fulks Run? Started the Fairfield Center? Rosetta Stone? The Farmers Market? Programs for students who couldn’t speak English in Harrisonburg city schools? Pleasant View for adults with disabilities? The Roberta Webb Child Care Center & Preschool? Our Community Place? The Shenandoah Bach Festival? The Strings Program in city schools? The oldest and largest retirement community in this region? EMU’s 3,250 local alumni, faculty and staff are a tiny fraction of the 125,000 residents of Harrisonburg/Rockingham, yet much of what makes Harrisonburg special can be traced back to these folks. Yes, EMU punches above its weight. This Crossroads explores the initiatives and collaborations of EMU and its alum1 Okay, it’s a violent image for a pacifist university, but you know what I mean – EMU has more of an impact than would be statistically predicted.

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ni within its home-base community. EMU’s vision – “offering healing and hope in our diverse world” – is lived out by alumni who work with those who have been abused, or are recent immigrants, or hope to make a new life for themselves after prison. Our alumni group includes an array of physicians, nurses, physical therapists, medical technologists, pharmacists, and other healthcare workers. Joining with others, EMU folks seek to prevent suicides, address autism, share music, offer good jobs in growing businesses, spread restorative justice, and foster quality child care and education for all from day care through college. With the only seminary in the western half of Virginia accredited by the Association of Theological Schools, EMU is an important source of education and training for many pastors and church workers in the Shenandoah Valley. Our seminary is an official education site for both the Mennonite Church and the United Methodist Church, but people from many other walks of life and denominations enroll for spiritual and leadership purposes. Healthcare accounts for the largest share of local alumni (about 700), followed by the education systems (500), and businesses (250). In church and mission work, 179 alumni have local home addresses. Since 2006, each issue of Crossroads has explored a theme that showcases the work of alumni in a particular field or

geographical location. For a closer look at the community impact of alumni both near EMU and around the world, check out these dozen issues posted at (click onto "Archives" to see the back issues): Education – Spring 2007 Business – Spring 2008 Science & Medicine – Summer 2008 Alumni in Southeast Pennsylvania– Fall/Winter 2008-09 The Arts (fine, visual, performing) – Summer 2009 Sports – Fall/Winter 2009-10 The Ministry – Spring 2010 Literature – Summer 2010 Music – Fall/Winter 2010-11 Sustainability: Energy, Environment & Agriculture – Spring 2011 Mental Health Professionals – Fall/ Winter/Spring 2011-12 Numbers & Finance Experts (accountants, controllers, financial officers, actuaries, math professors) – Spring 2013 Moving to Harrisonburg in 2003, my husband, children and I found this was a wonderful place to live. How much credit does EMU deserve for shaping this city and county? I trust the photos and stories in this magazine will answer that question.  — Bonnie Price Lofton MA ’04, DLitt, editor-in-chief


photo by Bonnie lofton Brian Posey, MDiv ’11, is the pastor of three United Methodist churches in the countryside north of Harrisonburg – Fellowship (pictured), Linville and Edom. Before entering Eastern Mennonite Seminary, Posey was an interpreter and a guide at historical sites in Northern Virginia. Each Sunday, Posey’s gift of speaking publicly is put to good use, as he delivers three sermons, one to each of his churches. | crossroads | 3

photo by jon styer Valerie Showalter Weaver ’76 (left) has managed the local Ten Thousand Villages store for 15 years. Kara Miller ’07 started as a volunteer but is now on staff as volunteer coordinator.

DOING BUSINESS FOR CHARITIES HUNDREDS OF VOLUNTEERS, many of them EMU alumni, are the backbone of four alumni-run, nonprofit charitable enterprises in Harrisonburg that funnel funds toward worldwide poverty alleviation, relief and development efforts. GIFT & THRIFT, and its used-book enterprise, Booksavers of Virginia, and adjacent Artisans’ Hope gift shop (all three in a small shopping strip an easy walk from EMU) function as charitable enterprises that benefit the relief and development work of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), says Debra Glick King ’77, MBA ’12, general manager of the three. The businesses operate largely with volunteer labor, about 200 men and women these days. Of the MCC thrift shops in 18 states and five Canadian provinces, Gift & Thrift is the only one in Virginia. When the store opened on North Main Street in 1982, its first manager, Norman H. Kreider ’60, worked on a volunteer basis, as did the co-managers 4 | crossroads | spring 2014

for the next 12 years: his wife, Dorothy Lehman Kreider ’54, and Marjorie Guengerich (wife of the late EMU administrator Paul Guengerich). Norman Kreider “often engineered remodeling projects” before the Kreiders left to operate Rolling Hills Antique Mall, which they have since sold, says Dorothy. Remarking on Gift & Thrift’s current facility, she adds, “It’s hard to believe the store is what it is now.” Jordan Good ’09, a psychology major who handles furniture and electronics at Gift & Thrift, says, “It’s great working at a place where personal values meet organizational values.” Staff and volunteers sometimes do minor repairs on donated items, but Good would like donors to know that repairs make more sense for well-constructed wood furniture than for electronic items. ARTISANS’ HOPE is one of two stores in Harrisonburg that enables customers to “give twice” by shopping at Fair Trade stores. Early MCC thrift stores featured “self

help crafts” corners with creative gift items from developing nations, committed to fair compensation. Locally, that’s become the mission for two similar stores – Artisans’ Hope and Ten Thousand Villages. “We try to work together” in referrals and searches, says King. Artisans’ Hope, she explains, is an “alliance” store of Ten Thousand Villages, operating independently under Gift & Thrift’s umbrella to support Fair Trade organizations and goals. Fair Trade certification, according to the Fair Trade Federation, requires “fair wages, cooperative workplaces, consumer education, environmental sustainability, financial and technical support, respect for cultural identity, and public accountability.” King has observed more businesses in the for-profit sector carrying fair trade merchandise in response to the increase in customers who want to make socially responsible purchases. King came from Lancaster County, Pa., to attend EMU in the late 1970s. Here she met her future husband Dave King ’76 (today EMU’s director of athletics). After graduating as a biology major, she taught school in Pennsylvania until the couple returned to Harrisonburg when Dave took the job at EMU in 2005. Their three children have all graduated

photo by jon styer

community from EMU, where King earned an MBA recently to enhance her ability to manage the three charity-focused stores. She likes nonprofit work, but feels “I could be in any business and live out my values and be profitable.” The store has expanded its clothing inventory. “I love the atmosphere of change for the better, not change for change’s sake,” King adds. Roy Heatwole ’64, one of many volunteers, enjoys meeting people over the cash register at Artisans’ Hope. He taught mathematics at EMC, 1965-67, prior to a civil service career.

Debra Glick King ’77, MBA ’12, is the general manager of three adjacent charitable enterprises: Gift & Thrift, Booksavers, and Artisans’ Hope.

photo by Michael sheeler

TEN THOUSAND VILLAGES has grown from the trunk of founder Edna Ruth Byler’s car soon after World War II to nearly 400 stores, including five in Virginia. The Harrisonburg outlet, celebrating its 21st year, began as “International Impressions” and became Ten Thousand Villages when the Villages network adopted that name in 1996, says director Valerie Showalter Weaver ’76. The store moved from the Dayton Farmers Market to the historic district of Harrisonburg in February 2011. Weaver, from Waynesboro, studied social work at EMU and then worked in social services until she and Greg Weaver ’76 started their family. When, after volunteering at Ten Thousand Villages, she was hired 15 years ago to manage the store, she expected it to be a short-term job, but now she has no plans to leave a business she has grown to love. Kara Miller ’07 also started as a volunteer but is now on staff as volunteer coordinator. Kelly Brewer Dean ’10, a hospital nurse and Villages volunteer, enjoys telling customers about Fair Trade’s “gifts that give twice.” As a first-year student in a work-study position at Artisans’ Hope, she “fell in love” with the products and mission. Then during her 2008 Middle East cross-cultural, she met one of the olive wood artisans and his wife. Touched by their pride in their work and its benefit to their family, she recalls the moment as “humbling and joyful.” Kenneth D. Brunk, a volunteer and a board member of the local Villages store, agrees, “I am quite passionate about the huge difference it makes for craftspeople around the world.” He considers every hour volunteered “a direct gift to some friend I have never met who needs to

EMU students were among the nearly 1,000 volunteers who baked, cooked, sewed, crafted and otherwise contributed to enabling the 2013 Virginia Mennonite Relief Sale to raise about $263,000 for the relief and development efforts of Mennonite Central Committee. | crossroads | 5

photos by jon styer Deb ’86 and Ken ’80 Layman co-manage Tried and True, a thrift shop that supports the Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Crisis Fund and the “Generations at Risk” HIV/AIDS Fund of Mennonite Central Committee.

market his or her skill to support their family.” Ten Thousand Villages is not “eaten up with bureaucracy and process,” as are some NGOs and aid organizations, adds Brunk, who attended EMU in the late 1960s and early 1970s and then did rural development work in East Africa. TRIED AND TRUE is co-managed by Deb Rissler Layman ’86, a business administration major who grew up in her family’s local grocery. “Working with people and things comes easily,” she says. Layman’s shop is one of two thrift shops in Harrisonburg managed by EMU grads. No problem ­– “the more thrift stores, the better,” Layman says. “Each shop has its own personality.” Deb and Ken Layman ’80 raised their family while job-sharing – managing Crowded Closet in Iowa City, a shop benefiting MCC; then, managing and expanding Harrisonburg’s Gift and Thrift store from 1996 to 2005. Eventually, wanting to try a different set-up, they opened Tried and True Thrift Shop across town. The Laymans’ store features silent antique auctions and Ken’s nature-photo cards. Profits totaling $80,000 have supported the Church of the Brethren Global Food Crisis Fund and MCC’s Generations at Risk HIV/AIDS Fund. 6 | crossroads | spring 2014

THE MENNONITE RELIEF SALE has 1,000 volunteers for the 47th Virginia claimed the energies of David Mininger Mennonite Relief Sale in 2013. ’74 each October since the mid-1970s. Phil Helmuth ’76, EMU’s executive The Virginia Mennonite Relief Sale director of development, chaired the features hand-sewn quilts sold at Virginia Relief Sale for a total of seven auction, handmade crafts, goods baked years, handing off his leadership role by volunteers, and freshly prepared in 2010, though he remains a rank-andbreakfasts and lunches. At first the event file volunteer. He also served as MCC’s was named Augusta Relief Sale and held coordinator of the organization’s overall at Augusta ExpoLand. In its formative North America Relief Sale efforts from period, 1967-1974, this fundraiser 1997 to 2002. During that tenure, 11 new occurred on a farm owned by the late sales in the United States and Canada Paul Wenger ’27. were added. For the last 18 years, while earning his North America Relief Sale Coordinaliving in insurance in Waynesboro (Va.), tor Les Gustafson-Zook said that MCC Mininger has been the grounds chair, received $5.45 million from the 46 MCC in charge of set up and tear down. In sales in the United States and Canada in 1999, Mininger and his fellow volunteers, 2013. The Virginia event raised $262,788. most of them members of area MennoPublicity for the sale is organized by nite churches, followed the event when Lisa Bergey Lehman, a 2003 business it moved to the Rockingham County administration major, who in her paid Fairgrounds, where it has been a popular job is marketing manager for Park View annual attraction ever since. Federal Credit Union. Homemade donuts are a major attracSale chairman Dave Rush ’99, a tion. Lois Wenger ’76, heads the popular Harrisonburg High School math teacher donut-production operation. who has worked with the sale for nine Dave says his wife, Marian Leaman years, notes that for many volunteers, it’s Mininger ’74, each year “aims to make “a big reunion.” about 25 pies and a variety of other Rush calls the sale “community buildbaked goods such as cookies, cakes and ing at its finest. I may not be working breads” for the sale. “She is hesitant to with MCC in another country, but I can state amounts, not wanting to brag or set do a small part to support the work of a precedent. Baking is just something she those who do.”  — Chris Edwards enjoys doing.” Marian was one of nearly


43 Years as a Country Doc At Green Valley Clinic Every Tuesday night, Dr. Linford Gehman ’59 still makes the trip from Bergton, back in the farthest mountain reaches of Rockingham County, to the hospital in Harrisonburg for continuing education seminars. Though he’s been practicing medicine for a half century, he’s got a medical license to keep up. He’s still seeing patients three days a week at the Green Valley Clinic next door to his house, where he’s been living for 43 years and counting. When Linford arrived in Bergton in 1970, after a few years as a doctor under Mennonite Central Committee in Nha Trang in Vietnam and Biafra in Nigeria, he didn’t have any particular plans to stay. He and his wife Becky were newlyweds and soon they found themselves getting rooted in the community. Becky started playing piano on Sunday mornings at Valley View Mennonite Church in nearby Criders; Linford led songs. They worked together in the clinic (Becky is a nurse and also still works there one day a week), they had a son, and then they had a daughter. One thing led to another and now it’s 2014 and they’re still in Bergton, in the only house they’ve ever lived in together. Linford and Becky met in 1963, when he was an intern and she was an obstetrics nurse at St. Luke’s hospital in Bethlehem, Pa. Both were “glued to the work,” as Linford puts it, and their personalities clicked. They corresponded while Linford was overseas, and got married when he returned to work in Bergton at the invitation of Dr. Harold ’61 and Esther Emswiler Kraybill ’60, a couple he’d gotten to know in Vietnam. (Harold worked a brief period at the Green Valley Clinic.) Work and home distinctions have always been blurry for the Gehmans. Sometimes Linford gets out his wedges and chips a golf ball around the back yard; over the years, errant shots have cost him more than a few clinic windows. The office phone always rang at home and it still does. (The Crossroads’ interview was interrupted by a call about a chest X-ray.) On Tuesdays and Thursdays and weekends, days that he doesn’t schedule patients in the clinic, Linford shuffles through his charts and other paperwork at the office, or at the dining room table at home, or in front of the TV, watching sports (golf and football are his favorites). Before the rescue squads in the area were up and running, he was the community’s de facto first responder to emergencies. Being a doctor in a rural community wasn’t a 9-to-5 sort of thing. Founded in 1949 by Dr. Charles Hertzler ’38, the clinic is in an antiquated building. (Linford’s 43-year streak at the clinic has nothing on Mary Lantz, a medical secretary who’s been there 57 years and still uses the same desk.) It may not remain a clinic once Linford finally hangs it up. He and his associates at the practice, including Dr. Sam Showalter ’65 and physician assistant Hanna Reinford ’05, have begun

Dr. Linford Gehman ’59 (left) has seen patients at the Green Valley Clinic for 43 years. Also with the practice (from left) are nurse Elaine See-Dellinger ’75, physician assistant Hanna Reinford ’05, and Dr. Sam Showalter ’65.

pondering how their patients will still get good care as Linford moves into retirement in his 80s. (Their most current thinking involves a gradual transition for patients to a clinic across the state line in Mathias, W.Va.) After that happens, at some point in the next few years, Linford plans to spend more time with family and with his church. But a guy who’s always been glued to his work can only unglue himself so much. One of his big ideas these days is helping people get more active in ensuring their own well-being, making healthier choices, leading healthier lives. Retirement will free up time to work on this, maybe through church, maybe through the Ruritan Club, but definitely somehow. There will always be plenty to do.  — Andrew Jenner ’04 | crossroads | 7


photo by Michael sheeler

Nurses Rebekah Charles ’07, “Mim” Miller Yoder ’74, and Christine Wagler ’08 are three alumni on staff at the Harrisonburg Community Health Center, which saw more than 7,400 different patients in 2013. Not pictured: nurses Erin Coleman Frazier ‘13, John Van Horn ‘93 and interpreter Gladys Fuentes ‘14.

MORE THAN 700 ALUMNI living in the City of Harrisonburg or Rockingham County work in the healthcare field, according to EMU’s alumni database. This represents a larger concentration of alumni than in any other field of local employment. Sentara RMH Medical Center and its affiliated offices of healthcare providers, plus a plethora of private offices offering medical, rehabilitation and wellness 8 | crossroads | spring 2014

services, employ the vast majority of our alumni. This community-themed Crossroads did not contain sufficient space to do in-depth coverage on the vast array of our alumni in local healthcare, so we chose to focus on their work at the heart of some unique healthcare services for often-marginalized people – the kinds of services that might not be readily found in other communities.

HEALTHCARE FOR THE HOMELESS As its name suggests, all the necessaries for Harrisonburg’s Healthcare for the Homeless Suitcase Clinic fit in a suitcase toted from place to place by the clinic’s volunteer nurse practitioner on weekly rounds of the city’s homeless shelters. At each one, the nurse practitioners offer free, on-site medical care to some of the neediest patients in a city population that ranks among the neediest in the state.

photos by jon styer


Richard Stoltzfus ’59, physician at the Free Clinic.

(The most recent figures from the U.S. Census Bureau put Harrisonburg’s poverty rate at 31.8%, nearly three times the statewide rate. Nearly one in five people below 64 years old in a severalcounty area that includes Harrisonburg lack health insurance, also according to the census bureau.) This suitcase clinic traces its history back several years to when the director of a local homeless shelter called a meeting of health workers to talk about how to handle what they expected to be a bad flu season. Tammy Kiser ’88, assistant professor of nursing, took a few students from her community health class to that meeting. Soon thereafter, a group of those students began visiting the shelter to provide foot care to some of the men staying at the shelter, and the idea snowballed. Soon, Kiser and like-minded people at James Madison University and other local agencies began talking about how they could give more comprehensive care to the city’s homeless. When the Healthcare for the Homeless Suitcase Clinic officially began in the summer of 2011, Kiser and others guessed they’d be seeing 50 to 80 patients per year. Instead, they saw 130. The following year, that total jumped to 245 individuals, and current year-to-date figures are on pace to remain at that level. Everything is free for the patients; the clinic’s shoestring budget has been funded by a combination of grants, church donations, private support and fundraisers. It has one paid staff member, a case manager who oversees the work of several volunteers. “This is genuine. It’s grassroots,” says Kiser. “[The clinic] is a good fit with the

Janice Gandy ‘87 (right), clinical services director at the Free Clinic.

whole philosophy of the EMU nursing department. It’s providing quality care to people whatever their situation is.” But a suitcase can only fit so much, and some patients have needs beyond the clinic’s modest capabilities. When such an instance arises, staff refer them to several other providers – and hand them a bus ticket to get there – that also do their best to care for the many people in Harrisonburg who would otherwise slip through the cracks. These other agencies include the Harrisonburg Rockingham Free Clinic, the Harrisonburg Community Health Center and the local Virginia Department of Health office, all of which also have strong ties to EMU. Overviews of the work of alumni at each of these organizations follow. “We emphasize that it’s an honor as a nurse to be able to care for people who are in vulnerable situations,” says Kate Clark ’07, an instructor in the nursing department. “That mentality makes our graduates more inclined to work with vulnerable or low-income people on a level that I don’t know a lot of other programs do.” HARRISONBURG COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER The Harrisonburg Community Health Center (HCHC) saw its first patient in 2008, opening as a federally qualified health center with a federal grant. A lack of providers in the area, particularly pediatricians, who accepted Medicaid was one of the major factors in its grant award. David Cockley, an adjunct professor in the nursing and MBA programs (as well as a professor in James Madison University’s health sciences

Retired English prof Jay Landis ’54 helps process Free Clinic patients.

program), was among the group that applied for the founding grants and remains on HCHC’s board today. HCHC, which employed just one physician at the beginning, has seen its patient base expand rapidly. In 2011, it saw about 5,600 patients, in 2012 saw about 6,900 patients and in 2013, more than 7,400. A total of seven pediatric and adult providers – a mix of doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants – now work at the health center. Because a significant number of the center’s patients are non-English speakers, one full-time and two part-time Spanish interpreters work for the HCHC, and most of the center’s nursing staff are bilingual in English and Spanish. The center also employs a part-time Arabic interpreter. Although it receives federal grants to provide healthcare to “underserved communities and vulnerable populations,” the community health center has a broader mission. “As a federally qualified community health center, HCHC is committed to serving as a medical home for all members of our diverse community,” says HCHC director of nursing Christine Reimer Wagler ’08. “Providing comprehensive, excellent quality care, with the patient at the center of our practice, is the heart of our mission.” The center offers sliding scale fees to patients without insurance or ability to pay for their care, and it also accepts – and welcomes – all major insurances. In 2011, HCHC partnered with EMU to launch a Community Health Worker program. Clark, the EMU nursing instructor, was then working part-time at | crossroads | 9

photos by jon styer Nearly 1,000 patients per year are seen at the Free Clinic in downtown Harrisonburg. The staff and volunteers include (from left): Jay Landis ’54, Janice Gandy ‘87, Miriam “Mim” Yoder ’08, Wes Ross ’74, Richard Stoltzfus ’59, Herbert Swartz (professor emeritus), Elaine Stoltzfus (seminary attendee), Cathy Rittenhouse ’82, Laura Rhodes ’06, Keith Gnagey ’76, Suzy Kanode ’93.

HCHC and helped found the program (she is also David Cockley’s daughter). Jointly administered by EMU and HCHC, the program employed four women to educate and support highneeds patients by visiting them at home. That year, HCHC also became the parent organization for the Healthcare for the Homeless Suitcase Clinic described earlier. (The homeless clinic has since spun off as its own outfit, and the grant that funded the Community Health Worker program has expired.) The next year, HCHC opened a satellite office at the Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community that, like the main office on the east side of town, is open to the entire community. Wagler notes that EMU’s emphasis on peace and justice also have direct tie-ins to healthcare. “Healthcare is a justice issue,” she says. “There is no bigger issue, in my mind, than ensuring that every single person has meaningful access to quality care if they want it. “Working in healthcare is not for the weary,” she continues. “Navigating the brokenness within the various systems can be exhausting at times. Yet amidst all of this, there is change, which creates movement. It’s an exciting time.” Wagler finds hope in there being so many others here in Harrisonburg doing their own bit to untangle one of our society’s most difficult problems. 10 | crossroads | spring 2014

THE FREE CLINIC Nearly 1,000 patients per year come through the doors of the HarrisonburgRockingham Free Clinic in downtown Harrisonburg. To qualify for services there, a person has to have an income at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty limit, be an authorized resident of Harrisonburg or Rockingham County, and have no health insurance. The clinic focuses on treatment and management of chronic health problems; nearly twothirds of its patients have been diagnosed with three or more chronic diseases, says executive director Keith Gnagey ’76. With just two full-time staff – Gnagey and an office manager – and 12 parttime employees, the clinic relies almost entirely on several hundred volunteers, who see patients, run lab tests, work the pharmacy and fill pretty much every other role there. The fact that volunteers perform the most skilled and fundamental roles at the Free Clinic distinguishes it from many other nonprofits. “It’s not just putting on stamps and folding mailings. It’s about getting healthcare out the door,” says Gnagey. Among the doctors who volunteer at the clinic are Wes Ross ’74, who sees patients there once per week and also serves as its medical director (a position that entails things like chart reviews and signing off on lab reports) and Don Martin, class of ’79, a rheumatologist who sees patients at the clinic once a month.

