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Adult Life Lessons Valued


Climbing the Nursing Ladder


Not Easy, But Worth It


Dreaming to Teach

EMU’s Adult Degree Completion Program specializes in schooling with direct and immediate application to students' work situations.

Two RN-to-BSN graduates are now enrolled in highly coveted nursing graduate programs, leading to being a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist.

Bea Benson ’05 is glad she went beyond her comfort zone and worked cross culturally with an Hispanic family for her ADCP outreach project.

Four residents of rural counties about an hour's drive from Harrisonburg trace their journeys from ADCP to teaching school.


All in the Family

A 62-year-old Methodist pastor and her 32-year-old nephew, a Marine who fought in Iraq, both found themselves in ADCP, in pursuit of different goals.


In this Issue









From No Degree to Doctorate When Michel Murphy ’97 was a high school graduate working for Alcoa Aluminum, he could not have imagined he would end up a professor.


Brother With a Cause After the tragic death of his mentally ill brother in prison, Pete Scherer ’09 decided he did not want any others to share his brother's fate.


Doing College the Old Way For some adults, the benefits of attending regular college classes, even if it’s with students half their ages, outweigh the drawbacks – they just do it. | crossroads | 1

classes tap into life experiences for vibrant, relevant lessons It was bitterly cold the week in February 1994, when Terry Whitmore ’70, MBA – then teaching business classes as an adjunct instructor – and a few others traveled from EMU to Spring Arbor University in Michigan to study its adult learning program. EMU had considered launching a program targeted at adults returning to school, but the concept had yet to sweep higher education, and doubts existed as to whether it would work in Harrisonburg. The trip to Michigan, though, put most of those questions to rest. “When I left … I was hooked,” said Whitmore. In January 1995, Whitmore began teaching EMU’s first classes offered through its Adult Degree Completion Program (ADCP); the program’s first graduates earned their bachelor’s degrees in 1996. Whitmore has been with ADCP ever since, teaching core segments of the management and organizational development curriculum. Over the past decade and a half, ADCP has developed into one of EMU’s largest and most important academic programs. At the May 2011 commencement, 119 of 320

2 | crossroads | summer 2011

undergraduate degrees conferred by EMU, or close to 40 percent, were awarded to ADCP graduates. In recent years, the proportion of ADCP graduates to EMU’s total number of undergraduates has averaged from one-quarter to one-third, and more than 1,000 adults have earned their degrees through the program. Whitmore, who also works full-time in his family business, E&M Auto and Paint Supply, said the most rewarding aspect of teaching ADCP students for the past decade and a half is the depth and breadth of experience students bring to the classroom. In any given class, he said, culturally disparate persons from their mid-twenties to as-oldas-they-care-to-be students, learn from each other’s years or decades of work experience in education, government, finance, health care, manufacturing and other fields. The program, he said, has a special focus on curriculum with direct and immediate application to work environments. Students are encouraged to use their varied life experiences to inform and augment academic or theoretical class materials. Of course, the students benefit from the rich experiences of the staff too. Adjunct in-

structor Edgar Miller ’76, for example, not only holds an MEd in psychology – plus MBA coursework – he is general manager of Truck Enterprises Inc., a thriving familyowned business in three states. The rise of EMU’s ADCP has been part of a national trend to meet a huge need. In 2010, according to the Lumina Foundation for Education, 37 million working adults in the United States – that’s nearly a quarter of the country’s adult workforce – had started college but never finished. In Virginia alone, there are now 20 different college degree completion programs for adult students, according to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. “It’s been a privilege to be a part of this wave of adult learning in higher education,” said Carolyn Stauffer ’84, PhD, a professor in EMU’s department of applied and social sciences who teaches cross-cultural courses at ADCP. “It’s really a process of co-creation of knowledge and wisdom in the classroom. Each of the students is bringing a richness of life experience to the classroom, and together, we create that knowledge.” The cross-cultural coursework required of ADCP students – as of all undergraduates at

photographs by jon styer

adult degree

These three nurses are enrolled in the RN to BS degree in nursing program at EMU's Lancaster campus. Well-timed breaks with refreshments near at hand are considered to be an essential part of the educational process, contributing to the mutually supportive environment fostered by EMU's cohort approach to adult learning. | crossroads | 3

EMU – is just one of the features that distinguishes it from other degree completion programs. Additionally, the EMU program in Harrisonburg includes a Bible class that concludes with a question-and-answer session on the Mennonite and Anabaptist tradition, usually led by EMU President Loren Swartzendruber ’76, MDiv ’79, DMin. Given that more than 95 percent of ADCP students enroll knowing little or nothing about Mennonites, this Q&A allows them to understand the roots of EMU’s “serviceoriented” education. Most distinctive, though, is the university’s “cohort-based” approach to adult learning, in which a group, or cohort, of adult students start and finish the program together, usually meeting one night per week. The once-weekly class schedule is designed to fit around adult students’ work and family commitments, while the practice of keeping ADCP students in their own classes, rather than sprinkled into traditional undergraduate classes, is intended to create a comfortable, productive learning environment. EMU now offers two majors through ADCP: a BS in nursing degree for working RNs, and a Management and Organizational Development (MOD) program for students from a broad array of careers. In Harrisonburg, two BSN and two MOD cohorts start each year. Additionally, three to five BSN cohorts are offered through EMU’s Lancaster, Pennsylvania, satellite campus. (MOD was also once offered in Lancaster, but has been discontinued because of insufficient enrollment). More than 1,400 people have come through these programs since 1995. “The cohorts were very tight. I didn’t know anybody when I started that program, but soon I learned about people’s families, and what they were doing and where they were going. We stuck together and pulled each other through,” said Karen Jagiello ’04, a graduate of the BSN program who has since earned her master’s degree and, in 2010, returned to teach an ADCP nursing class. A challenge presented by the cohort model, Whitmore noted, is that ADCP can seem isolated from other programs of the university. That’s an issue he plans to work on in the coming year as a member of EMU’s faculty senate. Nevertheless, the 4 | crossroads | summer 2011

Margo McIntire '98, MBA '08, academic advisor for ADCP and Sue Cockley, PhD, director of ADCP

cohort model has served ADCP students extremely well. Almost all of the students who enroll in ADCP remain within their particular cohort to the end, said Margo McIntire ’98 BS (ADCP), MBA ’08, academic adviser at ADCP.

“The academic rigor challenged me, stretched me and prepared me extremely well for the future without robbing me of my sanity and private life.” The MOD cohorts, limited to 25 students, last 15 months and cost $14,600, while BSN cohorts, capped at 22, last 18 months and cost $15,650. Those fees include the cost of books, which ADCP purchases and hands out to students on their first day of class, according to Sue Cockley, PhD, ADCP director. In an effort to assist ADCP students

with large financial needs, the Whitmore family set up the Richard M. Whitmore Endowed Scholarship Fund in memory of Terry’s brother, who died at age 51 in 1999. “We’ve made a really concerted effort to remove all the non-academic barriers to getting a degree,” said Cockley, who noted that staffers personally handle registration for each student. While ADCP has occasionally offered an extra cohort, current staffing levels and limited facilities restrict the program’s ability for immediate growth. Even so, discussions about expanding ADCP over the long term are occurring, Cockley said. “We are now exploring adding various certification programs that could be taken as part of an ADCP degree, or as a shorter, stand-alone program for students seeking various professional certificates.” Today, with ADCP firmly established at EMU, and with degree completion programs generally enjoying greater prominence, Stauffer and Whitmore noted that lifelong learning is becoming central to higher education in the United States. Correspondingly, Stauffer said, the perception that adult college students are simply playing catch-up is dated and false. “They’re bringing significant life and professional experience to the table, and they are retooling themselves because the

adult degree

Terry Whitmore ’70, MBA, is the longest-serving teacher in ADCP and a passionate supporter. His lessons in business leadership and management are enriched by experience in his family-owned business, E&M Auto Paint and Supply. In 2007, the Whitmore family set up an ADCP scholarship fund.