“There’s no way in our lifetime that all the inequities in our society are going to be resolved, but those of us who have opportunity to work on that should,” says Martin. “We can’t, as individuals, solve some of our bigger problems, but we can certainly try to address some of these things that are in our own back yard.” Internist Richard Stoltzfus ’59, who used to treat coal miners in Harlan County, Ky., before he officially retired, sees patients once a week, working alongside his wife Elaine Stoltzfus, who is a health educator. (Elaine spent 196162 studying at EMU’s seminary.) Clinical services director Janice Good Gandy ’87 said the rewards of working at the clinic include knowing that “you’re really helping a very needy population, and you can really see it make a difference in their lives.” In her current role, Gandy manages the schedules of the volunteer doctors and nurse practitioners; before taking the part-time job at the clinic, she volunteered there and also taught at EMU. The biggest challenge at the Free Clinic from a healthcare standpoint, Gandy says, is the fact that patients face so many economic and social barriers to maintaining healthy lifestyles. “We just have to do so much education. Sometimes it’s like we do all we can, and we just hit the wall,” says Gandy, who often draws on lessons about holistic well-being, and viewing specific health

community problems in relation to other life circum- ber of the free clinic, serving 1991-98. stances, that she first learned at EMU. Funding presents the clinic with anVIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH other significant challenge. As the large Job responsibilities for Laura Quassmajority of its budget comes in donaFerdinand ’06, a public health nurse, tions from people, businesses, churches include screening Medicaid patients and other organizations in the commufor eligibility for in-home personal care nity, revenues took a significant hit after or nursing home placement, working the 2008 recession. A “rainy-day fund” in the immunization and sexually got the organization through a number transmitted infection clinics, and helping of lean years, but the clinic also began to with the refugee health and baby care institute a modest fee structure for most programs. Debbie Gullman ’73, also a patients (making the name “Free Clinic” public health nurse, primarily works in something of a misnomer) as a way to maternal and child health. ensure that it will remain open. While the health department perIt is a confusing time to be in healthforms a wide variety of functions – it care. Many people, Gnagey says, are unalso enforces health code in restaurants der the impression that healthcare reform and has an entire environmental health will eliminate the need for a place like arm – public health nurses like Gullman the Free Clinic (“far from true,” he says, and Quass-Ferdinand mainly provide particularly given Virginia’s decision, as preventive healthcare to populations that of press time, not to expand Medicaid otherwise would have none. (Undocueligibility). It’s not clear what, exactly, mented immigrants, many of whom the future holds for the Free Clinic. lack insurance and who are ineligible for Uncertainty about healthcare abounds; Medicaid, for example, comprise much this small organization, scraping along of the obstetrical practice.) to provide needy patients with expensive “I like that I can be involved with peoservices at little to no cost, is being swept ple who are at the margins,” says Gullalong for the ride. man, adding that public health nursing “I love working for a small, local orgais “really nursing and social work [mixed] nization serving an important local need,” together.” The EMU nursing program’s Gnagey adds. “It’s a privilege." strong focus on the social dynamics of The former chair of EMU’s nursing health and wellness translate well to this program and provost, Beryl Brubaker, kind of nursing, adds Quass-Ferdinand. class of ’64, was a founding board mem-  — Andrew Jenner ’04

School Nurses: 5 of 8 Are EMU Alumni From her nurse’s office at Keister Elementary School, Regina Shultz ’92 plays an increasingly important role in first-line healthcare in Harrisonburg, which has one of the state’s highest concentrations of students who are learning English. Often, their families face linguistic, cultural and other barriers to getting good healthcare for their children. That means Shultz’s job entails plenty of networking between students’ families, health providers and other groups when one of these students becomes sick at school or doesn’t seem to be getting the kind of preventive healthcare they should. Five of the eight public school nurses in Harrisonburg are EMU graduates: Shultz, Angela Knupp ’89, Sandy Byler ’92, Bette Lam ’86, and Renee Thompson ’07. Shultz began working for the city school system in 2010, after her family returned from a voluntary service term in Peru. Her fluency in Spanish was a strength on her job application at Keister, where nearly one-third of students are Latino. In addition to looking after the few dozen students a day who come through the office (mostly with minor elementary school complaints: headaches, knees skinned on the playground, upset stomachs, etc.), she teaches lessons on healthy lifestyles in physical education classes and helps organize a preventive care dental clinic for low-income students, which is held periodically at the school. “I’m here to help the families,” says Shultz. “I love the kids and I love being an advocate for them.”  — Andrew Jenner ’04

Kimberley Whetzel ’13, Laura Quass-Ferdinand ‘06, Debra Gullman ‘73, Kara Hulver ’07, Wanda Revercomb ’86, Stephanie Kanagy ’10 and Fonda Cassidy ’86. | crossroads | 11


JMU embraces EMU’s teachings Not long after he’d come out of the closet, Mark was at a party with his friends. At some point that evening, a group of guys approached Mark and told him they suspected their roommate, Joe, was also gay. They asked if Mark would be willing to talk with Joe about this. 1 Mark thought it was an odd request, but he went upstairs and found Joe in his room. “Your roommates are questioning your sexuality, and asked me to talk with you,” Mark said. “If you want to talk, that’s fine, but I thought you should know what they’re saying.” Joe didn’t want to talk about it, and the two rejoined the party downstairs. (All along, 1 These are not these students’ real names.

12 | crossroads | spring 2014

this had simply been a cruel prank by Joe’s roommates, intended to put him and Mark into an awkward situation.) By the time Mark got up to leave, Joe had gotten quite drunk. He followed Mark outside, and as Mark walked down the steps, Joe yelled “faggot” and punched him in the face. Mark picked himself up and hurried home. A year went by, during which Mark avoided Joe and his friends. He lived in fear, and wondered if this is what the rest of his life as a gay man would be like. Just before graduation, Mark heard Josh Bacon, director of James Madison University’s Office of Judicial Affairs, speak in one of his classes about something called “restorative justice.” It sounded

like something that might be useful in addressing what happened outside the party that night, and Mark approached Bacon after class to ask about it. (Mark was specifically interested in a restorative justice approach; he declined to pursue the matter through the legal system or JMU’s traditional judicial affairs process.) Bacon thought the incident would be an ideal one to address through a restorative process and agreed to help set up a meeting. For his part, Joe had also been troubled by the punch he threw that night, and immediately guessed what was on Bacon’s mind when he called from judicial affairs. Joe agreed to meet and talk with Mark.

photos by Mike Miriello, JMU Marketing Photography Department


The circle process has been embraced to such a degree at JMU that when 4,200 firstyear students arrived on campus for orientation in August 2013, all of them received a crash-course in using talking circles to discuss challenging ethical questions. JMU staffer Alton Mosley Jr. led the “ethical reasoning in action” session at the 2013 orientation of incoming JMU students.

with his fists. Things didn’t end with complete reconciliation and fast friendship between the two, but Mark and Joe reached a point of empathy for one another. It was a dynamic that Bacon had very rarely seen with discipline cases IN EXPERIMENTAL STAGE he had handled through the traditional Having taken graduate-level courses judicial affairs process. Afterwards, both in restorative justice at EMU, Bacon Mark and Joe independently contacted was in the experimental stage of using Bacon to thank him for what he’d done restorative processes to address a – a telling indicator of how powerful the student conflict at JMU. He pulled out process had been for both of them. all the stops. He rearranged his office “I can count on one hand how many furniture into a circle, and used a medal thank-you cards I’ve gotten in judicial commemorating JMU’s centennial as affairs,” says Bacon, who is now associa “talking piece” that was passed from ate dean of students. “This sold me on person to person.2 restorative justice.” Mark and Joe sat in that circle for an Today, looking back on this early use hour and a half. Mark told Joe about of restorative justice in his office, Bacon the fear he’d lived with since that night. emphasizes how radically different Joe apologized, and told Mark how his things could have been had the incident sexuality had been repeatedly questioned been handled by the traditional student before Mark approached him at the party, discipline book. Joe’s violent actions and how, in the drunken, late-night logic could have been prosecuted as a hate of the moment, he’d decided to respond crime, involving multiple hearings durin the manliest way he could think of: ing which the lawyers’ clocks would have been spinning at some frightful hourly rate. Even more importantly, Mark and 2 The talking circle has been borrowed from certain Joe would not have had the opportunity First Nations traditions. Sitting in a circle, only the person holding the object (“talking piece”) may speak, to speak directly and honestly to one anwhile the others in the circle listen attentively. He other, meaning neither would have had or she then passes the object to an adjacent person, who may talk if desired or silently pass it to the next the “chance for healing, for apologies, for person, until the object comes around the circle again, understanding,” says Bacon. giving everyone multiple opportunities to share their thoughts and feelings, if desired.

’BLOWN AWAY’ BY ZEHR’S CLASS During most of the 15 years he’s spent so far in judicial affairs at JMU, Bacon came across the term “restorative justice” from time to time. Like many in his field, he’d generally held a vague and incorrect notion that it mainly involved restitution after some sort of wrongdoing. At some point, he became aware that Howard Zehr, often called the “grandfather of restorative justice,” just so happened to work practically next door at Eastern Mennonite University, and he decided to check out the whole restorative justice thing in a little more detail. “When I took Howard’s class, I was blown away,” says Bacon, who began buying every book he could find on the subject of restorative justice and went on to complete a graduate certificate program at EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding.3 “It just recharged me in how to deal with student behavior and student conduct.” Bacon quickly realized that the traditional judicial affairs process, which focuses on holding offenders accountable, was “just totally missing” the needs 3 Josh Bacon, PhD, holds degrees from Clemson University in educational leadership, with a cognate in law, and from Salisbury University in education administration, with a concentration in counseling. Bacon enrolled in the graduate program at CJP “just because I like learning about this stuff – I don’t need another degree!” | crossroads | 13

of victims of crime and hurt. As rapidly And so, in a time when “security” and as he could, he began introducing the “threat assessment” have become campus practices and theory of restorative justice safety buzzwords, restorative justice’s to his work with student conduct at very different ideas of victim-offender JMU. Sometimes, this took the form conferencing and community-building of a full-blown, sit-in-a-circle-and-talk have become the foundation of JMU’s meeting like the one between Mark and approach to student discipline. Joe. More often, though, this simply Zehr, who remains in close touch with entailed a new approach to things like Bacon, says that’s largely due to Bacon’s alcohol violations, which account for the whole-hearted embrace of restorative vast majority of cases that end up on the justice and his use of it in “some really judicial affairs docket. Instead of simply high-profile cases.” doling out consequences to fit a certain violation, Bacon and his staff began ”HE TOOK RISKS” asking students to think about how their “He demonstrated restorative justice. behavior had hurt people around them, He didn’t just talk about it. He took and what steps they could take to fix risks,” says Zehr. “He’s so well-placed things. at JMU and with his background in “We don’t ask what students deserve. organizational management … he began We ask what they need to learn so they to envision getting the entire university don’t end up back here,” says Chris Ehto buy into it.” rhart, MA ’11 (conflict resolution), the restorative practices coordinator in the judicial affairs department. “He demonstrated restorative In addition to the meeting between Mark and Joe, Bacon and his staff began justice. He didn’t just talk using talking circles and other restorative about it. He took risks.” justice processes to handle a number of other very high-profile cases at JMU. After several successful cases, restorative justice “just sold itself ” to other adminisToday, both JMU as an institution trators at the university – some of whom, and Bacon have become national leaders like Bacon, initially looked at restorative in the restorative justice movement on justice with misunderstanding or skepticollege campuses. In 2010, Bacon was incism. vited to be part of a symposium at EMU on the topic, along with David Karp, RESTORATIVE JUSTICE NOT ’SOFT’ author of The Little Book of Restorative One misconception that Bacon had Justice for Colleges and Universities. (Zehr to address is that restorative justice is is the general editor of the 16-volume a “softer” approach that doesn’t hold Little Books series, including seven titles offenders accountable for their actions. pertaining to restorative justice.) One strong argument to the contrary Zehr says that more and more uniis that restorative justice techniques versities are beginning to recognize the have been and are being used across the powerful ways in which restorative juscountry and world to address all sorts tice can transform the process of student of crimes and wrongdoing that are far discipline, and are looking to follow the more serious that anything handled by a example of pioneering schools like JMU. university discipline office. “Universities are supposed to be about Then there’s the fact that it’s simply education. Part of education is learning difficult for an offender to face someone to live with each other,” said Zehr. “I whom they’ve hurt. Often, it’s easier to think that’s what Josh and JMU are accept a suspension or do some comgrasping.” munity service than to look a victim in the eye and talk about what’s happened. GROWING USE OF CIRCLE Students who go through a restorative PROCESSES justice process don’t come out telling In the grand scheme of things, a very people they “got off easy,” Bacon says. small percentage of the roughly 1,500 “They come out changed.” cases that come before judicial affairs 14 | crossroads | spring 2014

at JMU go through a by-the-book restorative justice process. In the first year he began the new approach, Bacon handled fewer than 10 cases this way; last year, it was perhaps a few more than that. Sometimes there’s not a clear-cut victim. Sometimes either the victim or the offender may not agree to meet with the other party. And sometimes, the judicial affairs staff just doesn’t have the time and resources to handle more cases in this new way. But Bacon and his colleagues have realized that the ideas and processes of restorative justice have far wider application than simply dealing with the aftermath of some sort of bad behavior. A talking circle, for example, provides a great structure for all the members of a group to contribute to a discussion. And in this proactive sense, restorative justice has been finding even wider application yet at JMU. In addition to applying restorative justice techniques to student discipline cases, part of Ehrhart’s job is encouraging the use of restorative practices as a community-building tool for various groups on campus. Ehrhart, a 2008 JMU grad who earned his master’s at EMU three years later, has begun teaching others to lead circle processes at JMU’s presidential leadership academy, a weeklong summer event to develop the skills of student leaders on campus. Eliana Jerez-Givre, president of the Madison HIV/AIDS Alliance, was among those student leaders who learned about circle processes from Ehrhart at the leadership academy. In the fall of 2013, she led the other members of her organization’s executive board through a circle process to develop better planning for what they’d like to accomplish. “The technique helped a lot,” says JerezGivre, a junior. “Since then we have been productive and each individual has taken the initiative to do their part for the executive team.” Senior Liz Ramirez is another student leader who learned about circle processes from Ehrhart. She is executive director of JMU SafeRides, an organization that provides free rides home to JMU students on weekends. The group’s executive board has 21 members, some of whom speak often and some of whom rarely wade into an unstructured conversation.

photo by jon styer


Chris Ehrhart (left), who holds a masters in conflict transformation from EMU, answers in his work to Josh Bacon, director of James Madison University’s Office of Judicial Affairs. Bacon took courses with EMU’s Howard Zehr and felt inspired to introduce restorative disciplinary practices to JMU, making it a pioneer in moving the culture of discipline on U.S. campuses away from a largely punitive approach.

Passing a talking piece around a circle, she says, encourages wider input, better listening and better decision-making. “Everyone knows that they’re going to get their turn, and it’s easier for everyone to listen to each other,” Ramirez says. INTEGRATED INTO STUDENT ORIENTATION The circle process has been embraced to such a degree at JMU that when 4,200 first-year students arrived on campus for orientation in August 2013, all of them received a crash-course in using talking circles to discuss challenging ethical questions. As part of its orientation program, JMU created a film about the aftermath of a hurricane hitting New York City. It places the viewer in the position of a government decision-maker faced with a dilemma of where to concentrate and prioritize relief efforts. At their orientation, all incoming first-year students watched the film, and then broke into eight-person groups to discuss – using a circle process – how they would make decisions about hurricane response.

These discussion groups were led by 170 faculty, staff and older students who had previously been trained to lead circle dialogues. “The incoming students just loved it. They felt safe. They felt comfortable. They loved that nobody could dominate the conversation,” says Bacon. “Circles created a safe space for students to deal with these deeper ethical issues.” Afterwards, Bacon told Zehr, his restorative justice mentor, that the circle processes made for the best program ever held for incoming students. “Thank you so much for introducing me to this process,” he wrote to Zehr in an email. “It really is transformative and I am excited to see what JMU and what JMU students can now do with this.” Art Dean, JMU’s special assistant to the president for diversity, was one of the facilitators who led the talking circles for incoming first-year students at their orientation. “I was very excited about this process,” says Dean. “It was powerful for students to hear different experiences and different opinions from their peers.”

As the talking piece went around the circle, students discussed how their own life experiences affected the ways they would make decisions about the questions posed by the hurricane film. “This process has forced us as a community to have conversations about things that we might not have had to otherwise,” Dean says. “It forced us to contemplate other perspectives in our decision-making.” For nearly two decades, Zehr and others have pioneered restorative justice as an academic discipline at EMU. Now, across town at one of the biggest universities in Virginia, restorative justice is being put to widespread, groundbreaking use to resolve conflict and build a stronger community. Dean points to the JMU mission statement: “Preparing students to be educated and enlightened citizens who lead productive and meaningful lives.” Exposing practically every member of JMU’s incoming class of 2018 to the circle process, Dean continues, gives each of them a new tool to do just that.  — Andrew Jenner ’04 | crossroads | 15


Still growing, innovating HARRISONBURG’S FAIRFIELD CENTER – known for most of its 32-year history as the Community Mediation Center – has a long record of leadership in promoting and practicing creative problem-solving in Virginia. Founded as an alternative to the court system for mediating disputes in the community, the Fairfield Center (the name used throughout this story for consistency’s sake) took its first case in February 1982. Ever since, mediation has remained a central focus of the organization. Executive director Tim Ruebke ’92, MA ’99 (conflict transformation), estimates that more than 10,000 cases have been mediated at the Fairfield Center. Thousands of people have been trained to do mediation, seeding conflict-handling skills far and wide in the community. “Our mission is to help people interact and listen more effectively … so that what they’re facing can be transformed in 16 | crossroads | spring 2014

a positive way,” says Ruebke. have worked, interned or volunteered for From the very beginning, the center the center. has had close ties to EMU. Some of During its first two decades, the the founding board members – includFairfield Center trained and supported ing Barry Hart, MDiv ’78, Kathryn many of the other mediation centers Fairfield ’70, and David Kreider ’76, that now exist in Virginia. It also began MA ’78 (religion), MA ’09 (conflict a long-running peer mediator program transformation) – first got their heads in local schools and was instrumental together after a 1981 conference at EMU – particularly through the work of foundon alternatives to incarceration. They ing board member and local attorney were further inspired the following year Larry Hoover – in the establishment of a when Ron Kraybill, then the director of dispute resolution office at the Supreme the Mennonite Conciliation Service and Court of Virginia. Hoover’s work also led later a professor at EMU’s Center for Jus- to the addition of mediation principles tice and Peacebuilding from 1995 to 2005, to the state bar’s official code of conduct gave a lecture on mediation in Staunton. manual. When the center opened in 1982, it To keep up with evolving needs in and was the first mediation-focused program around Harrisonburg, and to maintain in the state. Hart was the center’s first its financial viability (as worthwhile as official director; Sue Hess Yoder ’72 and they are, mediations alone don’t generMargaret Jantzi Foth, class of ’54, also ate enough revenue to sustain a thriving were directors in the late ’80s and early organization), the Fairfield Center now ’90s. Numerous students and alumni offers services in five areas: conflict reso-


photo by jon styer The Fairfield Center, previously called the Community Mediation Center, emerged in 1982 from a group that included a half-dozen EMU alumni. Tim Ruebke (center) ’92, MA ’99, is now its current executive director. Sue Praill (left), MA ’10, directs its restorative justice programs, and Shannon Sneary ’93 oversees its training services.

lution, restorative justice, training, civic engagement and business services. Over the past five years, the Fairfield Center has pursued its civic engagement mission by sponsoring about 20 community dialogues around issues like sustainability, intercultural and interfaith relations, and local economies. In the spring of 2013, it sponsored a dialogue on guns and security and hosted a community conversation on mental health. Intended to promote thoughtful, productive discussion among people with differing views on the issues, the recent dialogues have been hosted in partnership with the Kettering Foundation and James Madison University’s Institute for Constructive Advocacy and Dialogue. “We see our role in the community as being a place to reclaim good public ways to talk with your neighbors and to create better community,” says Ruebke. “Wherever we can increase listening and improve how people interact with one another around issues, problems and conflicts, we see us having a role.” Another ongoing initiative, led by Sue Praill, MA ’10 (conflict transformation), the center’s director of restor-

ative justice, is the development of a restorative justice partnership with the Harrisonburg Police Department. She hopes this will eventually result in local police referring certain types of crimes – perhaps vandalism or minor theft – for resolution through a restorative justice process rather than through the legal system. “We have a very dynamic task force in place, and we’re working on getting things started,” says Praill, who has had productive discussions about the idea with the city’s police chief. She also leads a “victim sensitization” program at the Harrisonburg Men’s Diversion Center, a state corrections facility. Many of the men who participate tell Praill after they complete the program, taught in six two-hour sessions, that they have a new understanding of the ways that crimes, even minor ones, hurt victims. Shannon Sneary ’93 oversees Fairfield’s training services. These include sessions for people pursuing state certification as mediators (overseen by the very division of the Supreme Court that the center had a role in creating) and other

programs designed for organizations and businesses to improve their communications and effectiveness. One of Sneary’s current goals is to expand its Spanish-language training program, in the hope of eventually offering more mediation services conducted entirely in Spanish. The Fairfield Center now has one bilingual certified mediator, giving it some ability to mediate for Spanish-speaking clients. That growing need for Spanish mediation is a reflection of changing demographics in Harrisonburg, now one of the most diverse cities in the state with more than 14% of its residents born in other countries. INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL Since 2010, the Fairfield Center has also served as the institutional home of the Harrisonburg International Festival, first held in 1997. The festival’s co-chair is David Kreider, one of the founders of the Fairfield Center who is again sitting on its board. The 16th annual festival, in the fall of 2013, was the largest ever, with nearly 9,000 people attending. Kreider notes that the influx of refugees to Harrisonburg has often brought people from opposing sides of conflicts elsewhere in the world. And while the festival’s primary intention is simply to celebrate the different traditions represented in Harrisonburg, the practices of dialogue, conflict resolution and restorative justice espoused by the Fairfield Center have been important along the way in improving how these different communities coexist in their new home. “While it has been difficult, it has also been very rewarding to feel we have had a part in helping understanding, connection, and healing to begin to happen,” Kreider says – illustrating one of the ways in which the Fairfield Center’s original mission is being applied today in Harrisonburg, to situations the organization’s founders wouldn’t have anticipated more than 30 years ago.  — Andrew Jenner ’04 | crossroads | 17

photo by jon styer Randy Hook ’95 directs the counseling services of Bridgewater College.


at Bridgewater College EVERY MARCH, more than 800 students from the four local colleges, wearing t-shirts in their school colors, converge on downtown Harrisonburg to raise awareness about suicide prevention. Walk For Hope is just one of the community events that Randall “Randy” Hook ’95, MSW, is involved with as director of counseling services at Bridgewater College. Working under him are Amy Ghaemmaghami, MA ’05 (counseling), LPC, and intern Michael Horst, currently enrolled in EMU’s MA in counseling program. A college with a counseling department staffed completely by graduates of a neighboring university is, it’s probably safe to say, quite rare. Granted, we are talking a staff of three, which lengthens the odds. And maybe the shared Anabaptist roots of EMU and Bridgewater Col18 | crossroads | spring 2014

lege have something to do with it. Or maybe it’s just opportunity and calling. Ghaemmaghami arrived at Bridgewater in 2009. Hook joined the counseling department in 2010, having previously worked as coordinator of the partial hospitalization program at Rockingham Memorial Hospital and executive director of The Center for Marriage and Family Counseling, a local nonprofit agency. Though their primary responsibility is the psychological care of students through counseling, Hook and his staff also provide outreach and education through student life and wellness programs. Focusing on prevention and intervention, they consult with faculty and staff about mental health issues and provide resources to the community of approximately 1,760 students. “It’s such a fun age to work with,”

Hook says. “Their world is just exploding, they’re debunking myths and realizing myths and they’re questioning belief systems and there’s a lot of these existential questions and issues of faith and healing. I feel privileged to be a part of that conversation.” Deriving energy and sustenance from diverse professional pursuits, Hook has continued counseling in private practice. With Kristy Troyer Koser ’07, MA ’09 (counseling), he has conducted marriage seminars. Hook also teaches in EMU’s master’s in counseling program (he has also been an adjunct faculty member at Blue Ridge Community College, James Madison University, and Bridgewater College). Two EMU master’s in counseling students have benefited from an intern program that Hook started at Bridgewater. Sarah Defnall ’10, MA ’12 (counseling), was the first intern (she is now a residence director at Northlawn and works in career counseling). Michael Horst is currently completing the requisite 600-hour internship under Hook’s supervision.  — Lauren Jefferson


David Whyte, an internationally recognized poet, author and expert in organizational development, came to campus in late February for an event highlighting the 20th anniversary year of the master’s in counseling program – the first EMU program outside of Eastern Mennonite Seminary to produce graduates at the master’s degree level. Whyte’s day-long workshop was attended by EMU faculty, students and counseling graduates, along with some participants who traveled from elsewhere in the mid-Atlantic region. In the evening in Lehman Auditorium, Whyte interspersed reflective remarks with poetry, holding hundreds rapt as he explored “the foundation of conversational leadership.” Whyte showed his audience how – to borrow words from one of his published writings – “a good poem looks life straight in the face, unflinching, sincere, equal to revelation through loss or gain. … At the center of our lives, in the midst of the busyness and the forgetting, is a story that makes sense when everything extraneous has been taken away.” For leaders in business, education, the social services and other fields, Whyte offered this thought: “Following a vocation or an art form through decades of practice and understanding will break the idealistic heart that began the journey and replace it, if we sidestep the temptations of bitterness and self-pity, with something more malleable, compassionate and generous than the metaphysical organ with which we began the journey.” Long-time counseling professor David Glanzer ’71 said, “I have heard David Whyte several times at national conferences before audiences of several thousand. He speaks about the

Family Life Resource Center As divorce and separation gained greater acceptance within the Mennonite church in the 1980s, congregations in the area struggled to deal with the toll these exacted on families. In response, the Virginia Mennonite Conference formed a committee to look at ways the church could better support its members who were affected by dissolving marriages. The result: the opening, in 1987, of the Family Life Resource Center (FLRC). Among its first counselors were Jim Glanzer ’75 and Harvey Yoder ’64, both of whom remain at FLRC today. Other alumni now on staff include director Andrea Bieber ’98, MA ’00 (counseling), Mark Sensabaugh ’81, and Dana Blauch, MA ’12 (counseling). Over the past 25 years, FLRC has grown into a full-fledged mental health counseling center that has branched out from its

photo by lindsey kolb

David Whyte Highlights Counseling’s 20th Year

David Whyte: poet, author, consultant

human condition in new ways and with great insight." Glanzer described the EMU seminar as "an exciting opportunity for personal reflection and professional growth" in an intimate setting. Since 1995 when the inaugural cohort of 10 future counselors and therapists completed their rigorous two years of professional studies, a total of 227 graduates have earned masters degrees at EMU. Only 62 of that number were EMU undergraduate students. The vast majority were attracted by the program’s reputation for nationally accredited excellence and by its creative community, aiming to train the whole person (mind, body and spirit) for the challenging work of counseling. “Being part of a small Christian university is actually a strength of our program,” said Glanzer, who was a founding faculty member of the program. “The sense of community, the shared values of service, and the interdisciplinary opportunities to collaborate with EMU’s other graduate programs, all help to create our program’s distinctive flavor."

original focus on supporting families to offer services ranging from substance abuse counseling to court-ordered parenting classes. FLRC has been open to the general public since the beginning. Now, Yoder estimates, just 10% of its clients belong to churches in the Virginia Mennonite Conference. The center still maintains its overt Christian identity, although it doesn’t approach its work with individual clients from any one specific set of denominational beliefs. For more than a decade and a half, FLRC contracted with EMU to provide on-campus counseling services to students, faculty and staff – EMU now offers in-house counseling – but FLRC continues to have a relationship with EMU by hosting interns and residents from the graduate counseling program.  — Andrew Jenner ’04 | crossroads | 19

SOURCE OF FACULTY, STAFF IN HIGHER ED WHEN CONLEY MCMULLEN graduated from EMU in 1978, the aspiring botanist decided there would be no finer profession than to become a “gentleman scholar” at his alma mater like his mentors, Claire Mellinger and Gary Stucky. McMullen had taken just about every class that Mellinger taught, from plant taxonomy and physiology, through general ecology and ornithology. And he had also benefited from the encouragement of Stucky, who presented the not-so-stellar chemistry student with a rare opportunity to conduct research in his lab. So partly in fun and partly as a gesture of his appreciation, he “applied” – prematurely, of course, because he only had an undergraduate degree – for a teaching position at EMU. “Dr. Mellinger replied in jest that he was going to bury my application where it wouldn’t see the light of day, as he was not yet ready, or old enough, to retire,” 20 | crossroads | spring 2014

McMullen said. McMullen went on to the foundation of a career in higher earn a master’s from James Madison Uni- education. versity (JMU) and a PhD from the UniOf the 29 EMU alumni working in versity of Maryland, specializing in plant local institutions of higher education systematics, floristics, and pollination who responded to our interview request, biology, while conducting research in the 16 are either traditional faculty or have eastern United States and the Galapagos duties that include teaching responsibiliIslands. For 17 of his 27 years in higher ties. Thirteen others at JMU, Bridgewaeducation, he has worked at JMU, where ter College and Blue Ridge Community he is now professor of biology. College work in a variety of support “In the study of plant systematics, one positions and count mentorship and/or often discusses the idea of plant lineages, service among their responsibilities. which in turn reminds me of the lineage In their various niches in the eduof botanists of which I am a part,” Mccation-rich Shenandoah Valley, EMU Mullen says. “Dr. Mellinger had a menalumni thrive as lifelong learners, tor who trained him, he in turn inspired creators, mentors and agents of change. me, and it is my hope that I will inspire “Having EMU grads among the various future botanists, who will also carry on area institutions infiltrates those orgathe tradition.” nizations with more servant attitudes, When asked to identify a favorite strong moral values, and the importance aspect of his profession, McMullen can’t of being community members,” says decide among teaching, research, and Lorinda "Rinn" Siegrist ’89, a marketservice – the three activities that form ing design manager at JMU.

photo by jon styer


photo by Caroline Prendergast/jmu

“Vikki” Ingram, MBA ’05, directs human resources at Bridgewater College.

photo by jon styer Conley McMullen ’78 (standing center) has been teaching biology at James Madison University for 17 years.

Mary Walala ’09 oversees the smooth functioning of more than 30 community outreach programs at JMU’s Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services.

Inspiration, opportunity, and connecEMU’s Roman Miller encouraged tion to community – these gifts of an Brown’s budding but undirected interest EMU education are common themes in research the summer after graduation. shared, and passed on, by alumni who “I’m so thankful to him for the opportuhave chosen to work in higher education. nity to help him out,” says Brown, who went on to earn a PhD at East Carolina INSPIRATION University. “When I say ‘help out,’ I Among those EMU graduates who mean ‘make a mess and occasionally work in higher education, many collect some data.’” With that same nurshare special bonds with their former turing quality, Brown now oversees six professors. “We teach the way we were undergraduate students who research the taught,” says Randy Snow ’91, who connections between neural mechanisms blends the compassion, high standards, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. and practical skill-building that he As an assistant professor of elemenexperienced while a teacher candidate tary education at Bridgewater College, at EMU into the human resources and Jennie M. Carr, MA ’06 (education), adult education courses that he teaches PhD (NorthCentral U.), continues to at JMU. enjoy both professional and personal In the JMU biology department, asfriendships with professors she met as a sociate professor Justin W. Brown ’97 graduate student at EMU. Carr makes teaches pathophysiology, neuroscience, biannual visits to campus to speak on and physiology, with the same “contaa panel facilitated by faculty memgious passion” of his former professors. bers Cathy Smeltzer Erb and Sandy

Brownscombe, and co-teaches a course at Bridgewater with her former action research project supervisor, Judy Wilfong. Carr says that she takes particular pleasure in the exponential gratification of her work: each teacher-candidate she helps to develop with strong professional skills will eventually touch hundreds of children. Another alumna in the Bridgewater education department is Jean R. Hawk, class of ’70 (Bluffton grad), who has an MS from JMU and a PhD from Vanderbilt. Lori Hertzler Schrock ’93 admired her EMU mentor and role model Jean Brunk for her varied experiences in the wellness field. Schrock has followed in her footsteps with positions at the Sentra RMH Wellness Center and Sunnyside Retirement Community. Schrock is currently program director at the Funkhouser Wellness Center of Bridgewater College. | crossroads | 21

photo by jon styer Lori Hertzler Schrock ’93 is the program director at the Funkhouser Wellness Center of Bridgewater College.

A voice instructor at Bridgewater College since 2009, Christine Fairfield ’97 enjoys the similar teacher-student ratio that benefited her musical development as an undergraduate. “I was inspired in particular by Ken Nafziger, Steve Sachs, and my voice teacher, Katrina Zook,” she said, “all three outstanding professors who drew me into my musical experience in a way that made me want to share that with others.” For many alumni, the personal growth they experienced at EMU encourages them to help others find similar enriching connections in education. With more than 20 years of service at the community college level in various departments, Martha Livick ’07 (currently working in Blue Ridge Community College’s library) enjoys watching first-semester students, who are often “bewildered at the new world of college learning,” transition and grow “with knowledge of a new lifestyle of learning.” In building relationships with non-traditional students, she often shares her own story of earning her BS, as a mother of three, through the Adult Degree Completion Program at EMU. In her ESL classes at JMU’s Career Development Academy, Kristin Yoder Kauffman ’01 also mentors JMU education practicum students. Witnessing and facilitating these educational exchanges, she is reminded of her time at EMU, where “I first learned the richness of 22 | crossroads | spring 2014

cross-cultural experiences, not only in other places, but also locally,” she says. Kauffman had not declared a major before completing a volunteer requirement for Ray Horst’s Spanish class. After that experience with the Shenandoah Valley Migrant Education Program, she became an elementary education major specializing in ESL. In her current role, she enjoys providing “opportunities for college students and immigrants from the community to find common ground together, sharing and learning.” OPPORTUNITY With so many professional opportunities, career paths often take EMU grads from their alma mater to JMU, BRCC, or Bridgewater College. For many working in the local institutions of higher education, their résumé includes a position at EMU. Nine of those interviewed had benefited from employment or work experience at EMU before moving on. In some cases, their time at EMU solidified interests that were already present. In others, the opportunity eventually led to specialization. After completing EMU’s MA in education program in 1999, Jenny M. Martin worked for 11 years at EMU in a variety of teaching and support positions. Her path eventually led to doctoral studies in curriculum and instruction at

Virginia Tech, where she supports graduate teacher candidates and researches digital pedagogy, along with a position at Bridgewater College, where she is Praxis test coordinator and co-director of the Shenandoah Valley Writing Academy. “Teaching in EMU’s Intensive English Program and studying abroad for a semester created a global foundation for my pedagogy,” says Laura Kate Schubert ’03. A teacher and writing center coordinator in JMU’s School of Writing, Rhetoric & Technical Communication, Schubert recently co-authored a textbook and began doctoral studies at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where she is specializing in composition and the teaching of English to speakers of other languages. Emily Benner Blake ’07 spent four years as assistant director at EMU’s Washington (DC) Community Scholars’ Center before becoming an advising coordinator within JMU’s School of Strategic Leadership Studies. With special interests in networking and community-building, Blake recently helped start “Dukes Vote!,” which brings together campus political organizations to get students engaged in the electoral process. SERVICE THROUGH EDUCATION Service to community, one of the tenets of the EMU education, also inspires

community alumni in higher education. At Blue Ridge Community College, information systems technology instructor Lorie Hartt ’04 sees reciprocity in the learning exchange. “I love the whole cycle of serving my students through instruction and then seeing them provide a service to me in their new positions, for example seeing one of my students practice as a nurse in a doctor’s office,” says Hartt. Mary Walala ’09 oversees the smooth functioning of more than 30 community outreach programs at JMU’s Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services. It’s a job that allows her to interact with and support “fantastic programs that really make a difference in our community every day…. At EMU, I learned the power of one, that one person can make a change and make a difference,” Walala says. “I don’t know which came first, the chicken or the egg,” said Melissa Leisen ’00, pediatric clinical course coordinator in the JMU department of nursing, “but I am passionate about service to the community, which was a big part of our nursing preparation at EMU.” Along with her teaching and supervisory duties, Leisen facilitates a program called Precious Time, which matches nursing students and local families with a child or children with special healthcare needs. The students provide respite care and benefit from “the context of learning what life is truly like for these special families and special kids.” ALSO AT JMU: Jason Ritter ’07 mentors practicum students and interns in his position as recreation facilities manager, where he oversees five facilities used by club and intramural teams, adventure programs, fitness and nutrition, and group fitness classes. Tiffany Newbold, MA ’03 (counseling), is a student coordinator in the engineering department. She advises and counsels students, develops curriculum, maintains relationships with industry partners and alumni, and conducts orientation and recruitment sessions. ALSO AT BRIDGEWATER COLLEGE: Victoria “Vikki” Ingram, MBA ’05, is director of human resources. Christine Spilman, MA ’06 (counseling), works in the counseling field and since 2008, has also taught psychology courses in the education department. Retired professors include Marlene Showalter ’62, who taught mathematics at JMU and EMU and later psychology at JMU, and Roy E. Heatwole ’64, who recently retired “again” after a career teaching physics and mathematics at EMU and JMU.  — Lauren Jefferson

Alumni Teaching At College Level Nearby JAMES MADISON UNIVERSITY JUSTIN W. BROWN ’97 // PhD (East Carolina University) // associate professor of biology J. MARK BRUBAKER ’61 // adjunct faculty in biology department BRIAN CHARETTE ’97, MAL ’92 // EdD (Nova Southeastern University) // professor of business, also associate vice president for university planning and analysis EDWARD GANT ’78 // DMA (University of Iowa) // adjunct faculty in music department JULIE BURNER GOCHENOUR ’99, MAR ’01 // PhD (Union Institute and University) //adjunct faculty in communication studies WILLIAM J. HAWK, MDIV ’74 // PhD (Vanderbilt) // professor of philosophy and religion KAREN P. JAGIELLO ’04 // MSN (James Madison University) // adjunct faculty in nursing department MELISSA LEISEN ’00 // MSN (George Mason University), // adjunct faculty of nursing ERICA J. LEWIS ’01 // PhD (University of Virginia) //assistant professor of nursing MERLE E. MAST ’74 // PhD (University of Virginia) // professor of nursing CONLEY K. MCMULLEN ’78 // PhD (University of Maryland) // professor of biology ARLENE RENALDS ’75, MSN ’08 // RN, adjunct faculty in nursing KEN ROTH ’78 // PhD (Medical College of Virginia) // assistant professor of biology LAURA SCHUBERT ’03 // MA (Millersville University), PhD candidate (Indiana University of Pennsylvania) // adjunct faculty in the writing, rhetoric and technical communication department RANDALL S. SNOW ’92 // MSEd (James Madison University) // adjunct faculty in learning, technology and leadership education department

BRIDGEWATER COLLEGE RICHARD BOWMAN ’70 // PhD (Oregon State University) //professor of science JENNIE M. CARR, MA ’06 // PhD (NorthCentral University) // assistant professor of elementary education L. ALAN EBY ’88 // PsyD (Fuller Seminary School of Psychology) // professor of psychology CHRISTINE FAIRFIELD ’97 // MM (Ohio University) // adjunct faculty of applied voice in the music department. JEAN R. HAWK, CLASS OF ’70 // PhD (Vanderbilt University) // professor of education and director of the Teacher Education Program BONNIE PRICE LOFTON, MA ’04 // DLitt (Drew University) // adjunct faculty in sociology department JENNY M. MARTIN, MA ’99 // PhD candidate (Virginia Polytechnical University) // adjunct professor of education and praxis support coordinator at Bridgewater and instructor at Virginia Tech LORI HERTZLER SCHROCK ’93 // MS (James Madison University), program director of Funkhouser Center CHRISTINE SPILMAN, MA ’06 // adjunct faculty in the education department | crossroads | 23

Katie Landis ’12, “Rinn” Siegrist ’89 and Justin Roth ’12 work in the Office of University Communications and Marketing at James Madison University, doing photography, graphic design and videography (respectively).

From brochures to advertisements, from emails to exhibit displays, and mobile apps to video tours, five EMU alumni help promote the James Madison University brand through graphic design, photography, videography, and web design. Four of them – Katie Landis ’12, Justin Roth ’12, Lorinda "Rinn" Siegrist ’89 and Frank Ameka ’07 – came to their various positions with degrees in visual arts and communications and internships in EMU’s small, but multifaceted marketing department. The fifth alumnus is something of an anomaly: Web developer Jamie Johnson was already a minted Duke who had earned his bachelor’s in computer information systems before completing an MA in counseling in 1999 at EMU. We’ll save his unusual story for last. Katie Landis, an assistant photographer in the marketing department, started her position at JMU the day after graduation. She shoots, edits, archives and delivers photos for the alumni magazine, orientation guides, the Madison Family Handbook, and other projects. Landis also manages four student photographers, emphasizing the “art of visual storytelling” that she learned from her 24 | crossroads | spring 2014

EMU professors. cy. Ameka is assistant director of technolSince February 2013, Justin Roth has ogy and design, and his job is to oversee worked at JMU as an assistant video pro- what he jokingly calls his self-created ducer. One of his first tasks was to pro“behemoth.” Hired the year he graduated, duce video of newly appointed President Ameka consolidated client services into a Jonathan Alger during his get-acquainted student-staffed and team-oriented martour of alumni around the country. keting agency specializing in integrated Rinn Siegrist, who holds a master’s graphic design, web development, video, from Syracuse, is the marketing design writing, and photography. His staff has manager in JMU’s Office of Univerexploded from four to 27 employees sity Communications and Marketing. serving six major clients at the university, Siegrist first gained experience as a including Madison Union, the Office of student graphic designer in the EMU Student Activities and Involvement, the athletics department, and then worked Festival Conference Center, Fraternity full-time for seven years in the marketand Sorority Life, Kijiji Leadership, and ing department, designing EMU’s first the University Program Board. At any website and a wide variety of marketing given time, his student-employees could materials. be developing digital signs and web Since 1996, Siegrist has spent all but promotions, filming a leadership video, three years at JMU, “in various roles over designing a webpage, or working on the years, but they all amount to graphic advertisements for upcoming Madison design work,” she says. She currently Union gallery showings. designs and oversees graphic design and “At EMU, I took advantage of every visual brands, including those relating to opportunity to practice my craft,” he the JMU alumni magazine, the Forbes said, whether single-handedly creating Performing Arts Center, and College of the yearbook, photographing campus Visual and Performing Arts, development events, or filming the Mennonite Youth and student recruitment. Conference. “We offer that same opporAcross campus in the depths of Warren tunity here.” Hall, Frank Ameka runs what amounts Web developer Jamie Johnson graduto a small, but very busy marketing agen- ated from JMU with a degree in com-

photo by Mike Miriello, JMU Marketing Photography Department


puter information systems and worked in informational technology for WLR Foods from 1995 to 1999 before attending EMU and then pursuing a career in behavioral health counseling. After five years, he returned to the IT field. Now his digital “artistry” is behind the campus directory, the mobile apps website, and the IT portal that the university community uses to access electronic accounts, among other projects. Johnson has also contributed to webpages promoting the Marching Royal Dukes, the Forbes Center, the Furious Flower Poetry Center, and the department of art, design and art history. “Counseling skills play a role here in being able to support and encourage,” he says. “The skills I learned at EMU also assist in learning to speak the customer’s language to help them understand the technical aspects of something I have developed, maintain or support.”  — Lauren Jefferson

photo by evan white/jmu


At JMU, Frank Ameka ’07 runs an in-house marketing agency staffed by students.

Fostering International Student Success at JMU After experiencing cross-cultural studies and interacting with students from all over the world during their undergraduate years, several EMU alumni have found their perfect job in facilitating this same rich exchange at the larger university a few miles away. James Madison University has a thriving community of approximately 450 international students and scholars from 75 countries. More than 20% of the student population is of diverse ethnicity. Three EMU alumni – Delores Blough ’80, Jon Kratz ’00, and De’Shay Turner ’08 – work locally with a global perspective. For the past nine years, Blough has been director of international student and scholar services within the office of international programs. She and her staff of six, including Kratz, provide a variety of services to international students and faculty, including the handling of immigration paperwork, orientation and cultural adjustment workshops, and social activities. After graduating with a degree in social work, Blough earned a JD at Georgetown University Law School and spent 17 years in the Washington D.C. area, practicing immigration law and providing training in conflict management. In 1997, she became director of international student services at EMU. Seven years later, she moved to JMU.

After Blough went to JMU, Kratz moved from an admissions counseling position at EMU to take her place. In 2011, he joined Blough at JMU to fill a newly created position as assistant director of international student success. At EMU Kratz developed his abilities through an array of experiences: travels through Northern Ireland and Ireland, two seasons with the soccer team, and years as an assistant at Roselawn and with the Peer Advisory Committee, facilitating peer-to-peer relationships and resolving conflict. Add a business administration degree with a focus on human resources, blend in an interest in international students, and Kratz suddenly, unexpectedly, had a career in higher education. De’Shay Turner is associate director of multicultural student services at JMU. The Center for Multicultural Student Services oversees 14 student organizations, from the college’s NAACP chapter to Asian and African student unions, and Black and Latino alliances, as well as 10 Greek organizations and their intercultural council. A self-professed homebody before attending EMU, Turner has first-hand knowledge of how travel can broaden horizons. Since that first trip to Germany and Switzerland on his cross-cultural, he has traveled on alternative spring break trips with JMU students to Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, volunteering with mental health patients and helping to build a home in an impoverished village.  — Lauren Jefferson | crossroads | 25

photo by Lindsey kolb Cathy Smeltzer Erb (right), chair of EMU’s undergraduate education department, confers with two education students.