environment around them is constantly shifting,” Stauffer said. If student satisfaction is any measure, then ADCP is on the right track. Word of mouth has become the program’s most important recruiting tool – the numerous graduates whose stories appear in this issue speak overwhelmingly positively about their experience. Many of them have, or are currently trying, to persuade other colleagues and family members to enter the program. “The academic rigor challenged me, stretched me and prepared me extremely well for the future without robbing me of my sanity and private life,” observed Jan Rhoads ’04, a graduate of the RN to BS degree in nursing program at the Lancaster campus, echoing similar comments made by many fellow program graduates. “ADCP gave me an edge in both professional and academic arenas.” Duane A. Yoder, MDiv, pastor at Lindale Mennonite Church who teaches a Biblical

ADCP courses, according to the faculty, is the strong commitment students bring to the program. Adult learners nearly always enter ADCP because they are determined to earn a college degree, as opposed to the various social or familial pressures that can figure into traditional undergraduates’ decisions to enter college. “When these folks walk into the classroom every week, as an educator I feel honored,” said Stauffer. “They don’t take it for granted … they’re very, very serious about keeping what they’re gaining through this process.” One sign of this seriousness is their astonperspectives course to each ADCP cohort in ishing graduation rate: 94 percent of those Harrisonburg, said meaningful interactions who enter ADCP at EMU remain through with students in his classes, and in chance encounters outside the classroom, have been degree completion. “ADCP is a state-of-the-art program,” one of the most rewarding aspects of teachStauffer said. “Our goal at the end of the ing in the program. day is to launch people into a future that “Coming out of the classroom, I’ve just they’ve had ownership in creating.”  really had strong, positive relationships that I’ve appreciated very much,” he said. A final significant reward of teaching — AKJ

“We’ve made a really concerted effort to remove all the nonacademic barriers to getting a degree.” | crossroads | 5

photographs by jon styer

About her ADCP cohort, Anne Parson '09 says, "We all started together, stayed together, and supported each other."


Another rung on the nursing ladder, with hospital job awaiting her in 2012* and the way the students in it looked out for each other during the 18-month nursing program, figure high on the list of reasons why Anne Parson ’09 enjoyed her experience in the RN to BS degree in nursing program at EMU’s Lancaster (Pa.) campus. “I’m a small-group, ‘homey-feeling’ kind of girl,” said Parson. “We all started together, stayed together, and supported each other.” Parson, a native of Lancaster County, worked full-time as an RN at Lancaster Regional Medical Center while she attended classes at EMU. Ever since she’d begun training as a nurse, Parson had been attracted to anesthesia. Because a bachelor’s The small class size,

6 | crossroads | summer 2011

degree is a prerequisite for further training as an anesthetist, and because she needed to fit further education around her work and life responsibilities, the ADCP program through EMU was a natural choice. While the writing component of the program stretched Parson “in a way that nursing hadn’t,” by the time she’d finished it, her desire to work in anesthesia had been confirmed. Now enrolled full-time in a competitive Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist program at York College of Pennsylvania, Parson expects to graduate in May 2012. After that, she already has a job waiting at York Hospital.