EMU-TRAINED TEACHERS EARN HIGH MARKS MORE THAN 500 alumni living in the careers, years before their peers at other City of Harrisonburg or Rockingham universities. County work in education, though only Professor Sandy Brownscombe two-thirds of these seem to be employed says her first-year “Exploring Teaching” in their home districts, according to students come back from their stints in EMU’s alumni databse. classrooms with eyes opened to what “The teachers we hire from the EMU the career could entail. In her 36 years teacher education program rank as at EMU, she has seen many decide that being some of the best,” says Scott R. teaching is not for them after this early Kizner, superintendent of Harrisonburg experience as education students. City public schools. “I’m remarkably “The [EMU] program is set up so that impressed with their ability to build rela- students who do not acquire beginningtionships with our students and value the level teaching skills or professional rich diversity of our school system. As attributes do not make it through the superintendent, I take great comfort in program and are counseled toward knowing that EMU graduates are serving another avenue of life’s calling,” observes our students.” Bill Sprinkel, who spent 40 years in the Within six months of graduation, Rockingham County School system nearly 100% of students who pursue before retiring from his supervisor of teaching positions are employed in their instruction role a few years ago. field, according to Cathy Smeltzer Erb, By the time they are seniors in their chair of EMU’s undergraduate education college careers, EMU’s student-teachers department. are serious and self-assured in their callEMU’s education students enter local ings, not wavering in their chosen paths. classrooms five weeks into their college “They come prepared and academically 26 | crossroads | spring 2014

strong,” says Lacey Spring Elementary principal Donna Robinson, who has observed student-teachers and graduates for 16 years as an administrator. “They’re always ready to do over and beyond, to help with extracurricular activities – beyond the school day.” Charlette McQuilkin, Rockingham director of student assessment, calls teaching a “people business,” and believes EMU graduates get that. They employ a uniquely “loving and caring attitude toward students,” says Robinson, plus they are also exceptional at self-assessment. “You can tell someone held them accountable in their education,” says Anne Lintner, principal at Keister Elementary in Harrisonburg. EMU’s reflective teaching model centers on constantly assessing how teaching strategies are impacting students, and how these can be improved. “Our students, and therefore our teachers, are seen as people who are committed to the work of teaching… they’re not ones who just punch the clock,” says Erb of EMU’s undergraduate education program. “As a result, they truly learn to care about their students academically and socially; how is this student thriving with peers or in the home setting? “Becoming a teacher is a lifelong process of continuous reflection,” she adds. “Our grads are doing that in schools, and that makes them stand out.”  — Samantha Cole ’11

photo by jon styer


Harrisonburg’s exceptional ability to integrate non-English speakers from other countries into its school system can be traced to the seminal efforts of Linda Bland ’64 (above) in the 1990s.

Helping Schools Bridge Cross-Cultural Divides The baggage that comes with feeling new and out of place in a foreign milleu is heavy, especially for children who can’t communicate with their peers in the United States. Having experienced feeling like an outsider during their required cross-culturals, dozens of EMU grads employed by Harrisonburg City schools are using their cross-cultural sensitivity in support of the schools’ 36% of students from homes where 50 languages other than English are spoken. Alexis Rutt ’06, MEd ’11, for example, works with the schools’ Newcomer Program. The program began in 2006, in response to the influx of immigrant children entering area schools with little-to-no English language skills. “These kids are amazing,” Rutt says of the 25 current Newcomer Program middle school students, representing eight countries and speaking five languages. Some are part of the Refugee Resettlement Program and have lived through unimaginable atrocities, she says. “They aren’t victims… They keep showing up, eager to learn and grateful for what they’ve been given. Every day in the classroom is an exercise in humility for me.” Rutt says her cross-cultural experiences in New Zealand and Fiji were transformative, helping her to be welcoming to people from other cultures. During his cross-cultural in Guatemala, Adam Shank ’06 lived in the home country of many who had family members in the United States, making him aware that these immigrants left their homeland for “basically the same reasons that my ancestors did hundreds of years ago.” Shank combined this experience with a double major in justice, peace and conflict studies and Spanish, and spent three years in Nicaragua as a Mennonite Central Commit-

tee volunteer. He then resettled in Harrisonburg to work with the Latino population. As the homeschool liaison for Smithland and Waterman Elementary schools, he works with students and parents to foster relationships between school and home. Gary Painter, who has hired many EMU alumni since he started working as a Harrisonburg school administrator in 1999, recognizes cultural empathy as an educator’s asset. The cross-cultural experience bolsters a graduate’s odds of being hired, and reinforces their success with non-Western learners once in the classroom, he says. Rutt and Shank are two of the over 40 EMU alumni working in cultural diversity roles in Harrisonburg City Schools: 26 ESL teachers, two ESL instructional coaches, two ESL specialists, and a dozen home-school liaisons. Harrisonburg’s city schools have fully embraced addressing the needs of students who arrive speaking a language other than English. But back in the 1990s, this was not the case when Linda Bland ’64 was asked to expand her role as a reading supervisor to encompass foreign language and English as a second language programs. Then-ESL teacher Jeremy Aldrich, now Harrisonburg schools’ foreign language coordinator, remembers Bland “inching us year by year into better instructional practices,” encouraging cultural sensitivity and a welcoming atmosphere for foreign-born students. Bland recruited dual-language education pioneers Wayne P. Thomas and Virginia P. Collier for teacher and administrator workshops, and cultural anthropologist and local immigration researcher Laura Zarrugh for diversity training. Zarrugh considers Bland’s work “foundational in establishing the ESL program in city schools and easing the cultural adjustments.”  — Samantha Cole ’11 | crossroads | 27

photo by Jessica Roxanne Atienza


Conductor Ken J. Nafziger has been the artistic director of the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival since its inception 22 years ago.

BACH FESTIVAL Music lovers flock to Harrisonburg each summer for the annual Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival. With a week of performances ranging from baroque to modern, amateur to award-winning, they aren’t disappointed. The flagship performances are held in EMU’s Lehman Auditorium, but in an effort to share the experience with the widest possible audience, concerts are also held in downtown Harrisonburg venues on weekdays. Many of the performances are free, to allow as many as possible to attend, said Mary Kay Adams, Bach Festival executive director and principal flutist. She recruits volunteers for each summer’s festival: to house traveling musicians, work as ushers for the performances, and even sing as choir members. “The Bach Festival is one of the signature arts events in Harrisonburg every year, and adds to what is a growing and vibrant community for artists and arts enthusiasts,” says Kai Degner, Harrisonburg City Council member. Last season, 4,000 people attended the festival. In 2014, there will be a new concerto competition for youth, for a chance to earn a spot in the opening concert. Up-to-date information can always be found at 28 | crossroads | spring 2014

photo by Jill Koeppen


The Shenandoah Valley Children’s Choir gained a new director, Janet Hostetter ’87, after a careful sifting of dozens of applicants.

CHILDREN’S CHOIR standards – in music and in character Whether at the White House for the – in an atmosphere of cooperation, she lighting of the national Christmas tree, at says. festivals in Hawaii or in Italy, the sound In the spring of 2014, Janet Heatwole of the Shenandoah Valley Children’s Hostetter ’87 was named SVCC’s new Choir (SVCC) blows its audiences away, artistic director, chosen from a stack assistant director Joy Anderson is pleased of applicants from across the country to say. and beyond. After majoring in music Now in its 22nd year, the children’s at EMU, Hostetter earned a master of choir is open to youths aged 5-18. music degree in choral conducting from They are trained to perform at the James Madison University. In the spring same level as nationally recognized choirs of 2008, she served as SVCC guest from urban areas, but their mission isn’t director during founding director Julia to compete, Anderson says. White’s sabbatical. The choir’s main goal is to instill high “The SVCC, under the direction of Ju-

photo courtesy of megan tiller


Megan Tiller ’07 teaches strings at Spotswood Elementary (pictured) and Waterman Schools, as well as helping with the strings programs in other schools throughout the region. She also runs Tiller Strings, a local option for obtaining stringed instruments and accessories.

lia White and [interim director] Joanne van der Vat-Chromy, has brought a quality of music education to our community that has impacted the lives of many,” said Hostetter. “I am honored to have been chosen for the artistic director position and desire to continue the same level of musical excellence we have all come to enjoy.” Combining music theory and practice in their earliest non-auditioned classes, with performing artistry from age seven and up, the choir seeks to encourage a sense of connection, pleasure and belonging alongside instruction. “It’s a rigorous program, but it’s fun,” Anderson says. The children expand their social repertoires, too: Those who are homeschooled meet and sing alongside children from the city schools, who mingle with those from county schools, plus some from even an hour’s drive away, living in Winchester and Charlottesville. Around 150 choristers are part of the program each

year, which is housed at EMU. For more information, visit PREPARATORY MUSIC Although part of EMU’s music department, the Shenandoah Valley Preparatory Music Program isn’t focused on grooming future music majors. “Our main goal is to give students the skills to be able to use their music in whatever setting they find themselves in the future,” said program director Sharon Miller, who teaches violin, viola and Suzuki pedagogy courses. That may be in orchestras, churches or living rooms. The preparatory music program is a combination of community outreach offerings: Musikgarten for exposure from infancy to 7 years, to Youth Symphony, a high-level ensemble of high school juniors and seniors. The only program of its kind in a 60-mile radius, the program became part of EMU’s music department in 1988. It has served an average of 375

students each year. The program’s community-building efforts continue with the Harrisonburg City Schools Strings Program, offering children an after-school opportunity for string instrument instruction that they might not otherwise have. Megan Tiller ’07, for example, is a Suzukitrained teacher of strings at both Waterman and Spotswood Elementary schools. Since 2007, a group of highly diverse students in grades 3-8 have picked up violins and learned to play, regardless of their financial situation. The after-school program is funded in part by Harrisonburg City Schools, student tuition, and individual donations. About 150 children are in the program, 71% of whom are low-income. In the late spring and summer, music day camps are organized for Musikgarten and Suzuki Strings. For more information, visit  — Samantha Cole ’11 | crossroads | 29

photo by jon styer


Begun by alumni, it shapes community MARGARET WENGER JOHNSON ’69 held out a mason jar of grape juice. “It’s rich,” Samuel Johnson (class of ’75) said. Margaret nodded and smiled, like they’d discovered it bubbling from the ground — instead of steaming in a steel vat. The Concord grapes that she had methodically de-stemmed with Marjorie Nafziger ’74, MA ’97 (counseling), grew on vines handed down from Margaret’s father, Chester Wenger ’41. “And his dad grew grapes, and his granddad grew grapes,” she said. “So Samuel and I planted grape vines at the very beginning of our time here.” That was in 1978. They planted blueberries, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and tomatoes ­– but had nowhere to sell their produce locally. So they dreamed of a farmers market. As Samuel weighed kale and talked to 30 | crossroads | spring 2014

customers, Radell Schrock ’01 sold his last winter carrots of the day. He joins up to 70 other vendors to sell produce and crafts at the Farmers Market each Tuesday and Saturday morning, made possible by the Johnsons’ vision 35 years ago. Schrock graduated from EMU with a major in biology and minor in secondary education, then taught at Eastern Mennonite High School for four years. He kept a garden at home, and what began as an idea for a way to make some summer income evolved into a vision of supporting himself with his hands. Schrock, from Wisconsin, hungered to work more with the soil, but wasn’t sure how to make a living in Valley agriculture. “It’s difficult to move to an area and try to sell piece by piece,” he said. Helped by his connections with around 400 students and their families from his

years of teaching, he was able to transition to full-time farming and community supported agriculture. A half-dozen years later, he still sees many of them at the market every week. The Johnsons brought their idea for a farmers market to the Downtown Harrisonburg Retail Merchants in 1978. The following year, they were one of four sets of farmers selling in the Liberty Street parking deck They were the only ones to continue selling at the market site for the whole summer season, but weren’t deterred. “We were young and strong then, and our dreams were driving us,” Margaret said. The Harrisonburg Farmers Market Association was incorporated in 1994. Shortly after, Kris Shank-Zehr ’92 noticed the vendors in the deck on her way to work – a part of downtown she

Margaret Johnson ’69 (above and on facing page) joined her husband, Samuel, as the first farmers to sell their produce downtown for an entire growing season.




Josie Showalter is the current manager of the Farmers Market, which has grown to nearly 70 vendors on Tuesday and Saturday mornings, plus musical performers and much socializing.

hadn’t been aware of while she was a stuLooking back to those first days, they the farm income. Today she teaches at dent. She started buying a few vegetables reflected on why they chose this vocation, Cub Run Elementary School. each week, and then eventually wrote given the admittedly low pay and hard “We had very little money, but we seasonal recipes for the market’s weekly work. both decided we would rather live with newsletter. In college, Samuel was an avid garden- that uncertainty and do what we really In 2006, the market migrated from er and enamored with Chester Wenger’s wanted to do,” she said. In the ’70s and the parking deck to the municipal vineyard – and Wenger’s daughter – but early ’ 80s, emphasis on local, organic lot on South Liberty Street, until the didn’t know what direction to take after food hadn’t made it to Rockingham construction of Turner Pavilion in 2008. graduation. County yet: they needed to be their own Students, visitors and locals pass through “I had been in the Army,” Samuel advocates. the modern-day market to pick up the said: Thailand, during the Vietnam War, Market Manager Josie Showalter says week’s groceries or just socialize. despite having applied for conscientious the Johnsons’ commitment, creativity Part of the market experience is objector status. He struggled with that. and willingness to collaborate with othunplanned conversations while shopping “As I was leaving the Army, I had resolved ers brought their dream to reality. This for items her family will eat that week, that I was going to commit the rest of was despite competition from area superShank-Zehr said, unlike the supermarket my life to peace and not contribute to markets, which are able to buy factorywhere customers tend to get in and get materialism and violence.” farmed items wholesale and undercut out as quickly as possible. Farming, they decided together, would the prices local farmers must charge to The market has become “Harrisonbe their part in “contributing to life” survive. At the Farmers Market, consumburg’s premier social event,” Samuel said, while raising a family. They bought some ers get to meet the people growing their laughing. “There’s a lot of visiting and land in Keezletown in October 1978 and food and talk to them about their pronetworking, people meeting old acquainbuilt a home. Margaret, having finished duction methods, creating community tances and making new ones in between a master’s degree in early childhood eduand fostering everyone’s health. their market transactions.” The Johnsons cation at James Madison in 1975, began  — Samantha Cole ’11 still see customers they served 35 years ago. her own nursery school to supplement | crossroads | 31

32 | crossroads | spring 2014


photo by SAMANTHA COLE Radell Schrock, a 2001 biology major, walks toward some of the 200 or so sheep that he and Mike Zook ’98 own. Schrock also owns Season’s Bounty Farm and CSA, which provides its members with some 30 types of produce during the growing season (also sold at the Farmers Market). Schrock’s parents – Elwood ’66 and Lorene ’69 – have retired to Harrisonburg and help him, along with his sister Ranene Ropp ‘98 and brother-in-law Joseph. | crossroads | 33


’NO’ TO FLOODING PART OF THE VALLEY FOR A DAM IN 1963, the United State Army Corps of Engineers published plans to build 16 large dams along the Potomac River and its tributaries, including one at Brocks Gap on the North Fork of the Shenandoah River, about 15 miles north of Harrisonburg. The Army Corps’ goals were noble enough: to spare Washington D.C. from the destructive flooding that had periodically drowned the National Mall, secure the city’s water supply for decades to come, and create 16 new lakes’ worth of recreational opportunity for the American public. Of course, there were some pesky details to all of this. The 150-foot dam proposed at Brocks Gap would have buried the community of Fulks Run beneath 122,000 acre-feet of water, displacing more than 300 families and inundating, among other things, nearly 4,000 acres of productive farmland, a brand-new elementary school and at least 17 places of businesses. It was, obviously, an upsetting plan to the people of Fulks Run, as was it upsetting to Ernest Gehman, then a professor of German at Eastern Mennonite College and a minister in

34 | crossroads | spring 2014

the Virginia Mennonite Conference. Gehman had come to know and love Fulks Run through the preaching circuit that took him to congregations in the area, and the fact that two Mennonite churches – Hebron and Bethel – were to disappear beneath the many waters of the Brocks Gap Reservoir truly raised his ire. (In all, seven or eight churches in Fulks Run would have been flooded.) “He knew a lot of people who would have been affected by the flooding of the valley,” said James Metzler ’62, Gehman’s son-in-law, who is married to Rachel Gehman Metzler ’54. “He was concerned for the livelihoods, the disruption of congregations, as I recall.” Gehman made his feelings on the matter plain in a May 1963 letter he wrote to Harrisonburg’s Daily News-Record (using language remarkably similar to certain strains of contemporary political discourse): “It is the sort of trampling on human rights that one might expect to find in atheistic Russia, but hardly in our so-called free and so-called Christian America.” The situation in Fulks Run felt dire, recalls

Garnett Turner, the owner of a thenthreatened country store famous for its sugar-cured Turner hams. Turner recalls the officer leading the Army Corps’ plans as being “right emphatic Ernest Gehman that it was going to happen” – the security of the nation’s capital was said to be at stake. Gehman knew the best way to block the Army Corps’ plan was to suggest an alternative; his counter-proposal involved the construction of smaller dams along the entire length of the Shenandoah River. Built every five to 10 miles within the channel of the river (and thus known as “channel dams”), these were to have kept the water no higher than flood stage, essentially turning the Shenandoah into a series of long, narrow lakes. The idea was inspired by channel dams that Gehman had seen in the late ’40s in Germany while completing his doctorate at the University of Heidelberg, and a decade later during a year he spent teaching in Austria under the Fulbright exchange program. The Neckar River, which flows past Heidelberg, was a particular inspiration. Gehman argued that the channel dams would serve the Army Corps’ water supply and flood control goals without destroying the community behind Brocks Gap. He also played up the economic development angle, as the addition of locks at each dam could open the Shenandoah River to commercial navigation.

Like most conservative Mennonites of his era, Gehman frowned on participation in politics and never voted in his life, according to his son John Gehman ’59. That didn’t stop him, though, from diving into the bureaucratic and political fray surrounding the Army Corps’ scheme. (The eldest of Gehman’s five children, and only other one still living, is Huldah Gehman Claude ‘54.) “He was bold,” recalls John, who was in medical school in Richmond while his father took on the Army Corps of Engineers. “He didn’t hesitate to speak up about his thoughts and feelings.” In September 1963, Gehman went to Washington to present a rationale for his channel dam proposal at a public hearing held by the Army’s Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors. (Also there that day was Garnett Turner and nearly 200 others who’d come from Fulks Run in five chartered Greyhound buses to make their displeasure known.) He began writing to the newspapers, local officials, state legislators and Virginia’s Congressional delegation. Responses, ranging from tepid to fairly enthusiastic, came back from Virginia’s two senators at the time – Harry F. Byrd Sr. and Willis Robertson – as well as Governor Albertis Harrison and West Virginia Governor William Barron. Gehman’s greatest ally in Washington, though, soon became Rep. John O. Marsh of Virginia’s 7th District. In one of the many letters the two exchanged over a several-year period, Marsh wrote: “The time you have given to this problem is a most valuable contribution to the public interest.” John Gehman, now a general practice physician who lives in Crewe, Va., remembers that his

father “just kept drumming away at it,” despite a growing sense of frustration when the channel dam plan seemed to be going nowhere. Gehman also struck up correspondence with the German Embassy in Washington, and in the spring of 1964, organized a meeting between high-ranking American officials and a German engineer named Gerhard Krause who was an expert on Germany’s channel dams. With the help of Krause and other contacts in Germany, Gehman then compiled an 18-page brochure that examined the German channel dams in considerable detail and fleshed out his plans for similar dams on the Shenandoah River. In May 1965, the Broadway-Timberville Chamber of Commerce funded the printing of 2,000 copies, which Gehman and his allies began distributing widely. Later that summer, Marsh wrote to request more copies, as the brochure was “attracting considerable interest” in Washington DC. In June, it reached the hands of Lady Bird Johnson – the First Lady of the United States, who wrote in a letter to the Broadway-Timberville Chamber of Commerce: Professor Gehman’s study of channel dams in the Potomac tributaries interests me very much, and I am sending it to Secretary [of the Interior Stewart] Udall so that he and his professional staff can give it full and immediate consideration in their plans. In August, another 1,000 copies of the brochure came off the press, and by year’s end, Gehman had spoken about his idea to around two dozen civic groups in the Valley. (The plan wasn’t without its drawbacks. A state game official wrote that construction of the channel dams would destroy the Shenandoah’s smallmouth bass fishery, considered one of the finest in the country. The Izaak Walton League,

a private wildlife and habitat conservation organization, formally opposed the Gehman plan for the same reason.) By mid-decade, though, significant resistance was mounting to the Army Corps’ original plan for Brocks Gap, which seems to have been quietly pigeonholed. The historical record (and the Army Corps’ own archives) is remarkably silent on the specifics of how, exactly, this transpired, and the details escape the memory even of people like Garnett Turner who fought to save his own home and business. The Army Corps plan was there, until suddenly it wasn’t. Regardless, once plans for the Brocks Gap dam dissolved, Gehman also shelved his channel dam plan that had consumed an enormous amount of his time and energy of over a severalyear period. In 1973, Gehman officially retired from EMU, after teaching for 47 years. Over the next decade or so, he continued to teach a few German classes until his health began to fail him, and in the summer of 1988, he died at the age of 86. The Turner Store is still in the family and still sells its fine Virginia hams. The Fulks Run Elementary School recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. Fertile farmland still covers the valley west of Brocks Gap and surrounds the still-intact Hebron Mennonite Church. And Runions Creek still runs past Bethel Mennonite Church before reaching the North Fork of the Shenandoah, which then flows unencumbered through Brocks Gap and down the Valley towards Washington D.C., as it did since before Ernest Gehman and the Army Corps of Engineers devised competing plans for its future.  — Andrew Jenner ’04

images courtesy of EMU archives

community | crossroads | 35

BICYCLE LIFESTYLE, BICYCLE LIVELIHOOD IT’S BEEN NEARLY FIVE YEARS since Ben Wyse ’99 launched Wyse Cycles, based on a simple, and unprecedented, premise: opening a bike shop with no shop. Instead, Wyse makes house calls and site visits on his own bike, towing a trailer full of tools and spare parts behind him. As far as he knows, Wyse Cycles was the first business in the country to use this “mobile bike shop” model (maybe tied with another one in Chicago that began right about the same time). One of the unforeseen, tricky bits of his unconventional approach was convincing distributors that he was a legitimate businessman, not some biker trying to game the system for parts at wholesale prices. Eventually, though, they came around, and Wyse hit the road to work the bike repair circuit. 36 | crossroads | spring 2014

It’s become a year-round, full-time job. He’s typically out at least once a day on a call. His longest day yet sent him riding 20 miles from job to job, back and forth across Harrisonburg. Take his word for it: it’s a long way to pull a trailer that weighs between 100 and 150 pounds. Wyse Cycles rolls to EMU at least once a week to hold a walk-in bike-repair clinic that’s been getting busier and busier recently. Wyse has taught a bike maintenance and repair class here for the past four years, during which biking has become more of a thing among students. With no shop space to rent, Wyse can keep his overhead, and the prices he charges, low. That also frees him to spend time during his regular workday biking, rather than driving, from job to job, and to take on some low- and non-

paying jobs fixing bikes for people who couldn’t otherwise afford it. “One of the beautiful things about the bicycle is it’s accessible to a wide swath of the public,” says Wyse, who would love to do more to promote biking beyond the somewhat smaller swath of customers with ability to pay him, though this has to be balanced against the economics of supporting his family with three young children. The low financial barrier to entry is just one of the beautiful things about the bicycle and the “bicycle lifestyle,” as he refers to it. His first brush with it all was entirely pragmatic. He bought his first bike because he needed a way to get to a summer job during college. The more he rode, though, the more it made sense. Biking was fun, it was friendly, it was


photo by jon styer

clean and green and healthy, and before long, the bicycle grew into an object that fit squarely into Wyse’s thoughts about (and even theological understandings of ) community, simple living, peace and sustainability. “[Biking] is fundamentally about moving us toward something that’s more whole and healthy for the human community,” he says, sitting in his basement workshop, surrounded by bikes, tools and bucket-after-overflowing bucket of parts gleaned from the bicycle graveyard outside. A fuller realization of that vision for wholeness and health will require more people living the bicycle lifestyle. Wyse chips away at that from his end, applauds the work of others who’ve been active in the community to make it a

better, safer place to bike, and laments the fact that it takes such persistent effort to put better infrastructure in place. “We have a long way to go in terms of convincing the city that spending money on cycling is a good investment,” he says. “Without the citizen [advocacy], the city would be doing nothing.” Many in the area have cheered as the city has garnered recognition in recent years from state and national groups as a good place to bike. Wyse, though, sees these as a bit of a disappointment, in that they overstate the degree to which the city is making the bicycle lifestyle an easier one to live. Then again, frustratingly slow though it can be, change is happening. Go check out the crowded racks at the city’s middle school, he says. There weren’t

Ben Wyse ’99 runs an innovative “mobile bike shop,” where he does repairs at locations convenient to his customers. Wyse has been showing Lucas SchrockHurst ’12 (left) how to do bike repairs.

nearly so many students riding a few years back. Not long ago, Wyse did a simple re-fit for one of his customers, who, as her pregnancy progressed, needed some adjustments to keep comfortably riding beside another child of hers to elementary school. What if, someday, that sort of thing becomes the norm? Wyse asks. It’s where he hopes we’ll end up: a time when riding bikes isn’t special, isn’t niche, isn’t unusual, when kids ride, when old people ride, when it will be entirely nonremarkable to see a pregnant woman riding down the street with a child wobbling along beside her.  — Andrew Jenner ’04 | crossroads | 37

photo by jon styer The League of American Bicyclists made EMU just the third university in the state to win a “bicycle friendly campus” designation.


Gearing up to lead the way IN 2010, a new class made its first appearance in EMU’s course catalog: bicycle maintenance, taught by Ben Wyse ’99. That was the same year that the university cooperated with the City of Harrisonburg to paint bike lanes along Park Road through campus, while Bible and religion professor Peter Dula ’92 helped a group of students found EMU’s bike coop, an outfit that rents, repairs and generally promotes biking to anyone on campus. These and other examples of the growing stature of bikes and biking on EMU’s campus have more recently attracted attention from off-campus groups. In the fall of 2012, the League of American Bicyclists made EMU just the third university in the state to win a “bicycle friendly campus” designation. The following spring, EMU learned that it won the “small university” category of the 38 | crossroads | spring 2014

National Bike Challenge – a contest in which groups earn points based on how far and often participants ride bikes (19 EMU faculty and staff members participated, logging a collective 9,412 miles). EMU’s first bicycle maintenance class was a full-blown, three-credit affair (now scaled down to just one credit) that went well beyond mechanics. “We learned about many complex issues related to cycling and community organizing,” recalls Ben Bailey ’13, now an assistant manager at Rocktown Bicycles, one of several bike shops in Harrisonburg. “We tried to use the coop and the class as a springboard into community advocacy,” says Dula. As a result, a growing number of students began looking beyond campus to become more involved in the active biking scene in and around Harrisonburg, billed as the “bike capital of Virginia” for

the fantastic mountain and road biking opportunities within easy reach of the city. In the past several years, Dula and a number of students have ridden in events like the Shenandoah Mountain 100 – a 100-mile mountain bike race held west of town – and spent many hours volunteering with advocacy groups, trail-building projects and other biking events. “We really love to ride our bikes, not just get other people to ride them,” Dula notes. One of those outside efforts with closest ties to EMU is the development of a new, 2.5-mile walking and biking path, called the Northend Greenway, which will connect campus to downtown Harrisonburg. Planning for the path began in 2010 (building on similar efforts dating back at least a decade), when a small group of concerned citizens, including Lars Åkerson ’08, began talking about how to build a multi-use path, mostly following Blacks Run through the north side of town. “From the beginning, the Northend Greenway wasn’t only about bikes. Bikes brought us together, but the Northend Greenway was an opportunity to develop

community a ‘linear park’ that would not only connect neighborhoods, but connect neighbors,” says Åkerson, who later stepped down from the steering committee when he left town for graduate school. Among the neighborhoods the Greenway will more closely connect is a low-income residential area on the north side of downtown to EMU and to the Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community. Stephen Godshall ’92, another former member of the steering committee, looks forward to the path providing a new opportunity for his and other families to bike with their children. Godshall, a family practice doctor, is also eager to see the greenway provide people with a safe, enjoyable place for exercise.* 1 By 2011, the city had endorsed the idea, and the Greenway’s leadership team redoubled its planning, fundraising and landowner outreach efforts. They * Others from EMU who have had prominent involvement the Greenway include Jakob zumFelde ’11, a former engineering intern, Nicholas DetweilerStoddard ’07, MDiv ’12, its first fundraising and outreach coordinator, SPI associate director Nathan Musselman ’00 and Kevin Burnett ’03, both steering committee members, and numerous representatives of the Greenway’s advisory board.

now expect the path will be open to the public by 2015. In the meantime, Godshall hopes that EMU will begin playing a bigger leadership role in making the Greenway become a reality. “I would challenge EMU to be a little more involved,” he says. “It would be nice to see it take an even more active lead in promoting bicycle infrastructure.” Bikes, say many of those who love them, are fundamentally sources of connection with the outside world and with other people, and in that sense, the more EMU does to encourage and support biking on and around campus, the better, stronger ties it will establish with the wider city. “EMU, like any college, is separated a bit from the local community,” says Bailey, who developed a passion for biking as a student but, at first, “didn’t have connections outside of campus to people who were riding bikes.” During his junior year, a job at a bike shop next to campus opened his eyes to the larger world of biking in Harrisonburg. For years, Bailey says, individual students at EMU like him have found

Bike Advocate, By Accident When she woke up on May 1, 2008, Denise Martin ’08 was one of the many cyclists who “just kind of rode” without giving much thought to the complicated politics of bicycle advocacy. Things changed later that day when, as she just kind of rode through Harrisonburg, Martin’s wheel was yanked sideways by a skewed railroad crossing on South Main Street. It sent her immediately to the pavement, and soon thereafter, to the emergency room to get patched up. After finding out that dozens – by a very conservative estimate – of other bikers had also come to grief at that skewed crossing, plus another one across town, she was propelled into action. “I felt a bit of responsibility. I didn’t want anyone else to get hurt there,” says Martin, who began badgering the city and the railroad to make the crossings safer for bikers. Improving the crossings had long been on local bikers’ wish-list, and Martin’s persistence nudged the city and the railroad (entities that take a while to get around to things) into

their own ways into this wider biking scene; he hopes that the bike coop and class that began on campus when he was a student will help create a stronger institutional connection between EMU and everything else that makes Harrisonburg Virginia’s bicycle capital. (If he called the shots at admissions, he’d be making a much bigger deal about local biking). Because the student body at any college is in constant turnover, another key bit of helping students on bikes more fully enjoy and participate in the life of this bike capital is the support of older, more experienced bikers. When Bailey was a student, Dula and Wyse were very influential in getting him involved beyond campus. Now that he’s graduated and moved on to a job in the biking world they helped him discover, he’d like to do what he can to make that same process even easier for students now and in the future. One of his first steps: returning to campus in the spring of 2014, as Wyse’s co-teacher of the bike maintenance class that played such a heavy influence on Bailey just a few years earlier.  — Andrew Jenner ’04

final motion. Within months, new, paved paths were built to allow bikers to negotiate the train tracks at a much safer angle. That quick return, in terms of tangible improvement, on her first advocacy effort turned Martin into a believer. Now a member of the Rockingham County Bicycle Advisory Committee, she is playing a large advising role in the development of the county’s first-ever plan to incorporate safer bicycle and pedestrian features in local road construction and improvement projects. Working to make her community a better, safer and more enjoyable place to walk or ride a bicycle ties into Martin’s job as a cardiothoracic care nurse at Rockingham Memorial Hospital (she earned her BSN through EMU’s Adult Degree Completion Program). “I see everybody on the backside of chronic disease, and see the toll it’s taken on their bodies,” she says. “If we can make some positive improvements in our community in terms of health and wellness, some of these things can be prevented.” “Advocacy is about getting people to think about the kind of place they want to live,” Martin continues. “I think a lot about our kids, and what kind of community we want to build.”  — Andrew Jenner ’04 | crossroads | 39


Helping inmates live outside walls THE TWISTING CORRIDORS and ad-hoc floor plan suggest a history of repeated additions and expansions to the Gemeinschaft Home, which once again is bursting at the seams. In late 2013, a closet-building campaign was launched to ensure the growing number of residents of the home – which helps former inmates find work and provides various therapeutic services as they transition to life outside prison – had a place for personal storage, says executive director Sharon Glick. On Mount Clinton Pike, just over the hill from EMU, the Gemeinschaft Home receives funding for 25 residents through the Virginia Department of Corrections’ Community Residential Program. Some residents who complete that 90-day, state-funded program 40 | crossroads | spring 2014

remain for a longer period, paying their own way by working jobs they’ve landed through Gemeinschaft, often in the local construction, manufacturing or poultry industries. About 40 residents are now crammed into the home, with a long list waiting for a spot as soon as one opens. In the fall of 2013, Gemeinschaft (“Guh-MINEshaft,” the German word for “community”) was booking places up to eight months in advance. “We constantly get calls from people who want to return,” adds program director Kirk Saunders, who oversees the therapeutic programs all residents are required to participate in – and to which, according to several people familiar with the home, the program owes much of its success.

In terms of hard statistics, a study in the early 2000s by the Department of Corrections and James Madison University found that ex-inmates who completed a stay at Gemeinschaft were significantly less likely to be re-arrested, convicted or incarcerated than offenders who completed therapeutic pre-release programs in prison.1 Saunders conducted a less statistically rigorous assessment in 2012, when he reexamined the files of 85 residents, chosen at random, who had been discharged within the previous three to five years. Of this group, he says, only a half-dozen or so had ended up 1 One statistic from the study: 13.7% of ex-inmates who entered Gemeinschaft between July 2000 and June 2002 were recommitted to prison by 2004, compared to 23% of ex-inmates released over the same period who did not enter any kind of therapeutic program.


photo by jon styer Gemeinschaft started in a home previously owned by Barry Hart, MDiv ’79, professor of trauma, conflict and identity studies at EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding.

back in jail. that work on a completely informal basis. According to Lisa Kinney, a spokesWhile everyone worked various jobs durperson for the department of corrections, ing the day, residents made it a goal to end. Maybe a group could buy the house, programs like Gemeinschaft benefit the share a meal together every night. form a board, give a little more instituentire state by not releasing offenders “It was about equality and respect and tional structure, support and sustainabilinto communities where they may be honoring each other’s dignity,” says Hart. ity to the idea? homeless, by reducing the likelihood that Six years into the experiment, it was Strite, whose philanthropy eventually they’ll directly return to their pre-inbecoming increasingly difficult to make earned him a conference area named carceration social environments, and by ends meet. Although local probation offi- “Strite” at EMU, agreed to contribute a giving them a chance to establish some cers had caught on to the operation, and down payment and Hart dashed out to financial security as they transition back were sending residents supported by state the front lawn to cut the auction short to normal life. per-diems, Hart had become the only before the house itself was sold. The Before the often-added-to house had “core” member (i.e., non-transitioning place was soon reborn as The Gemeinanything to do with corrections, or had ex-offender) of the house, making it hard schaft Home, 501(c)3.2 been added to quite as much, it was to maintain any kind of stable comThere’ve been other ups and downs in home to a group of EMU students who munity. After finding himself unable to the nearly 30 years since, but the trajeclived there in an intentional community recruit others to join him in the venture tory of late has been strong. Saunders called Gemeinschaft. One of the student – due, at least in part, he thinks, to the would be glad if they got funding for residents from that era was Barry Hart, intentional community ideal entering a even more residents from the state, at MDiv ’79, now a professor of trauma, cultural tailspin in the mid-’80s – Hart which point they’d probably have to conflict and identity studies at EMU’s put the house and everything in it up for tack yet another wing onto the sprawlCenter for Justice and Peacebuilding. auction in 1985. ing structure that’s become something After finishing his seminary degree, Hart As the auctioneer stood on the front few would have imagined when a group bought the house with two others with lawn selling off the furniture, Hart of EMU students living in the original the intention of founding an intentional and a group of supporters, including house first began calling the place GeChristian community that welcomed long-time sociology professor Titus meinschaft.  — Andrew Jenner ’04 ex-offenders. Bender ’57 and Lewis Strite gathered in Hart and the other co-founders had all a back room talking about the good run 2 Current members of its board of directors with direct ties to EMU are James Good ’61, Ruth Stoltzfus Jost been involved in prison ministry, and at Gemeinschaft had had. Right then and ’71, Sam Showalter ’65, Harvey Yoder ’57, and Carl first, opened their home to three or four there, Hart recalls, they were struck by a Stauffer ’85, MA ’02 (conflict transformation), assispeople they’d gotten to know through collective realization that it just couldn’t tant professor of justice and development studies. | crossroads | 41

Periodically, EMU students participate in work days at Our Community Place, as shown here.


From The Little Grill to Our Community Place LET’S BEGIN IN 1992, when the Free Food For All Soup Kitchen opened to the world, every Monday at noon, at The Little Grill restaurant in downtown Harrisonburg. Ron Copeland, the restaurant’s owner, drew inspiration for the soup kitchen from a number of different sources, including his Christian upbringing and political views shaped by his “rabid Democrat,” FDR-idolizing mother. The model for the meals themselves was borrowed from the countercultural Rainbow Gatherings movement, in which people calling themselves the Rainbow Family would meet in national forests across the country to collectively not participate in Babylon, as they called the mainstream. 42 | crossroads | spring 2014

During these gatherings, the Rainbow Family shared open-to-all meals cooked in communal kitchens (a “magic hat” was sometimes passed to fund supply runs to Babylon). “These meals reminded me more of what I thought meals in the Kingdom of God would be like than anything I had seen in any church,” remembers Copeland, who founded the soup kitchen at The Little Grill as a way to create a welcoming community in a poor part of town. Some years went by, and Copeland began thinking about turning the weekly equal-opportunity meal into something that more people could enjoy more often. A group was convened to discuss possi-

bilities. Thought was given to the matter. Opportunities were explored. And in 1999 Our Community Place (OCP) was incorporated as a nonprofit to formally pursue a vision of Copeland and others to apply the ideas behind the Free for All Soup Kitchen in a bigger way, to raise up true community in a neighborhood where many lives were disrupted by the chaos of poverty, addiction or violence. In 2001, OCP bought a decaying building on Main Street, just down the block from The Little Grill, and launched what became an eight-year (!) campaign to convert the badly neglected space into a healthy and whole community center. Around this same time, Copeland was beginning a new chapter

in his own life. Having years before made a clean break with Christianity after growing up in the Pentecostal church, Copeland “returned to faith” in 1997, and, in the early days of the OCP building rehabilitation, decided to go to seminary. Life takes unexpected turns; when he bought The Little Grill (also in 1992), Copeland held only a vague notion of EMU as some entity up in Park View. Yet here he was, a decade later, selling his restaurant – to a group of worker-owners under a cooperative model Copeland and a group of employees designed together – and enrolling at Eastern Mennonite Seminary. There, Copeland began as something of a provocateur. Though he was back on the faith wagon, he mostly regarded church as a too-comfortable social club, and thought a true expression of Christianity meant working with the poor – opinions he was not hesitant to share with his classmates. Copeland, who graduated in 2006 credits one of his theology professors, Mark Thiessen Nation, for softening some of the sharp edges he brought to seminary. “Mark taught me that church isn’t just about the poor,” says Copeland, who came to understand church as a broader range of things: worship, love between believers, etc. He also decided that his work needed to be Christ-centered if it was to thrive, and in 2008, OCP decided to identify itself as an explicitly Christian organization. Today, OCP is open for several hours around three noon meals per week. It hosts a weekly work session on Tuesday mornings ­– several hours of property maintenance and upkeep – and on Thursday evenings, sponsors some sort of evening program: movies, game night, speakers, music. (These hours are now considerably reduced from what they were originally – a new approach taken after a burnt-out Copeland suffered a near-nervous breakdown and began a recovery from workaholism in 2011.) “OCP is a community center where everyone in the world is welcome,” says Copeland, its program director. “We’re trying to do something that’s a little bit rare, which is to have a community where people really are respected, and

photos by jon styer


Alice Wheeler, who studied social work at EMU 2008-10, works part-time at The Little Grill while pursuing her dream of being a certified midwife. Here she sits at a table created out of reclaimed wood by Kurt Rosenberger, a 2006 art major who operates Grey Fox Design Works.

then asked to step up and participate in the creation of that community without being patronized, without having an ‘us and them’ mentality.” In keeping with the founding spirit of the soup kitchen, everyone in the OCP community is afforded equal dignity, respect and responsibility in group decision-making, regardless of whatever status they may be assigned in Babylon. It’s hard, slow work at times. An inherent tension exists between the ideal of pure, egalitarian community and the reality that everyone falls short in some way, at some time. It requires mercy, patience and the willingness to “all make mistakes in front of each other,” says Copeland, who tries to practice “reckless forgiveness

and extravagant love” as he goes about the work of building community. (He is also an ordained pastor in the Virginia Mennonite Conference; his congregation, The Early Church, meets for worship in the OCP building.) At seminary, Copeland’s horizons expanded and his ideas about the church – what it is and what it does – were broadened. He hopes he might return the favor, that the work of OCP might broaden the church’s understanding of mission and outreach, that it might inspire other efforts to reveal the Kingdom through more reckless displays of forgiveness and extravagant acts of love toward the most rejected, marginalized people in Harrisonburg.  — Andrew Jenner ’04 | crossroads | 43

image courtesy of EMU archives

In this 1983 photo, William T. Snyder (left) presents John R. Mumaw with a certificate acknowledging Mumaw’s efforts on behalf of people with intellectual disabilities. This occurred at the annual meeting of Mennonite Central Committee.

Former President Mumaw ‘Father’ of Pleasant View IN THE LATE 1960s, not long after John R. Mumaw had completed nearly two decades as EMU’s fourth president (1948-1965), he began to devote more attention to his concern for people with intellectual disabilities. This had been close to his heart since his great-nephew, Chester, was born with Down syndrome. Then moderator of the Virginia Mennonite Conference, Mumaw convened a committee to explore alternatives to institutionalization at places like the Lynchburg State Colony, standard practice at that time for families who were unable to support a member with an intellectual disability. This work culminated in 1971, when six adults with intellectual disabilities moved to Pleasant View, a house the conference purchased between Broadway and Timberville, where they received care and support from the Miller family living with them. Mumaw has been regarded ever since as Pleasant View’s “founding father,” according to its executive director, Nancy Hopkins-Garriss. (Providing non-institutional, home-like care to people in the community was also an emphasis of Mumaw’s some years later when he led a strategic planning process for the Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community. Long-time EMU administrator Beryl Brubaker joined the board right after she arrived to teach nursing at EMC in the summer of 1970. She served on the board until 1992 in various roles as secretary, vice president and chair of the

44 | crossroads | spring 2014

Strategic Development Committee.) Today, Pleasant View offers numerous programs at 11 locations, including nine group homes, a nursing facility for residents with certain medical needs, in-home care, day support services and employment programs to help the people it serves find jobs or volunteer opportunities. It serves more than 100 people in its residential programs and about 125 in various day support programs, and employs around 200 people, including Dave Gullman, a 1991 seminary student, its pastor, and Heather Newland Corbin ’98, director of social services. The organization also serves as a resource for family members of an adult with an intellectual disability, helping them to navigate the complicated social services and disability systems, said Hopkins-Garriss. More than half of the current members of Pleasant View’s board of directors are EMU alumni or staff, including Dave Yutzy ’82, Donnie Dillon ’11, Ann Yoder, class of ’61, Maynard Weaver, class of ’75, Elroy Miller, director of EMU’s department of applied social sciences, and EMU associate professor of organizational studies David Brubaker. Hopkins-Garris said that creating meaningful roles close to home for adults with intellectual disabilities enriches the entire community in both practical ways – those in Pleasant View’s programs serve countless volunteer hours with local organizations, for example – and philosophical ones. “One of the big gifts our people give us is [helping us] recognize our own weaknesses and strengths, and that’s lost for the whole community when people [with disabilities] are sent away from home,” she said.  — Andrew Jenner ’04

photo by jon styer


Among the Collins Center’s trained forensic interviewers are three EMU graduates – family advocate Rhoda Miller ’03, Ana Arias ’99, a counselor and associate director of the Collins Center, and director Angie Strite ’02

Collins Center: In Support Of Abused Children THE WAY THINGS USED TO WORK HERE went something like this: A child might mention something suggesting sexual abuse to a parent or a teacher. The child might be asked to talk about it with their guidance counselor, and then a social worker. A police officer would come ask questions about what happened. An investigator – yet another strange adult – might come, ask the same questions all over again. The prosecutor would conduct yet another interview as he or she prepared the case and, perhaps, the young victim would be called to the witness stand, face to face with their abuser, to testify. Sometimes this worked, but the process had its drawbacks. Chief among these was potential re-victimization of children who were repeatedly asked to recount traumatic stories as they were shuffled through a system that wasn’t developed with their developmental and therapeutic needs in mind. In 2008, Harrisonburg’s Collins Center – a sexual abuse and assault prevention and response organization in the community – created its Child Advocacy Center (CAC) to better support victims and their families during the investigation and prosecution of child sexual abuse. One of the CAC’s important techniques is the forensic interview, conducted by a trained interviewer who helps a child talk about their sexual abuse. Police, prosecutors and child protective workers monitor the interviews by video in another room; they can suggest questions through an earpiece worn by the forensic interviewer. The result is a streamlined process that helps prosecutors build their cases but emphasizes the well-being of the victim throughout. (Because recordings of the forensic

interviews aren’t admissible as evidence at trial, victims are sometimes still called to testify in court; when this happens, the CAC also provides specialized preparation beforehand.) Among the Collins Center’s trained forensic interviewers are three EMU graduates – CAC director Angie Strite ’02, family advocate Rhoda Miller ’03, and Ana Arias ’99, a counselor and associate director of the Collins Center. Conducting these interviews with children, they say, can mean going through our community’s darkest corners. The larger statistical picture is exceedingly grim: estimates vary considerably, but up to 25% of all children – and up to one in three girls – may be sexually abused at some point. Assuming that holds true locally, well over 6,000 children younger than 18 in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County are victims of sexual abuse, meaning the 152 cases handled by the CAC last year hardly scratch the surface. Focusing on the specifics of a particular case is one way to keep from losing hope, says Miller; Strite adds that working on the center’s prevention programs provides some uplift (all three have responsibilities at the center beyond conducting forensic interviews). Then there’s the simple resilience they encounter in children. In their line of work, they see a lot of awful stuff, says Arias. But they “also see the miracles.” Today, the CAC works with a multi-disciplinary team, including law enforcement, prosecutors, social services and medical providers, to keep tabs on every child sexual abuse case that’s moving through local courts. Clark Ritchie, a deputy commonwealth’s attorney who prosecutes cases of child sexual assault and abuse, notes that the center’s long-term treatment programs for child victims provide an important service to the community. “Being a victim doesn’t stop after the case is over,” says Ritchie. “The Collins Center is one of the few entities that exists in this community that will be with the victim long after I’m out of the picture.”  — Andrew Jenner ’04 | crossroads | 45

GOES AROUND, COMES AROUND: EMU & VMRC IN THE FIRST DECADES of the 20th century, simultaneous efforts arose with the Virginia Mennonite Conference to establish institutions that might sit like bookends at either end of our lives: a school and home for the elderly. The first bit came together relatively quickly, with the school we now know as EMU admitting its first students in 1917. Progress was considerably slower on the retirement home, though, and it was not for another 37 years – long enough for EMU’s first rosy-cheeked students to go gray themselves – that the Virginia Mennonite Home (VMH) opened on the far side of Park Woods in 1954. Giving EMU a few decades to get its programs up and running was handy in the sense that the new home had a local talent pool to draw from. Dr. Merle Eshleman ’29 split his time as a physician between VMH, EMU and a nearby private practice, while Elizabeth Showalter Martin ’30 was one of the 46 | crossroads | spring 2014

first nurses on its staff. A public address system in the original brick building (since torn down) piped programs from the college out to the residents. A full accounting of the tangled, back-and-forth relationship between EMU and VMRC in those early days would fill books. When VMH opened, it was the first modern retirement home in the area. With that accomplished, its leaders soon began thinking about ways to keep ahead of the curve. To this end, in 1974 the board of directors asked John R. Mumaw – EMU’s president from 1948 to 1965 – to lead a strategic planning study. Mumaw’s approach was thorough, lasting more than three years, and included tours of other retirement homes as far away as Denmark. One of the major recommendations in the resulting report was finding ways to make life at VMH seem as normal and non-hospital-like as possible (it is not coincidental that the Virginia Menno-

nite Home became the cozier-sounding Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community, or VMRC, in 1978). Realizing that vision for familiar, comfortable care has been a process in the gradual making ever since. It took a major step forward in the spring of 2013, when VMRC opened Virginia’s first Green House® homes, based on a model pioneered in 2003 in Mississippi as a way to care for residents in a setting as home-like as possible. In each of these three new homes, together known as VMRC’s Woodland Park community, about 10 people live together, sharing their meals, their time and, as they are able, their chores, with each other and staff who provide round-the-clock, full nursing care. Another need highlighted in Mumaw’s report was for affordable housing for the elderly. Within a few years, VMRC broke ground on Heritage Haven, with substantial funding from the U.S.


photos by jon styer These current alumni working at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community are standing on the shoulders of the EMU-linked persons who founded it in 1954 as the first modern retirement home in the area. From left: Mike Piper ’95; Diane Weaver ’91, MBA ’09; Marv Nisly ’68; Regina Schweitzer ’78, MBA ’07; Judith Trumbo ’82; Shawn Printz, MBA ’04; Les Helmuth ’78.