In the midst of clinical rotations, life is busy these days, but any time she finds herself with a few spare minutes on the east side of town, Parson stops in to say hi to the ADCP instructors and staff who played important parts in the development of her career as a nurse.  — AKJ *The website of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists – –details the high entrance requirements for admission to CRNA programs and states: “Reflecting the level of responsibility, CRNAs are one of the best paid nursing specialties. The reported average annual salary in 2005 was approximately $160,000.”

adult degree


LPN earns RN from HACC, and after BSN at ADCP, then CRNA* nick ngumo '10 and his brother emigrated from Kenya to the United States in 1998 to join their mother, who’d arrived several years earlier. Ngumo entered Lancaster Mennonite High School in southeast Pennsylvania, graduating in 2000 with dreams of becoming an engineer. But his mother, a nurse herself, encouraged him to enter nursing. In 2002, Ngumo was certified as an LPN and began working at The Mennonite Home, a retirement community in Lancaster. By 2008, he’d completed his RN degree and began working in intensive care at Lancaster Regional Medical Center. Like Anne Parson '09, one of his colleagues and friends at Lancaster Regional, Ngumo had long been interested in a career as a nurse

anesthetist – an advanced nursing degree requiring years of further study. First, he’d need a bachelor’s degree; the program at EMU’s Lancaster campus was attractive and convenient. “EMU had a good reputation, so I went there,” said Ngumo. “[ADCP] was a very good preparation both for work and continuing education.” This year, Ngumo entered the Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist program at Drexel University, a program that has very high admissions requirements, as indeed all CRNA programs do. One of his early research projects in that program, on the subject of ventilator-associated pneumonia, felt like a cinch after all the research and writing he’d had to do at EMU. After he completed

the project, he wrote Priscilla Simmons, PhD, a professor and mentor of his at EMU, to thank her for the preparation. If all goes according to plan, Ngumo will graduate as a nurse anesthetist in 2014. Further into the future, Ngumo – who married Leigh, a dietician at Lancaster General Hospital, in the spring of 2011 – has plans to return to Kenya to do health care.  — AKJ *This translates as: Licensed practical nurse earns certification as a registered nurse from harrisburg area community college, then bachelor of science in nursing from eastern mennonite university's adult degree completion program. next up is earning a degree as a certified registered nurse anesthetist.

Nick Ngumo '10 felt well-prepared for his first research project in graduate school at Drexel University, thanks to EMU professor Priscilla Simmons. | crossroads | 7

photographs by jon styer

Bea Benson '05 was attracted by EMU's commitment to Christian values.

18 Months

‘noT Easy, but worth it’ Though the bulk of her working hours are spent reviewing medical charts for thoroughness and compliance with insurance requirements, Bea Benson ’05 insists her job is full of excitement. “I really love it … there’s never a dull moment,” said Benson, a clinical documentation specialist at Augusta Health in Fishersville, Virginia. Benson has worked at Augusta Health since 1988, when she began as a secretary. She soon finished a RN degree at Blue Ridge Community College, and spent 15 years working as a nurse at the hospital. Like many nurses who enroll in EMU’s RN-to-BSN program, Benson was attracted to a field of nursing that requires a bachelor’s degree – home health, in her case. When she began looking at programs in the region, the Adult Degree Completion Program stood out. One of its biggest attractions was its one-night-a-week schedule, allowing her to fit continuing education around her full-time work at the hospital.

8 | crossroads | summer 2011

“That was the thing that really tripped it for me,” she said. “I thought I would never get my bachelor’s … I won’t say it was easy, but it just worked for me.” Benson, who attends West Waynesboro Church of Christ, also said EMU’s commitment to Christian values was important in her decision to pick it over other area schools. While the writing load and the time commitment of the program were challenging, she said, a highlight of her coursework was an outreach project in which she worked on nutrition and social development with an Hispanic family in Dayton. “It was a good learning experience going into another culture that I was very uncomfortable with [at first], and doing that project and succeeding at it … I felt like I really accomplished something when I left that family,” she said. After graduating from EMU in 2005, Benson worked in home health care for five years, before returning to Augusta Health in her current role. When she’s not busy flipping through charts, she’s been encouraging colleagues to look at EMU’s program for advancing their nursing careers. “You can do this,” she tells them. “There’s a lot of reading, but it’s obtainable.”  — AKJ

adult degree

Hungering For Master’s

New interest in teaching

Mildred Garcia ’10 does not mince words when it comes to her experience in the RN to BS degree in nursing program at EMU’s Lancaster campus.“It definitely was 100 times better than what I expected,” she said. “If I had to do it again, I wouldn’t even think twice about it.” Garcia, who now works as a labor and delivery nurse at the Heart of Lancaster hospital in Lititz, Pennsylania, originally entered EMU’s program to earn a BSN with the intent of going to midwifery school. “I’m a very social person. I love the patient contact,” she said. “[As a labor and delivery nurse] I’m part of a very intimate experience … I feel very privileged to be a part of that.” Plans changed along the way, though, after several of Garcia’s classes at EMU sparked a new interest in teaching. Garcia now plans to pursue a master’s in nursing education and wants to work in nursing curriculum development and training within a hospital.  — AKJ

Mildred Garcia '10 is a labor and delivery nurse with aspirations.

//“The last time I wrote a paper was in the mid-seventies on an electric typewriter! All the instructors at EMU were wonderful and willing to do anything they could to help me succeed.” case manager, Lancaster General Health

// NORMA BAER ’10, // RN

//“I learned leadership principles in this program that have helped me as I

have progressed in my career from staff nurse to nurse manager.” // Sarah Rohrer ’05 // nurse manager, Lancaster General Hospital

//“Networking within our class with nurses from Augusta Medical Center, from Winchester, and

from UVa was very beneficial, and I really feel like EMU prepared me well to finish my master’s degree [through UVa] with a 4.0 GPA.”

// Donna Wilmoth ’08 // director of nursing administration, Rockingham Memorial Hospital

//“I felt

as though each and every professor and staff member took a personal interest in assuring my success. They were respectful, caring, compassionate and filled with grace.” Regional Medical Center

// Kathy Ruoff ’09 // surgical services director, Lancaster

//“I’d been a nurse for 20 years with an associate’s degree when ADCP broadened my

horizons and gave me the idea that I could do more in my profession.” // Karen Jagiello ’04 // nursing instructor at JMU and PhD candidate at WVU

//“I worked full time (36 hours a week), went to school one night a week, juggled a busy

family schedule, and still managed to graduate magna cum laude.” // Lori Ann Lerew ’09 // RN at Wellspan Dialysis, York, Pa. | crossroads | 9

photographs by jon styer

Joyce Wharton '05, Linda Welk '05 and Ginger Estes '08 drove over an hour each way from their homes in Rappahannock County to classes in Harrisonburg.


To realize dream of teaching Once a week, as

soon as Ginger Estes ’08 had finished her route and parked the school bus at 4:30 in the afternoon, she’d hop straight into her own car for the 50mile, twisting drive over two mountain ranges to Harrisonburg from her home in Rappahannock County, Virginia. Rain, shine or snow, she made it to her ADCP classes every week for 15 months, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 2008. “I wouldn’t have been able to [earn my degree] if it wasn’t for this program. We had been out of school for almost 20 years,”

10 | crossroads | summer 2011

said Estes, gesturing at her colleagues Joyce Wharton ’05 and Linda Welk ’05 seated beside her in a classroom at Rappahannock County Elementary School. The three women all worked in the county school system before and during their undergraduate studies at ADCP: Welk and Wharton were substitute teachers, and Estes was a bus driver and aide. Since graduating from the program, however, they’ve all become teachers within the same school division, earning significantly higher salaries. Wharton now teaches fifth grade, while

Welk and Estes are both special education teachers. (Wharton’s and Estes’ working lives together go back considerably farther, to when they were both employed at Aileen, a textile plant in Rappahannock County that shut down in the mid-nineties.) A fourth Rappahannock County school employee, Pat Lawler ’05, is also an ADCP graduate, now working as a special education instructional aide, and together, the group is encouraging various other colleagues to consider the program. “There was such a diverse group of people

adult degree

Brandy Jenkins '07 went from working in a bank to her dream job of schoolteaching, boosted by ADCP.