Department of Housing and Urban since the beginning. This is indicative Development. Completed in 1981, it reof VMRC’s long-standing intention to mains the area’s only federally subsidized serve the entire community, according housing in a retirement community. to president and CEO Judith Reitz Today, around 730 people live at Trumbo ’82. VMRC, making it the largest of the Indoor walkways run between most of three major retirement communities in the biggest buildings, including a central Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. “Main Street” corridor where one can eat Think about the math for a second (the at the café, transact at the bank, go to combined city-county population is a doctor’s appointment (the physician’s in excess of 125,000 people) and the office at VMRC, a partnership with the following fact isn’t nearly as surprising Harrisonburg Community Health Cenas it might first sound: only 10 percent ter is unique to local retirement homes), of adults in this country ever move to tinker in the woodshop and shop at the a retirement community. With an eye canteen – commuting by indoor taxi if toward future growth and continuing to walking isn’t an option. meet the needs of the aging, serving the “I enjoy that part – that everyone’s con90 percent who won’t ever actually move nected,” said Shawn Printz, MBA ’04, to VMRC is something the organization vice-president for support services at the “really has a mission for,” said Regina retirement community. Schweitzer ’78, MBA ’06, vice-president Connections. A full accounting of for residential living.*1 today’s tangled, back-and-forth relationOf note, only a third of VMRC resiship between EMU and VMRC would dents are from a Mennonite background, fill even more books. Park Woods is a a ratio that’s more or less held constant melting pot, a perfect place for a stroll, with paths leading to VMRC on two * First Choice Home Health, a home healthcare sides and openings toward EMU properbusiness that VMRC co-owns with the Church of ties on the other two sides. The Wellness the Brethren-affiliated Bridgewater Retirement Community, is one way VMRC has been serving this Center at VMRC gets heavy use from mission to the area’s 90-percenters. EMU faculty and staff. The EMU cafete-

ria represents a nearby dining destination for people who live at VMRC, who also turn out by the busload for basketball games in Yoder Arena. A steady stream of student interns and volunteers flows from the college to the retirement home. A steady stream of people flows, over a longer timescale of human life and aging, from employment at EMU to retirement at VMRC, a stone’s throw to the north. Alumni who work at VMRC regularly rub shoulders with professors who taught them years or decades earlier. Home runs from EMU’s baseball field rain down toward the backside of Park Place (damages caused but rarely), the building just beyond the left field wall. There was once an old gentleman from VMRC who made it his habit to collect these balls, and when he died, the family passed along the box full of baseballs they found in his apartment to Les Helmuth ’78, executive director of the VMRC Foundation. Well aware of EMU’s budget-conscious approach to extracurriculars, and life in general, Helmuth delivered the box back to the athletics department. Things between them go around, come around.  — Andrew Jenner ’04 | crossroads | 47

photo by jon styer In January 2014, the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce named Devon C. Anders ’88 as its Business Person of the Year. Anders is president of InterChange Group Inc., which provides storage, transport, logistics and land-development services to companies operating throughout the East Coast.

THE BEST AT BUSINESS WHEN DEVON C. ANDERS ’88 was finishing his bachelor’s degree at EMU and heading into a career as a certified public accountant with a well-established firm, he probably would have looked bemused, or at least quizzical, if anyone had suggested that one day he would be named Business Person of the Year by the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce, as he was in January 2014. Running businesses that employ 100240 people is not the usual career path for accountants, most of whom tend not be to entrepreneurial risk-takers. But soft-spoken, low-key Anders fits 48 | crossroads | spring 2014

no stereotypes, except for one – true to his Mennonite upbringing and church affiliation, he doesn’t flaunt his success. All things considered, he lives simply. Married for 25 years to Teresa (class of ’85), he, Teresa and their three children have lived in the same decent-sized, but not mansion-sized, house near Mt. Clinton since 2001. He drives a Toyota pickup with 85,000 miles on it. The transition from engaging in audits to running a business happened toward the end of Anders’ seventh year as an accountant at PBGH, one of the three companies that became PBMares, the

largest CPA firm in Virginia. A pair of his clients – Jerry Morris and Wayne Ruck, owners of Packaging Services Inc. – asked if he would join their management team as their in-house accountant. Soon after Anders joined the team in 1993, Packaging Services started a warehousing division. This has grown to be the core of several intersecting businesses that Anders now oversees, minus the original Packaging Services, which was sold in 2000. photo by jon styer Today Anders is the president of InterChange Group Inc., which provides storage, transport, logistics and

land-development services from its base on the southern edge of Harrisonburg, right beside I-81, to companies operating throughout the East Coast. InterChange has about 100 employees. In addition, Anders is on the executive management team of Classic Distribution (doing business as River Run Cabinetry), which has about 50 employees, and of A & J Excavating, which has about 90 on its payroll. Given his background as a CPA, Anders remained the de facto controller of InterChange, as he gradually hired managers in operations, sales, and transportation to meet operational needs. Finally the day came – it was Nov. 1, 2005, to be exact – when he brought in Kevin Longenecker ’91 to manage the company’s finances. (Longenecker had been EMU’s controller and director of finance for the previous seven years.) Anders was raised in Souderton, Pa., the son of a banker, whose other son has developmental disabilities. Familiar with his brother’s needs for familial and community support, Anders has found ways of partnering with Friendship Industries, a Harrisonburg nonprofit employing persons with disabilities and other barriers to employment. Several years ago, after about five years on Friendship’s board, Anders arranged for InterChange to work collaboratively with Friendship Industries, using Friendship personnel to do food repackaging for InterChange clients. “I believe if you’re successful, you need to help those around you,” says Anders. “I don’t wake up in the morning thinking of my next deal or bigger bonuses. I wake up thinking about ways to sustain our workforce – I wake up aware of many mouths to feed. ‘How do we make this work?’ That’s what’s on my mind.” His parents and his Mennonite heritage inculcated a strong work ethic in him – “perhaps too strong,” he says with a smile. Anders appreciates having the same underlying ethical values as his business partners, along with an interest in keeping InterChange privately held – all of which permits Anders and his management team to take the longer view

Photo by Housden Photography, courtesy of Chamber of Commerce


President Loren Swartzendruber was on hand to congratulate Devon Anders at the Chamber of Commerce ceremony recognizing his work and that of others, including a farm operation run by the family of Sheri Petersheim Rhodes ’88.

in building their business, absent the pressure to deliver quarterly performance on the stock market. One of their ventures is developing small office parks around Harrisonburg, such as the one that houses Harrisonburg Pediatrics on Route 33 in McGaheysville. Anders adopted Harrisonburg as his hometown in the late 1980s after heading south from Pennsylvania to enroll in what was then Eastern Mennonite College, where he says Del Snyder and Ron Stoltzfus gave him a solid foundation in accounting. Anders satisfied his crosscultural requirement by spending nine weeks in China with the first group that EMU sent to that country. “I was excited about it – it changed my world perspective,” he says. It also did something that he could not have foreseen then: it enabled him to feel comfortable about venturing back to China as a businessman in 2009, and to

return every year since then, as he considers deals involving the importation of cabinetry and other products. His most recent trip to Asia, in November 2013, lasted for 16 days, with stops in China, South Korea, Indonesia and Vietnam. His biggest challenge? “Anticipating the market.” Anders was not the only alumnus in the spotlight at the annual award ceremony held by the HarrisonburgRockingham Chamber of Commerce on Jan. 9. The Farm Family Stewardship Award went to Riverhill Farms of Port Republic, owned by the Rodes family. Glenn Rodes, featured in a short film on the farm, is married to Sheri Petersheim Rodes ’88, who majored in early education. Their family raises 270,000 turkeys annually, operates a 150-cow dairy, and cultivates 600 acres, using conservation practices designed to protect the adjoining Shenandoah River.  — Bonnie Price Lofton, MA ’04 | crossroads | 49

InterChange Inc. president Devon Anders ’88 is flanked by some of the other alumni employed at his company: Ed Bollinger ’91; Matt Swartley ’08; Kevin Longenecker ’91; Chris Thompson ’91; Devon Anders ’88; Jeremy Byler ’99, MDiv ’06; Kaori Umemoto ’10; Keith VanBenschoten ’88; D. Jean Allen, class of 2002.

IN BUSINESS NEAR THEIR ALMA MATER About 250 alumni in the City of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County work as entrepreneurs or are otherwise engaged in business and independent professional activities. Crossroads attempted to identify local businesses that are owned by alumni or have top managers who are alumni. Here is the resulting list of 88 businesses (feel free to email corrections or additions to, and these will be printed in a subsequent issue):

50 | crossroads | spring 2014

photo by jon styer


Engdawork Arefaine, who majored in management and organizational development as a mature student at EMU in 1999, owns the Blue Nile. In additon to being the only restaurant in Harrisonburg serving Ethiopian food, the Blue Nile is a popular local venue for musical performers.




Quality used cars and trucks.

General contract construction.



Home inspections, home energyefficiency audits, radon testing, technical advice for Earthcraft & Energy Star.

Globally-inspired cuisine using local, fresh and all-natural ingredients.

Comprehensive mechanical contracting company.




Virginia custom green home builder.


Designs and installs lighting, electrical wiring and lighting control systems for homes, churches and businesses.

Complete lifetime bench systems designed specifically for gardeners.



Ethiopian cuisine, live music, gallery.


Floor-covering sales and installation in Harrisonburg.

Architectural design, master planning, preservation and sustainable design.



Food services, facilities management, uniform and career apparel.

Motorcycles, ATVs and other recreational vehicles, parts.



Meat, poultry, seafood and vegetable stocks and bases.

AUDREY ZIEGLER INC. Interior decorators, design and consultants.

BB&T INSURANCE SERVICES Business insurance, risk management, employee benefits.

Multimedia production, content creation for web, radio, television, and the corporate and church environment.

Direct-store-delivery distributor of inspirational, wholesome and familyoriented reading materials.

CLARK & BRADSHAW, PC General practice law firm.

COLDWELL BANKER/ FUNKHOUSER REALTORS Lists and sells homes, farms, lots, acreage, commercial property.

CONMAT GROUP INC. Ready-mix concrete manufacturer.

CORNERSTONE FOUNDATIONS CFA-certified concrete contractor.

DESIGN CONCRETE BUILDERS INC. Concrete solutions, decorative concrete enhancements to sidewalks, patios, driveways.



Fabrication and general machine shop.

Intelligence, surveillance and recognizance, airborne data acquisition, fire management, aerial application. | crossroads | 51

E & M AUTO PAINT & SUPPLY CORP. Family-owned, professional service, refinishing, reconditioning, training.

JENZABAR Higher education administrative and academic software solutions.


PARTNERS EXCAVATING COMPANY Total site preparation, installation of underground utilities and asphalt paving.

Special trade contractors.


KREIDER MACHINE SHOP* Hardware and tools service.

Worldwide stock photography of people, places and nature, photography management software systems.

Financial management, insurance and banking services.


Masonry, concrete contractor.


Heating, cooling and indoor air quality products, with prompt and professional customer service.


EUGENE STOLTZFUS ARCHITECTS Architecture, urban design, furniture design.


Full-service heating and cooling, custom metal fabrication.



Produces a variety of vegetables, eggs, laying chickens and small fruits for CSA and a farmers market.

Home, auto, commercial, health and life insurance, flexible benefits administration, financial services.




Residential and commercial property rental management firm.

RAYMONT ENTERPRISES Real estate sales and management.

RIVERHILL FARMS Turkey production, dairy operation, 600 acres under cultivation.

Portrait photographer, offers canvas printing, custom framing.

General contractors, single-family homes.




Certified public accountants.

Small repairs and power washings.

Comprehensive financial planning, integrated wealth and investment management.

GRASS ROOTS LANDSCAPING Lawn care, landscape maintenance, landscape materials.

GRAZELAND DAIRY Dairy cattle operation.




Installs mechanical systems in residential, commercial and educational buildings.

Concrete mix designs, computer batched for consistency, free technical service.



Excavation and wrecking.

Bikes, service, racing, accessories.



Income tax preparation, IRS and state audit representation, payroll reporting, business startup services, bookkeeping and financial statements.

Card shop, bookstore, gift shop.

SAM’S CONSTRUCTION General contractor, roofing, handyman services.

Green steam cleaning carpet and upholstery.



Grading, excavation, utilities and concrete work.




Builds tables and furniture using reclaimed and locally-milled lumber.

HARMAN CONSTRUCTION INC.* Creative building solutions through design, building systems and construction management.

HARRISONBURG NISSAN New inventory, pre-owned, finance, parts, service.

HICKORY HILL FARM Blueberries, grapes, vegetables and more.

HORIZON ACCOUNTANTS Tax preparation, financial statements and audits.

INTERCHANGE GROUP INC.* Warehousing, logistics and land development services. 52 | crossroads | spring 2014

Custom home builder.

NEXT LEVEL ATHLETIC DEVELOPMENT LLC Sports performance and personal training, indoor turf facility.


Drywall and insulation contractor.

Produces vegetables and melons without using pesticides.

SHANK’S BAKERY Freshly baked breads, pies, cookies, muffins, pastries, also a coffee shop.

Energy efficient, seamless roofing systems for flat and low sloped roofs.




Corrugated and solid fiber boxes.

PARK VIEW FEDERAL CREDIT UNION Loans, checking, savings and investments.

Fresh herbs, supplying the retail grocer.

Auto, homeowners, life and business insurance, retirement, personal property and liability.

SILVER LAKE MILL Store, quality Shenandoah Valley-made items, calendars, children’s books, artwork.


Daryl Myers ’84 (second from left) is co-owner with Dave Smucker (a graduate of Goshen College) of VistaShare, which provides online client management systems to nonprofit organizations in the United States and Canada. For this impromptu photo at the building owned by VistaShare on Mt. Clinton Pike, 1 1/2 miles east of EMU, Myers was joined by six alumni-employees (from left): Aaron Springer ’13, Daryl Myers ’84, Matt Trost ’98, Tim Shoemaker ’03, Sam Kauffman ’12, Patrick Ressler ’09, Chris Kratz ’95.

SONSHINE COIN LAUNDRY Self-service and custom-service laundry, dry cleaning, and other amenities.

SPECIAL FLEET SERVICE Equipment/services for railroads, public utilities, electric coops, transportation companies, line construction companies and general contractors.


TRISSEL EQUIPMENT SALES; ALSO TRISSEL FARMS INC. Dealer for new short line farm equipmentretail sales; farm is 150-cow dairy.


Real estate lawyer.

WHARTON ALDHIZER & WEAVER PLC* Full-service law firm.

Heavy and medium duty truck dealer for Kenworth, Volvo, Isuzu and Hino trucks.



Produces several varieties of lavender and offer “U-Pick” for the flower buds during the summer and fall bloom seasons.

Custom home builder and remodeler.

Oldest electrical contractor in western Virginia, a pioneer of design and build construction.



Picture framing, ready-made frames, mirrors, original and reproduction artwork, posters.

Licensed and bonded freight shipping and trucking.



YODER CONSTRUCTION INC. Custom building for new and existing homes, super-insulated homes, earth sheltered, straw bale construction, passive solar and post and beam homes.



Bathroom remodeling.

Custom stained glass artwork.

Ecologically-based design and build landscape company.



Online client management systems for nonprofit organizations in U.S. and Canada.

Corporate and institutional phone systems, voice over IP, network cabling, sales and support.

WEAVER IRRIGATION AND LIGHTSCAPES Irrigation and lighting installation, water irrigation systems, low voltage LED lightscapes.

*Member of EMU’s Business and Professional Club, supporters of the University Fund. This fund enables EMU to offer financial aid to students who want the type and quality of education we offer, as well as to hire and retain topnotch, committed faculty. | crossroads | 53

Alicia Horst ’01, MDiv ’06, executive director of Newbridges Immigrant Resource Center chats with Les Helmuth ’78, chairman of its board of directors.

NewBridges MEETING THE NEEDS OF RESIDENTS FROM FOREIGN LANDS Consider a few statistics: In 1990, just 2.4% of Harrisonburg’s population was foreign born. That figure rose substantially over the following decade to 9.2%, and now sits, per the latest Census Bureau estimate, at 14.1%. Or, to put that in more real-to-life terms, there are now more than 7,000 immigrants living in Harrisonburg – plus another 3,500 or so in Rockingham County – many of whom face substantial cultural and linguistic barriers to accomplishing some of life’s basics, like setting up bank accounts or scheduling doctor’s appointments. In response, a group of local Mennonite churches formed NewBridges Immigrant Resource Center in 2000 to serve as a one-stop shop for information and assistance as new arrivals set up their lives, says executive director Alicia Horst ’01, MDiv ’06. At any particular time, many requests for assistance made to NewBridges also revolve around whatever’s current in the world of immigration policy. In the fall of 2012, for example, the organization assisted many young, undocumented immigrants applying for work authorization under a program created that summer by executive order. Funded with the combined support of private donors, congregations, the United Way and the City of Harrisonburg,

54 | crossroads | spring 2014

NewBridges has two full-time employees, Horst and Jaime Miller ‘01, who work out of an office in the basement of Community Mennonite Church. They now directly serve around 500 clients per year, and about 1,200 through events in the community. In the coming years, the organization hopes to meet more general emotional needs of those new to the area and country, says Horst. “When people move here, they can be incredibly lonely,” says Horst, who helped start a small sewing group for a handful of clients as an initial attempt at providing broader social support to immigrants. A related future goal, adds Les Helmuth ’78, chairman of the board of directors, is to offer some sort of community space where people “could come together and relax without having any agenda.” Another item on the future wish-list is adding an attorney to the NewBridges staff, to help the many clients with legal needs. In the meantime, NewBridges has also become a resource for other agencies and professionals in the community, such as public schools staff and therapists who stumble across immigration-related issues they’re not well prepared to handle themselves. Horst notes that EMU has been supportive of the organization in a number of ways, such as offering space for NewBridges to host a visit to town by Mexican consulate staff and by admitting undocumented students.  — Andrew Jenner ’04


Ann Yoder, class of 1961, has tapped her real-estate career experience to locate housing for the single mothers and their children assisted by Bridge of Hope HarrisonburgRockingham. For those families, “housing comes first,” said Yoder, one of several alumni who have served on the program’s board. “Then, the heart of the program is surrounding a single mother who is at risk of being homeless with a support group of mentors.” To Kathryn Fairfield ’70, her Bridge of Hope board service and fundraising mean applying her faith to helping children: “I’m a lawyer and mediator, and my career has really given me a heart for the children.” She’s seen the difference a home and stable family income make toward a child’s future. The program provides a single mother at risk of becoming homeless with a “mentoring group” for up to two years, along with assistance from two part-time program directors, both social workers, said Stephanie Resto ’89, who is one of the two. She and her colleague assist with housing, job placement, money management and parenting skills. A mentor’s job, Resto said, is to be a friend to the single mother. Currently there are seven staff-trained, cross-generational mentoring groups from various local churches. Mentors and moms gather monthly for a Bridge of Hope night that may be “just fun” or include guest presentations on such topics as cooking or car care. Mentors themselves benefit, said Yoder, who feels a congregation “ought to be a lot more outside of the walls of the church.” Anna Wyse ’95, a public health nurse and recent board member, sees the program’s strength as building relationships: “That’s the beauty of it. It’s not a quick fix. It really changes lives and it’s not a band-aid approach.” A 2013 “point-in-time” survey found 94 adults and 39 children homeless in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, Fairfield said. Across the United States homelessness affects over a million children – one in 50. Bridge of Hope helps one family at a time. Initiated in Pennsylvania’s Lancaster and Chester counties in 1989, the program became national in 2002, with Harrisonburg-Rockingham becoming affiliated in 2008-09. Since its first family in 2010, it has mentored seven more mothers – four currently, three “graduates” and one woman who withdrew but has done well, Resto said. Some families are homeless when they enroll. Some have fled from abuse. Mothers may apply online (see or be referred by social service agencies or churches.

photos by jon styer

Single Mothers, Children, Offered “Bridge of Hope”

Stephanie Resto ’89, co-director of Bridge of Hope, gets an appreciative hug from Noemi Vazquez, a single parent of daughter Idanys Montes.

Resto’s social work major-classmates included Edith Yoder ’88, director of Bridge of Hope National, and Resto’s cousin Anne Kaufman Weaver ’88, who has served on the national board. “I became excited about the process and wanted to get involved,” Resto said. In the 1990s, she’d been director of a residential home for single mothers. By placing families in independent housing initially, Resto feels Bridge of Hope eases their transition. The program receives no government funds. Fairfield said local contributors include about 20 churches, plus United Way, private grants, and a popular yearly “fashion show” fundraiser featuring attractive thrift-store couture.  — Chris Edwards | crossroads | 55

photo by Don Aittama


Families touched by the growing incidence of autism have received support for seven straight years as a result of the annual 5K Run/Walk for Autism, organized by the Shenandoah Valley Autism Partnership, for which Jenny Hummel ’94 (pictured at right) is treasurer. The 2014 walk , which began and ended at EMU on April 5 and was co-sponsored by JMU, attracted about 800 participants and raised more than $25,000 for families helped by the Partnership. Jenny’s father, Jim Bishop ’67 (beside Jenny), always plays a supportive role.


On Jan. 20, 2014, Harrisonburg officially renamed a major street – Cantrell Avenue – as Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Campus pastor Brian Martin Burkholder and a staffer at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, Amy Knorr, were members of the task force that urged this name change. President Loren Swartzendruber offered these words at the renaming ceremony: “Here we gather in a community demonstration of solidarity all too rare in our polarized and divided society.”


For the third year in a row, EMU joined in late March with three other higher education institutions – Blue Ridge Community College, Bridgewater College and James Madison University – to raise awareness and offer hope to people affected by depression and suicide. President Loren Swartzendruber and members of his cabinet joined hundreds to make a 2.2-mile walk from JMU’s Memorial Hall to EMU. There The Steel Wheels (Trent Wagler ’02, Eric Brubaker ’01, Brian Dickel ’98, Jay Lapp) provided rousing music to mark the event. The walk was co-sponsored by the Austin Frazier Memorial Fund, Sentara RMH Behavioral Health and the Campus Suicide Prevention Center of Virginia.


The Waterman Family Fun Night is an annual event organized by the athletics department for the parent-teacher organization at Waterman Elementary School, the nearest public school to campus. Children and their parents descend on the campus and take part in a variety of learning stations, recreational activities and contests. EMU students, staff and faculty volunteer their time to provide interesting, educational activities and to make sure everyone feels welcome, including providing Spanish-language interpreters for those who may need assistance in understanding.

56 | crossroads | spring 2014


Since 1997, EMU students, staff, faculty and alumni have been active in organizing Harrisonburg’s annual International Festival. Its purpose is “to celebrate the diversity of Harrisonburg and the surrounding communities by providing a friendly forum in which cultural groups can showcase their cultural and linguistic values as a means to educate the larger community and to support awareness for their presence and contribution,” according to the festival website. Artist David Kreider ’76, MA ’78 (religion), MA ’09 (conflict transformation), has played key organizing roles in this festival.


The Scholars’ Latino Initiative program was launched locally in 2012 with EMU as its first university sponsor. Since its founding in 2003, SLI has grown from its base at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill to encompass five locations in North Carolina and Virginia. SLI focuses mainly on academically successful, underprivileged Latino students. SLI chooses the students it serves when they are in grade 9, via a competitive application process. The Shenandoah Valley chapter of SLI currently has 15 members. EMU administrator Phil Helmuth, class of ’76, has nurtured SLI.



Cyndi Gusler ’93, associate professor of art, leans on the wall for which she created a mosaic of birds, visible outside the main Massanutten Regional Library in downtown Harrisonburg.

Faculty & Staff

Sandra (Sandy) Brownscombe, professor of education, Harrisonbrug, Va., attended the Virginia Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (VAHPERD) annual convention in November. She was elected chairelect of the VAHPERD college/university section there. Emily Peck-McClain, Cornwall, N.Y., an ordained Methodist minister, has been hired at our Seminary as assistant professor of Christian formation, preaching and worship. She will begin January 2015. She holds a BA in religion from Washington & Lee University and a master of divinity from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. She is finishing her ThD through Duke Divinity School. Laura Yoder, assistant professor of nursing, Harrisonburg, Va., successfully defended her PhD dissertation from the University of Virginia titled “Multilevel contextual influences and nonuse of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs: A latent class analysis of substance-free youth.” Matthew Siderhurst, associate professor of chemistry, Harrisonburg, Va., has recently been working with the coconut rhinoceros beetle eradication team on the island of Guam to determine what attracts that beetle.

Decoding the chemical cues that attract rhino beetles may unlock the secret to saving the island’s palm trees. Matt has been conducting electrophysiology tests to find out which chemicals excite the beetle. He attaches electrodes to the antennae and their equipment records the beetles’ reaction to the plant volatiles they pass over them. The team’s hope is to isolate the chemical in coconut trees that attracts the adult beetles to feed or aggregate, and use it as an improved lure to attract them to traps in order to suppress the population. Lareta (Reta) Halteman ’62 Finger, professor emerita of the New

Testament, Harrisonburg, Va., recently published a book in tandem with George D. McClain titled Creating a Scene in Corinth: a Simulation. It uses group simulation to explore an early Christian church in Corinth and brings life to scholarly research on how the gospel penetrated the Roman Empire. Jessica (Jess) Kraybill, assistant professor of psychology, Harrisonburg, Va., successfully defended her PhD dissertation titled “A Latent Factor Analysis of Preschool Executive Functions: Investigations of Antecedents and Outcomes” at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.

ALUMNI ARE THE BEST RECRUITERS! The best colleges and universities across the nation tap their alumni to help identify and reach out to prospective students who would thrive at their alma maters. Let us know if you are interested in helping, and in what ways you might be able to help. We’d love to see more EMU alumni writing notes to prospective students, showing up at gatherings of interested students, or otherwise playing a role in helping us to find students who would be a good match for EMU. Please fill out the following form ( and we’ll contact you to hear more about your interest and willingness.

Muhammad Afdillah, visiting scholar in CJP, Bojonegoro, Indonesia, is a lecturer and researcher at the department of religious studies at the Islamic State University of Sunan Ampel in Surabaya, Indonesia. His research interests are in the intersection of politics and religion, especially religious violence against minority religious groups, including traditional faith believers. He joins CJP this spring with the support of the Henry Luce Foundation.


Daniel Hertzler ’51, Scottdale, Pa., has written a memoir titled On My Way: The View from the Ninth Decade. It is one part theological reflection, one part memoir, one part critique of American transportation, and contains various other “pithy and witty” observations on this and that. Daniel served as editor at both Mennonite Publishing House and Gospel Herald and is currently an instructor of pastoral studies distance education at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary.


Arnold ’60 and Maietta Moshier, Sarasota, Fla., celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary on June 29, 2013, in Lancaster, Pa., surrounded by their family. | crossroads | 57

Harold Kraybill ’61, Lebanon, Pa., though semi-retired, continues to work as a psychiatrist in the Amish and Conservative Mennonite mental health program at Philhaven.

Sophomore Jess Rheinheimer helped lead the Royals to an 11-0 record at home this season, including a double overtime win over Guilford College.

Women’s basketball is amazing (again) For the second straight season, the EMU women’s basketball team earned a bid to the NCAA National Championships. The accomplishment was a testament not only to a great team led by a trio of seniors, but to the second straight year the Royals had such a successful regular season that a national selection committee deemed them worthy of such recognition. After a 21-4 regular season, the team finished the year with a record of 22-6. The Royals also lost just one game in Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) play, repeating their 2012-13 campaign by going 15-1 and claiming the top seed in the ODAC Tournament. In the NCAA Tournament, EMU lost to Christopher Newport University, which eventually advanced to the national Sweet 16. The women averaged 72.8 points per game and outscored their opponents by an average of 13.3 points per game, garnering them the 38th spot in national rankings. They were also 39th nationally with a 43.0% shooting percentage. EMU excited the home crowd with their performances, finishing 11-0 in Yoder Arena with an average score of 80.4 to 60.6. They will take an 18-game home winning streak into next season. The three seniors on the team have helped turn EMU into a perennial powerhouse, as they leave with the most wins of any class, compiling a record of 80-28 overall and 60-12 in the ODAC. Each also put a stamp on the program history book. Bianca Ygarza will graduate with 1,215 career points, making her sixth in program history. The well-rounded forward is also in the top 20 in EMU history in rebounds, assists and steals. Ygarza was named All-ODAC First Team for the third time this year, as well as All-State and All-Region. All-ODAC Third Team point guard Keyla Baltimore handed out 315 assists in just three seasons at EMU, putting her second all-time. And guard/forward Steph Rheinheimer broke 2013 Hall of Honor inductee Emily Mullet’s record for career threepoint field goal percentage, hitting 37.5% of her attempts (194517). Mullet’s mark was 37.3% (308-826). The Royals also had two All-ODAC players who will return: sophomore Jess Rheinheimer (Second Team) and junior Shakeerah Sykes (Third Team). Head coach Kevin Griffin was named ODAC Coach of the Year. — James De Boer

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E. James Witmer ’64, Alliance, Ohio, has retired from pediatric medicine after 41 years. As a young man, James wasn’t convinced his father’s farming profession fit him, so he volunteered for church mission work and was sent to Kathmandu, Nepal. The majority of his work was spent in a hospital, which got him interested in medicine and eventually led him to the University of Virginia. He spent the bulk of his career at the Children’s Clinic in Alliance. In retirement, he and his wife Rachel, class of ’62, plan to travel abroad and in the United States and spend some much desired time with their 12 grandchildren. Carl Rutt ’66, Goshen, Ind., a senior psychiatrist at Oaklawn Psychiatric Center, is retiring after 31 years of service. He has led Oaklawn as the medical director and was instrumental in the building of the Goshen campus. He’s quoted as frequently saying “there is a pill for every ill...but hope can change the world.” Milton (Milt) Loyer ’67, Mechanicsburg, Pa., has been preaching each Sunday as a lay pastor at two rural United Methodist congregations in York County, Pa., since January 2012. In addition to his work as a statistician, he continues to serve as the archivist for the Susquehanna Conference of the United Methodist Church.


Bernie Bowman ’72, Maryville, Tenn., recently gave a Suter Science Seminar talk, “Forty Years Post-EMU: Reflections on an Unexpected Career.” It covered lessons from his life starting on a family farm near EMU, to pre-med major, to history major, to a career with retirement communities and nursing homes. His last 14 years of full-time leadership were as President/CEO of Asbury, Inc., overseeing six retirement communities affiliated with the United Methodist Church in east Tennessee and southwest Virginia. William (Bill) Yoder ’73, Orsha, Belarus, Russia, has been working as a writer on church affairs, relating primarily to the Russian Baptist Union and the Russian Evangelical Alliance in Moscow since 2002. Bill had previously spent nearly 30 years in Germany, where earned his doctorate in political science from the Free University of West Berlin in 1991. He continues to edit Wort und Werk, a regional Baptist paper for Berlin and Brandenburg which served as the official East German Baptist paper until 1991. David Kraybill ’75 and Mary Hershberger ’75 have been living and working in Tanzania since 2011. Dave directs the Innovative Agricultural Research Initiative which provides schol-

arships, research support and leadership development for the next generation of agricultural and nutrition scientists in Tanzania. The project is funded by USAID and managed by Ohio State University where Dave is professor of agricultural, environmental and development economics. Mary is an historian with several published books and is working to provide material support and leadership development to secondary school students. She is working on a new book on the anti-slavery movement in the United States. Their daughter, Jessica (Jess) Kraybill, recently became a faculty member in EMU’s psychology department. J. David (Dave) Risser ’75, Orrville, Ohio, is the new varsity soccer coach for Central Christian School, bringing vast experience coaching soccer at both the varsity and junior varsity levels. He coached Central’s varsity soccer team during the 1982-83 season as well as 1999-06. During his coaching tenure, Dave had a record of 110-71-19 and two OHSAA state final four appearances, six district championships, and two regional final wins.


Cheryl Weber ’81, Lancaster, Pa., is an accomplished magazine editor, journalist, and communications expert who works in a variety of fields. Over the years, she has interviewed dozens of entrepreneurs about their ideas, inspirations, and best practices, and through her writing, helped advance their mission and helped clients communicate competitively in today’s fast-paced business environment. Thomas (Tom) Garlitz ’82, Joliet, Ill., was honored by the Joliet Franciscan Sisters with the Mother Alfred Moes Award. The award honors the spirit that exists in someone who has a vision and determination that emulates that of the congregation’s foundress. Like Mother Alfred, honorees are individuals who saw a need and responded to it by using their gifts of time, talent, or treasure to transfrom that vision into service. Tom serves the Catholic Diocese of Joliet as director of the office for human dignity. Harry Kraus ’82, Williamsburg, Va., has resettled in Virginia after years of practicing medicine in Africa. He is on the staff of the new Riverside Doctors Hospital in Williamsburg. He is also the author of several novels. James Wheeler ’86, Akron, Pa., is the new Ephrata material resources manager with MCC East Coast. He brings a wealth of knowledge working as a manager within and outside of MCC, as general manager at MTS Travel and as the MCC Egypt representative. Until recently, James occupied the role of donor relations - global family coordinator.


Jeffrey (Jeff) Gingerich ’90, Norristown, Pa., vice provost and dean for academic affairs and associate professor of sociology at Cabrini College, has been appointed interim provost and vice president of academic affairs. Pamela (Pam) Harnish ’90 Clemmer, Hagerstown, Md., is president of Cumberland Valley Insurance in Hagerstown, Md. Jean-Paul Benowitz ’91, Harrisburg, Pa., an American history and religious studies professor, director of student transition programs, and assistant director of academic advising at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pa., has written a book on the history of the college titled Elizabethtown College: The Campus History Series. The book chronicles its establishment in 1899 as an academy for high school students of the Church of the Brethren to the fully accredited, four-year, private liberal arts institution it is today. Rodney (Rod) Martin ’94, Bechtelsville, Pa., was named AggMan of the Year 2013 by Aggregates Manager, the leading industry publication for North America. He runs family-owned Martin Stone Quarries in his hometown. Robert (Bob) Yoder ’94, Goshen, Ind., served as editor on a newly released book from the Institute of Mennonite Studies titled A History of Mennonite Youth Ministry, 1885-2005. The book documents efforts to nurture faith in Mennonite young people in North America. It describes tensions between people committed to retaining a strong community characterized by long-standing traditions and people concerned with responding to the distinctive needs of the community’s young people amid societal change. James Kraybill ’95, Lebanon, Pa., is a pilot with Samaritan’s Purse, flying medical supplies into the Sudan. He is currently on a two-year assignment, working from Kenya. Daryl Bert ’97, Harrisonburg, Va., was recognized by Business Journal as one of 10 local, rising leaders who are under age 40. Bert is EMU’s vp of finance. He is on board of The United Way of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. Jeremiah Zook ’97, Chambersburg, Pa., was elected judge of the Court of Common Pleas for the 39th Judicial District of Pennsylvania (Franklin/Fulton counties). He began a 10-year term in January. Jeff Barbour ’99, Winchester, Va., is the newly elected treasurer of Winchester – a city of 27,000 with a 300-year history in northwest Virginia. Kimberly (Kim) Stauffer ’99, Austerlitz, N.Y., has stepped back from professional acting to become the director of the Playwright Mentoring Project in

the Bershires. It is a theater program for under-served teens that brings professional playwrights, therapists, theater artists, and teens together to create a play that is eventually performed in their communities.


Emily Huffman ’03, Genoa, Italy, is in her second of a five-year term with Avant Ministries as part of a church-planting team. She also completed a master’s in human services from Liberty University in 2012 and is engaged to be married to a Genoese man. Ted Erickson ’05, Harrisonburg, Va., is EMU’s new head women’s soccer coach. A health and physical education major, Ted has had teaching experiences at Pleasant Valley Elementary, Thomas Harrison Middle and Skyline Middle Schools, and was athletic director at the latter two. He has been head coach of the boys soccer team at Harrisonburg High School since 2007 and has been an assistant coach for the EMU men’s team for three years and for the women’s team two years. Aaron Green ’05, Harrisonburg, Va., was recently promoted to vice president of Farmers and Merchants Bank. He has more than 15 years of experience in the banking and financial industries and was a financial advisor at the Timbervillebased branch. Jonalyn Denlinger ’06, Baltimore, Md., is program manager at the Baltimore Community Foundation, a philanthropic organization created by and for the people of Greater Baltimore, where many donors join together to make the region they love a better place, today and for future generations. Theda Good, MDiv ’06, Denver, Colo., was recently ordained to serve as pastor of nurture and fellowship at First Mennonite Church of Denver. Theda has previous experience as a spiritual director and pastoral care provider, along with serving on various church committees. Sheila Higdon ’06, New Market, Va., is a family nurse practicitioner with New Market Family Health Center. Sumanto, MA ’07 (conflict transformation), Notre Dame, Ind., recently was appointed assistant professor of anthropology at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Nilofar Sakhi, MA ’07 (conflict transformation), Harrsionburg, Va., is now the executive director of the International Center for Afghan Women’s Economic Development at the American University of Afghanistan. The center is a pioneering institution dedicated to advancing the role of women in Afghanistan’s economy and serves to incubate female-led small- and medium-sized businesses, provide business training to female entrepreneurs, funnel invest-

Janet Hostetter ’87 rose to the top of a stack of applicants.

SVCC names Janet Hostetter as its new artistic director The pile of applications to fill the artistic director’s role with the Shenandoah Valley Children’s Choir (SVCC) included submissions from across the country and beyond. The person ultimately selected for the job, though, lives nearly within earshot of the choir’s rehearsal space in EMU’s Martin Chapel. Janet Hostetter ’87 will begin her new role in August 2014. “We are delighted that someone from our very own community rose to the top of the stack,” said Joy Anderson, SVCC assistant director. After majoring in music at EMU, Hostetter earned a master of music degree in choral conducting from James Madison University. In the spring of 2008, she served as SVCC guest director during founding director Julia White’s sabbatical. “The SVCC, under the direction of Julia White and [Interim Director] Joanne van der Vat-Chromy, has brought a quality of music education to our community that has impacted the lives of many,” said Hostetter. “I am honored to have been chosen for the artistic director position and desire to continue the same level of musical excellence we have all come to enjoy.” Hostetter now directs choirs and Orff classes at Wilbur S. Pence Middle School in Dayton, Va. During her seven years at the school, the choral program has grown from 10 participants to more than 120, and her choirs have received “superior” ratings at District Choral Assessments. At Pence, she has also helped produce three musicals, been successful in fundraising and hosted the American Boychoir and the Maryland State Boychoir. Hostetter has directed choirs and ensembles and taught music from the Pre-K to the university level. She also supervises practicum students and student teachers at JMU’s School of Music. From 2009-13, Hostetter served as Repertoire and Standards Chair for Children’s Choirs for the Virginia chapter of the American Choral Directors Association, during which time she worked with many nationally recognized children’s choir directors and accepted several invitations to direct honor choirs. For eight years, Hostetter also led a music ministry at Harrisonburg Mennonite Church, where her duties included directing the adult choir and a children’s choir. “We know her to be not only an excellent musician, conductor, and educator, but also a person with a deep love for children and young people,” said Anderson. — Andrew Jenner ’04 | crossroads | 59

ment capital to promising women-run businesses, and provide access to all the business and information technology assests at the university. Lisa King ’08, Lancaster, Pa., is a nurse manager at Lancaster General Hospital (LGH). She oversees a 20-bed cardiac arrhythmia unit, specializing in electrophysiology. Lisa accepted this position after a year in the Nurse Manager Residency Program through LGH.

Jayne Docherty, program director at EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, traveled to Somaliland for this special graduation.

Women peacebuilding graduates honored As she boarded the first flight of her globe-circling journey, Jayne Docherty, program director at EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP), carried a clutch of certificates she would present to the inaugural cohort of graduates in an innovative peace-training program. All women, all Muslim, all university-educated, and straining the bonds of their conservative societies, these nine graduates of the Women’s Peacebuilding Leadership Program (WPLP) all live in Somali-speaking regions of east Africa. “Credit for the creation of this program belongs to another strong and committed Somali-speaking woman, Dekha Ibrahim Abdi,” Docherty said in her remarks at the WPLP graduation ceremony in a hall of University of Hargeisa, Somaliland. Abdi visited EMU in 2010 for a gathering of women peacebuilders. The ideas from that gathering – educating women to lead their societies away from violence and towards just relationships necessary for peace – are central to EMU’s new program. WPLP consists of cohorts of carefully chosen women – strongly recommended by organizations with a stake in peacebuilding in a particular region – who undertake coursework for 18 months, partly at EMU’s main campus in Harrisonburg, Va., and partly in their home region. “WPLP was designed by women for women’s life situation and learning needs,” says CJP’s executive director Daryl Byler. “The cohort model creates space for the students to support one another during their course of study, as well as during in-country implementation of peacebuilding practices.” The first group received their graduate certificates from the program at the end of 2013 in a ceremony attended by six of the nine Somali-region cohort women. In attendance and speaking at the graduation ceremony were the president of the University of Hargeisa, several political party leaders, and three women leaders of cabinet-level departments in Somaliland. The university facilitated this ceremony as a courtesy to EMU since the WPLP graduates would have had difficulty obtaining travel visas for the spring 2014 graduation at EMU. The Somalia-region group of graduates included women who live and work in Somaliland, Somalia, Kenya and Puntland. In addition to the nine women of the Somali-region, the first class of WPLP graduates includes two women from Liberia, two from Fiji and one from the Solomon Islands. — Paul Souder ’79

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Julie Stauffer ’08, Salem, Ore., was honored with the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Registered Nurses from Salem Health where she has worked as a registered nurse in the intermediate medical care unit. Nurses are nominated by their peers for their excellence in four key areas: clinical skills, compassionate care, exemplary service, and continued commitment to excellence.


Rachel Mast ’10 Reesor, Harrisonburg, Va., works at DePaul Community Resources as a foster care specialist. Justin Reesor ’10, Harrisonburg, Va., works in business operations at Rosetta Stone Language Technologies in Harrisonburg, Va. Brian Gumm, MA ’11 (conflict transformation), MDiv ’12, Toledo, Iowa, is trying his hand at roasting coffee beans. Exiled to his garage because his wife, Erin Thiessen, MA ’12 (counseling), does not like the smell, Brian has adopted the name Ross Street Roasting Company for this new enterprise. Armed only with a bread maker, popcorn popper, and a sincere love for coffee, he declares his cup of coffee “is better than anything you can get at Starbucks.” Adam Houser, MDiv ’11, Elyria, Ohio, is pastor of Peace Mennonite Church in Elyria, Ohio. Adam has served in this role since January 2012. Lisa Knick, MA ’12 (education), Stephens City, Va., an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher at Robert E. Aylor Middle School in the Frederick County school division, was instrumental in organizing an ESL family night in the fall. The event, which is in its second year, offered pizza, free books and clothing, gift cards, and library cards to the approximately 30 people in attendance. “We want to promote acceptance and tolerance and make families feel welcome in school,” she said about the event. Mitchell Stutzman ’11, Hesston, Kan., former resident director of Hesston College, has moved to be a development officer in the college’s advancement office. Michael Swartzendruber ’11, Elkhart, Ind., completed a year-long term with MCC’s SALT program in Egypt, working in irrigation. He currently is attending Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary to complete his master’s of divinity in

theological studies, with a major in history, theology and ethics. Philip (Phil) Tieszen ’11, Harrisonburg, Va., former EMU admissions counselor, is now assistant director of student programs and orientation, and recreational sports coordinator in the student life department. Heidi Bauman ’12 King, Harrisonburg, Va., is teaching music at Stonewall Jackson High School and North Fork Middle School in Quicksburg, Va. Justin King ’12, Harrisonburg, Va., is teaching history at East Rockingham High School in Elkton, Va., and Broadway High School in Broadway, Va. Jennifer Blankenship ’13, Harrisonburg, Va., teaches physical education and health at Charterhouse School in Edinburg, Va. Rachel Kelly ’13, Archbold, Ohio, accepted an 11-month term with MCC SALT in Jos, Nigeria, working as a hospital assistant at the Faith Alive Hospital, primarily aiding the HIV/AIDS population. Laura also intends to work as a nurse in the operating room, wards, and follow-up care. Asli Ahmed Mohamoud, Grad. Cert. ’13 (conflict transformation), Richmond, Va., is area manager for CARE International in Somalia. His primary interests include supporting destitute households and displaced women, youth and children. Over the last 15 years, Asli has held several positions within CARE, including program officer, manager, and area operations oversight. Laci Gautsche ’13 Tieszen, Harrisonburg, Va., teaches art at J. Frank Hillyard Middle School in Broadway, Va.


Herbert L. Hoover ’75 to Pam Craddock, May 18, 2013. Kristin Moyer ’04 to Scott Vasey, Feb. 1, 2014. Adam Chupp ’06 to Anita Hoover ’11, Oct. 12, 2013. Adam Houser, MDiv ’11, to Nicole Porter, May 18, 2013. Monica Root ’13 to Ryan Fisher, Dec. 28, 2013.


Justin, assistant professor of theater, and Amanda Poole, Harrisonburg, Va., Felicity Paris, Mar. 3, 2014. Benjamin (Ben), head baseball coach, and Angie Spotts, Verona, Va., Rylan Benjamin, Mar. 11, 2014. Jeffrey (Jeff), head women’s volleyball coach, and Ruth Tyson, accounts receivable assistant, Harrisonburg, Va., Jenna Grace, Feb. 11, 2014.

Paul ’90 and Pamela (Pam) Mosemann ’92 Groff, Harrisonburg, Va., adopted David Josue, Nov. 2, 2013. Colette Sharp ’98 and Jason Stetler, Lancaster, Pa., Catherine Gracen, Oct. 14, 2013. Jason Alderfer ’00, network systems administrator, and Kirsten Beachy ’02, assistant professor in visual & communication arts and language & literature, Dayton, Va., twins Irene Beachy Alderfer and Sallie Beachy Alderfer, Mar. 13, 2014. Sherri Zook ’00 and Aaron Gagne, Lancaster, Pa., Clayton Marcel, Nov. 13, 2013. Micah ’00, intensive English program instructor, and Charlotte Shristi, Rockingham, Va., Clay Waltner, Jan. 29, 2014. Angela Kratzer ’01 and Todd Zuercher, Apple Creek, Ohio, Isaac Andrew, Mar. 19, 2014. Adena See ’01 and Jared Hickman, Staunton, Va., Audrey Ty, Oct. 26, 2013. Nicole (Nicki) Oswald ’02 and Joshua McLaughlin, Williamsburg, Va., Ruth Marie, Jan. 16, 2014. Mary Ann Martin ’02 and Edgar Ramirez, Ephrata, Pa., Kendra Lynelle, April 12, 2013. Ellen Miller ’03 and Steve Rohrer, Orrville, Ohio, Alexander Shane, Dec. 2, 2013. Michael ’04 and Amanda Oder ’04 Swartley, Harrisonburg, Va., Adelyn Joy, Sept. 12, 2013. Andrew ’04 and Rachel Swartzendruber ’06, MA ’12 (education), Jenner, Harrisonburg, Va., Alexander Quinn, Dec. 20, 2013. Kevin ’05 and Rachel Weaver ’03 Docherty, Baltimore, Md., Ian Louis, Mar. 18, 2014. Michael ’05 and Lindsay Kisamore ’09 Horst, Harrisonburg, Va., Josiah David, Aug. 31, 2013. Andrew ’05 and Christy Yohn ’03 Michaels, Orrville, Ohio, Caleb David, Dec. 14, 2013. Daniel (Dan) ’05, user service hardware support, and Cara Salmon ’05 Risser, Broadway, Va., Benjamin Joseph, Jan. 30, 2014. Jared ’05 and Traci Yoder ’05 Stoltzfus, Phoenix, Ariz., Dahlia Ruth, Sept. 26, 2013. Andrew ’09 and Erika Martin ’10 Gascho, Harrisonburg, Va., Forrest Jay, Dec. 11, 2013. David (Dave) ’08 and Rebecca Souder ’09 Gish, Philadelphia, Pa., Samuel Oliver, Feb. 18, 2014. Katharine (Katie) Lown ’13 and Brenan Gray, Harrisonburg, Va., Adeline Ruth, Feb. 27, 2014.


David M. Hess, class of ’37, Lititz, Pa., died Dec. 27, 2013, at age 95. He was a hosiery knitter and later employed at Victor Weaver as a supervisor in the cut-up department. David repaired and refinished furniture and was well known for his excellent work. He enjoyed music, singing, and playing the harmonica. Above all he loved his family and was always available to help them in time of need. Pauline Stutzman Oswald, class of ’38, Mantua, Ohio, died March 2, 2013, at age 91. She was a member of the Aurora Mennonite Church and had worked in the cafeteria for Aurora City Schools. She enjoyed reading, traveling, quiltings, and gardening. Sadie Heishman Stuckey, class of ’40, Archbold, Ohio, died Dec. 7, 2013, at age 92. She was a registered nurse, working in private duty at area hospitals and homes. She volunteered with Red Cross for over 30 years and at Care & Share. Sadie was an active member of the Lockport Mennonite Church in Stryker, Ohio. Mary Frey Ritchie, class of ’42, Criders, Va., died on February 14, 2014, at age 95. Mary was a lifelong learner, beginning as the first of her family to graduate high school. She taught first and second grades at Bergton Elementary school for 12 years and served 12 more as custodian. She taught Sunday school and was an active member of Valley View Mennonite Church. At age 85, she took a class in disaster preparation to be ready to help her community during emergencies and sat on the advisory council for the Bergton branch library. Mary was a good seamstress, an excellent cook, and an avid gardener. Lucy Vance, class of ’54, Harrisonburg, Va., died on February 28, 2014, at age 87. After graduating from Columbia University Teachers College with a master’s degree in early childhood education, Lucy petitioned the government to open a Head Start program in New York City, N.Y., where she had been living at the time. Eventually, she became the founder and executive director of two Head Start programs. The first at her church on Seventh Avenue and another in the Bronx. She felt that helping underprivileged childen receive a good start in learning was her calling in life and provided oversight to both programs until her retirement. She was an active member of Emmanuel Mennonite Church in Harrisonburg. Homer Myers, class of ’56, Harrisonburg, Va., died Jan. 18, 2014, at age 80. Before retirement, Homer enjoyed a 40-year career in bank management in upstate New York and was an active community member. He was instrumental in founding Beaver Camp in the Adirondacks, Brookside Senior Living Community in Lowville, N.Y., and the

New York Mennonite Mutual Aid Plan. Among various hobbies, he enjoyed collecting coins, stamps, and model trains which he passed onto his children and grandchildren. He and his wife, Pauline Zehr ’59, loved to travel and visted Europe, Vietnam, Egypt, Israel, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Canada. Their home was never without laughter, conversation, and ample amounts of johnny cake. Doris Shenk ’56, Harrisonburg, Va., died Jan. 9, 2014, at age 87. She taught school for 14 years before quitting teaching to care for her aging parents. At that time, she was invited to write the primary Sunday school lessons for Christian Light Publications, which she gladly accepted. Among other activities, Doris showed her artistic ability in flower arrangements, gift wrapping, room decorations, and beautiful wedding cakes. John L. Myers, class of ’62, Lancaster, Pa., died Aug. 11, 2013, at age 73. From 1961-1986, John worked in office and home furniture sales. He spent the rest of his working years in the cabinetry business, retiring in 2005. He enjoyed traveling, reading, bowling, spending time with his children and grandchildren, and was an active member at West Willow Methodist Church. Grace Halteman Guntz ’71, Harrisonburg, Va., died Feb. 8, 2014, at age 66. She worked as a school teacher in Front Royal, Va., and Lancaster, Pa., before later moving to Kenya, Africa, to become a librarian at Rosslyn Academy for almost 17 years. After returning stateside in 2007, Grace was employed as a fourth grade teacher at Warwick River Christian School in Newport News, Va., until her retirement. James (Jim) Mullet, class of ’73, Rosthern, Saskatchewan, Canada, died Oct. 31, 2013, at age 88. He was a pastor most of his life, preaching at many congregations, including Sharon Mennonite Church, Bethany Mennonite Church, and New Hope Community Church. He was also a farmer, construction worker, drywall expert, telephone lineman, hatchery worker, and poet. Jim also served as chairman of MCC Saskatchewan, chairman of Northwest Conference Mission Board, chairman of Mennonite Church Canada Region One, member of MCC Canada directors, member of Mennonite Board of Missions, and as camp director at Christopher Lake. Sharon Lehman ’81, Harrisonburg, Va., died May 20, 2013, at age 54. She was a stay-at-home mother who homeschooled her children for part of their school years and drove a school bus for Rockingham County. Sharon loved to travel with her family and was an active member of Harrisonburg Mennonite Church where she was later employed as church secretary. Christopher (Chris) Mast ’89, died Jan. 23, 2014, at age 47. He was a found-

ing partner and owner of Mast & Brunk, Inc., and was known throughout the region as a fair, visionary and hardworking business man. He and his wife, Lynette Good ’88, were instrumental in founding Eastern Mennonite Elementary School and volunteered countless hours there to help create a safe and beautiful learning environment. Chris was a devoted father who coached soccer, loved a campfire on a starry night, and sang silly songs with the passengers in his carpool runs. People of all ages enjoyed his eye for beauty and his playful and mischevious spirit. Victoria (Tori) Morris ’08, Penn Laird, Va., died July 28, 2013, at age 53. Tori was employed at Rockingham Memorial Hospital in Harrisonburg, Va., since 1986, both in the Ambulatory Surgery Center and most recently as the patient safety and accreditation consultant. She enjoyed spending most of her time with her grandchildren. Lynda Krobath, MA ’09 (education), New Market, Va., died Jan. 20, 2014, at age 60. Her professional life began at Mary Kay Cosmetics, but she transitioned to teaching English at Massanutten Military Academy. Lynda’s lifelong passions included helping others, her family, teaching not only her students but everyone who crossed her path, learning from history, and serving her community. Degree Key CLASS OF - attended as part of the class of a given graduation year. HS - high school degree from era when high school and college were one MA - master of arts MDiv - master of divinity SEM - attended the seminary

Mileposts is compiled by Braydon Hoover ’11, who may be reached at or at 540-432-4294. send news directly to braydon or to Editorial Policy Milepost entries regarding alumni employment, degrees obtained from other universities, marriages, 50-year and 60-year anniversaries, births, adoptions, and deaths are printed on the basis of submissions from alumni or on the basis of publicly available information. We do not do further research to verify the accuracy of the information that alumni provide us, nor do we make judgment calls on the information that they wish to be published, beyond editing for clarity, conciseness and consistency of style. The information provided to us does not necessarily reflect the official policies of EMU or of its parent church, Mennonite Church USA. | crossroads | 61

photo by lindsey kolb At EMU, Vincent Harding explained that being “we, the people” means being active as citizens because, in the absence of this, our leaders will always be happy to step in and take things in self-serving directions.


Close friend of MLK encourages struggle for ‘true democracy’ MORE THAN 50 YEARS after his first MLK’S STANCE AGAINST visit to campus, social activist and scholar VIETNAM WAR Vincent Harding returned to EMU on In the ’60s, Harding worked closely Feb. 26 and 27, 2014, where he urged with King and other Civil Rights packed audiences to engage fully in the leaders, playing important behindstruggle to build a real participatory the-scenes roles in the movements to democracy based on justice, equality, challenge segregation in Albany, Ga., and sustainability and spiritual fulfillment, Birmingham, Ala. Harding also drafted rather than on militarism, materialism King’s famous and highly controversial and racism – or indeed on any form of speech, “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to discrimination. Break Silence,” delivered in New York Harding and his late wife, Rosemarie, City on April 4, 1967, exactly one year to were close friends and colleagues of Mar- the day before King’s assassination. tin Luther King Jr., during an era when In it King called for the U.S. to the Hardings were active members of a “undergo a radical revolution of values,” Mennonite church. adding: “When machines and computers, “I am absolutely obsessed with the profit and property rights are considered question of how you build a deep demore important than people, the giant mocracy in this country,” said Harding, triplets of racism, materialism, and miliwho played an active leadership role tarism are incapable of being conquered.” during the civil rights movement and King also explicitly linked capitalistic continues to work toward a more just, socio-economic practices to the absence participatory society through his nonof “fairness and justice” both at home profit organization, Veterans of Hope. and abroad. These passages – evocative He lives in Denver, Colo., where he was of current questions regarding the U.S.’s a professor of religion and social transrole in Iraq and Afghanistan – show the formation at the Iliff School of Theology strong stance and unequivocal language from 1981 until his retirement in 2004. in that Harding/King speech: 62 | crossroads | spring 2014

True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: “This is not just.” . . . A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: “This way of settling differences is not just.” This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.


Harding is the author or co-author of five books, including Martin Luther King – The Inconvenient Hero. In the 2009 edition of his book Hope and History, Harding called attention to “the continuing frontiers for justice, for community, for the redemption of the soul of our nation.” STRUGGLE FOR MORE JUST, HUMANE SOCIETY He wrote of the continued swamp of materialism, sexism, homophobia, and poverty, along with “antidemocratic, bullying military interventions of our government.” In order to “keep going toward a more just and humane society” we (the people) have to accept that there will be personal, fiscal and psychic costs. Yet by acting out of – and building upon – love, we will “receive the power to carry on the struggle.” In Hope and History, Harding said he dreamed of a community-based “rainbow wedge,” which would be “a force for the creation of new political, cultural, ecological, and economic realities.” At EMU, Harding explained that being “we, the people” means being active as citizens because, in the absence of this, our leaders will always be happy to step in and take things in self-serving directions. TIES WITH THE MENNONITE CHURCH Vincent Harding’s long association with the Mennonite Church began in the late ’50s, when he was studying for his doctorate at the University of Chicago and began attending Woodlawn Mennonite Church on the city’s south side. In 1958, five Mennonites – Harding, another African American man, and three white men – decided to travel through the South “to manifest and test our faith in Christian brotherhood.” Harding’s decade-long association with King began on this trip, when King welcomed the five men into his home, though he was in bed recovering from a stab wound. In his book Martin Luther King – The Inconvenient Hero, Harding wrote: Before we left, he [King] turned to Ed Riddick, the other African-American traveler, and to me, and he said, very seriously, “You Mennonites understand what we’re

trying to do in this nonviolent movement. You ought to come down from Chicago and help us.” I never forgot the invitation, or the reasoning behind it. Harding and first wife Rosemarie moved to Atlanta, Ga., in 1961 to lead a new, interracial voluntary service unit supported by Mennonite Central Committee, where they lived around the corner from Martin and Coretta King. (Rosemarie was the first African-American woman to graduate from EMU’s sister school, Goshen College; she died in 2004.) The following year, the Hardings visited EMU to talk about their involvement in the civil rights movement, and to challenge the broader Mennonite community to more active participation in the struggle for racial justice. “It was easy for people scattered around [these] often-isolated Mennonite worlds to have only the weakest possible understanding of what was going on,” recalled Harding during his recent visit. SIN OF RACIAL PREJUDICE When the Hardings arrived in Harrisonburg in May 1962, they were troubled by the EMU community’s lack of awareness about the extent of segregation in Harrisonburg itself and, as they later wrote in a report, “a frightening moral insensitivity to the sin of racial prejudice and discrimination.” The couple used the opportunity to challenge those on campus by presenting them with a series of questions, such as whether it was morally acceptable for Mennonite teachers to participate in segregated professional organizations, or whether “Mennonites should continue to take advantage of the false privilege of a pink skin by making use of facilities that are denied to their Negro brothers.” “Before we left Harrisonburg, we felt that there were many individuals – students and adults – who were beginning to struggle deeply with the implications of discipleship in their situation,” the Hardings wrote later. Harding remained in contact with EMU as it began changing, visiting in the late ’70s at the invitation of Titus Bender (then a social work professor) and again in 1995 as part of EMU’s observation of Black History Month.

Titus and Ann Bender became friends with Harding when they led a Mennonite voluntary service unit in Meridian, Mississippi, from 1958 to 1969. Titus says Harding pushed him personally, and EMU collectively, to move forward in realizing that “nonviolence is not inaction” and that “one can work for creative change without being violent.” While the Hardings’ tough questions during their first visit caused some discomfort on campus at the time, the university’s eventual embrace of nonviolent social activism is reflected today by initiatives like the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP) and the undergraduate major in peacebuilding and development. INSPIRATION TO HOWARD ZEHR Harding also was a major influence on Howard Zehr, who is regarded internationally as one of the founders of the field of restorative justice. Today Zehr is co-director of CJP’s Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice. “I remember sitting at the dining room table with him as he patiently helped a naïve white boy understand racial injustice in this country,” said Zehr, referring to several visits Harding made to his family’s home and church in Indiana. Zehr subsequently enrolled in Morehouse College in Atlanta (MLK’s alma mater) and became its first white graduate in 1966. Harding “was a major factor in developing my consciousness and concern about justice,” Zehr said. Reflecting on the recent visit, EMU history professor Mark Metzler Sawin said that Harding challenged and inspired the university, as he has been doing since he first came to campus more than 50 years ago. “He reminds us again and again that we are the people we are waiting for. We are the ones who can make change happen,” Sawin said. “It is in our talking together that we are at our most human, and this sacred conversation is what makes us whole and helps move us toward the world that is yet to be – the world we want for our children.” Three of Vincent Harding’s talks at EMU on Feb. 26 and 27 are online, posted at  — Andrew Jenner ’04 | crossroads | 63

photo courtesy of Daryl byler

EMU leaders Daryl Byler (right) and Ann Hershberger (center wearing blue) were part of a delegation to Iran in February 2014 that met with women – all scholars at an Islamic seminary – who hope to study at EMU’s Summer Peacebuilding Institute.

CJP Leader Nurtures Iran-EMU Relationship J. Daryl Byler’s 11th trip to Iran marks the culmination of nearly a quarter-century of bridge-building efforts between North American Mennonites and Iranians. Byler, who is executive director of EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP), last visited Iran in 2009, before Iran severely restricted visas for visitors from the United States and Canada for an extended period. With the 2013 election of president Hassan Rouhani and subsequent diplomatic talks between Iran and the West, Iran’s doors have opened again. Daryl Byler ’79, MA ’85 (religion), was among a 10-member group in Iran from Feb. 19 to Feb. 25, 2014, sponsored by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). The delegation spent a whirlwind six days in Iran on a tightly managed schedule of workshops, meetings with religious and academic officials, and visits to sites of cultural and religious significance with the purpose of exploring “if this is indeed a new time in which MCC work in a country often perceived as the enemy can and should be reinvigorated or even expanded,” said an MCC press release. Before becoming executive director of CJP, Byler and his wife Cindy Lehman Byler represented MCC in Palestine and Israel, Iran, Iraq and Jordan from 2007 to 2013. With only a few days in Iran on this trip, every opportunity to connect and to share with Iranians in face-to-face contacts was potentially precious, beneficial, and rejuvenating to MCC’s goals of promoting “understanding, friendship, and interfaith connections between the people of Iran, Canada, and the U.S.” The MCC-Iran relationship has been growing and changing since MCC first reached out to Iran after a devastating earthquake in 1990, offering relief supplies in partnership with the Iranian Red Crescent Society. Two more relief efforts followed in 2004 and 2012, as MCC’s outreach has focused and strengthened into “peacebuilding through

64 | crossroads | spring 2014

shared knowledge,” according to an MCC press release. This work continues in spite of the dissolution of formal diplomatic relations with Iran by both the United States, since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, and Canada, which closed its Tehran embassy and expelled Iranian diplomats from its borders in 2012. MCC has facilitated and supported many student exchanges, sending American and Canadian students to study in Iran, and Iranian students for advanced studies in Canada and the United States. Ten Iranian students have attended the Summer Peacebuilding Institute (SPI) on EMU’s main campus, and two have gone on to earn their master’s degrees in conflict transformation. Ten female students from Jami’at al-Zahra are expected to come to SPI this summer. They will be escorted by Dr. Mohammad Shomali, director of the International Institute for Islamic Studies (IIIS) and also director of international affairs at Jami’at al-Zahra, the world’s largest women’s seminary for Shi’a Islam. Shomali’s wife, Mahnaz Heidarpour, will also accompany the group. During the trip, the delegation visited with three of the 10 Iranian SPI alumni, all of whom are in prominent roles: Mohsen Ghanbari Alanagh (SPI ’11), president of Al-Mustafa Open University; Mohsen Danesh Pajouh (’12), completing his PhD in philosophy of religion; and Seyed Mostafa Daryabari (’13), deputy of education at the International Institute for Islamic Studies. For Byler, reconnecting with SPI alumni in his new role as CJP director was a special experience, as each of these attendees said they had been deeply affected by the peacebuilding concepts shared at SPI and appreciated exploring the application of these concepts and dialogue in Iran. Byler says MCC’s return visit to Iran is a “hopeful sign” that the deep foundations of interfaith dialogue and friendship can continue to grow. Though EMU has regularly hosted students and visiting professors from Iran, the last EMU visitor to Iran was President Loren Swartzendruber, who was part of an MCC-led delegation in October 2008.  — Lauren Jefferson


Yielding Immediate Benefits

Kenton and Shirley Brubaker are receiving a guaranteed life income as a result of having a charitable gift annuity with Eastern Mennonite University.

"We both feel our gift annuity is an excellent way to express our appreciation to EMU for giving us a great education and a satisfying place of employment. We like being loyal supporters of our alma mater." Kenton is a 1954 graduate of EMU, who went on to get his master’s and doctorate and to be a beloved biology professor at EMU, where he nurtured studies of the environment. SAMPLE ANNUITY RATES FOR ONE BENEFICIARY (Rates at other ages available upon request.) Age 60=4.4% Age 80=6.8%

Age 70=5.1% Age 90+=9.0%

Rates are subject to change. Please contact us for the most current rates. Annuities are also available for two beneficiaries.

Shirley graduated with an English degree in 1966, taught English at Western Mennonite School for 20 years, worked in the advancement division of EMU, and finally became a pastor. After earning an MDiv at Eastern Mennonite Seminary in 2009, she became the first female moderator of Virginia Mennonite Conference. In addition to their gift annuity, the Brubakers have shown their support of EMU as members of Jubilee Friends, donors who have included EMU in their estate plans.



Please use the following language: “To Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Va., I give __________% of my estate.” Or feel free to specify a fixed dollar amount.

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Name ____________________________________________ Address__________________________________________ _________________________________________________ Phone____________________________________________ Email____________________________________________ Mail to: Office of Development Eastern Mennonite University 1200 Park Road Harrisonburg VA 22802 | crossroads | 65

EASTERN MENNONITE UNIVERSITY 1200 Park Road Harrisonburg VA 22802-2462 Parents: If this is addressed to your son or daughter who has established a separate residence, please give us the new address. Call 540-432-4294 or email

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