[at EMU],” said Wharton, who enjoyed the encouragement and energy provided by younger classmates in her ADCP cohort. As part of their final projects for their degrees at EMU, the three women completed research projects related to their interest in teaching: Wharton looked at substitute teaching, Estes researched special education teaching strategies, and Welk finished a project on a technique called “mastery learning” that attracted the interest of administrators at the school. All three women said the program’s flexibility, and the instructors’ respect for the demands of full-time jobs and family obligations, were key to their success. “[ADCP] is a really good opportunity for people who have to work while they’re taking classes,” said Brandy Jenkins ’07, an eighth grade English teacher at Page County Middle School, where she is 20 minutes closer to Harrisonburg than the Rappahannock teachers – she had just one mountain range to cross to get to EMU.

Though Jenkins had worked at a bank rather than in the school system while she earned her degree from EMU, like Estes, Welk and Wharton, she went on to a career in teaching after graduation. Jenkins said she’d always been drawn to education, even while she worked in the business world.

“I took the long and winding road to reach my destination.” Jenkins, who began a family and worked full-time during her transition to teaching, said the structure of ADCP, designed for working adults, was also ideal for her. “The flexibility of the program made it possible for my life to continue while I finished my degree,” she said.

While these graduates of ADCP finished with bachelor’s degrees in management and organizational development, all of them required further certification to become licensed teachers in Virginia. Jenkins completed licensure at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia, while Welk and Wharton were licensed through a program offered by the Virginia Department of Education. Estes is currently finishing her licensure requirements through an online program of Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. And now, looking back, all of them – Estes, Welk, Wharton and Jenkins – say the late nights and long drives were worth it. “I was the epitome of a non-traditional student,” said Jenkins, who grew up in Page County and once took ninth grade science in the very classroom she now teaches in. “Even though I took the long and winding road to reach my destination, I would do it all again exactly the same way.”  — AKJ | crossroads | 11


That won't stop learning On a rainy Sunday in May 2011, Nona Allen ’11, representing the Adult Degree Completion Program (ADCP), was one of four graduates to speak at EMU’s commencement. Allen, the pastor of four United Methodist congregations near Elkton, Virginia, was 62 when she earned her degree – an undertaking motivated in part by her desire to inspire her family and congregations to set their sights high. “If other people saw me at my age going back and getting a degree, they would feel like they could reach for the stars,” said Allen. “I wanted to do it to set a standard for my children and my grandchildren.” In the crowd listening to Allen’s address that day was her nephew and fellow management and organizational development major, Chad Ellinger ’11 – another ADCP graduate with a reach-high story of his own. On November 9, 2004, during a battle in Fallujah, Iraq, an explosion toppled a stone wall onto Marine Sergeant Ellinger. He lay pinned beneath a pillar with internal injuries and a broken arm, pelvis and leg, until other soldiers freed him and dragged him into a nearby school building. After being driven out of the battle zone (a medical corpsman laid on top of Ellinger during the ride, to shield him from incoming bullets), Ellinger drifted in and out of consciousness for the next five days, during which he was flown to Germany before being transferred to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. After months of recovery there, Ellinger

12 | crossroads | summer 2011

returned home to Staunton, Virginia, to continue his rehabilitation. In 2007, he became the first intern in a then-new Virginia Department of Transportation work program for wounded veterans. Ellinger, who still walks with a limp, now works as a contract administrator for VDOT’s Staunton District, where he manages equipment and 28 fuel locations scattered throughout the Valley. He lives in Staunton, with his wife Kascie, 6-year-old daughter Morgan, and year-old son Tripp.

“In life sometimes we give up too soon. We should keep on trying. If you want something bad enough, you can make it happen.” When Ellinger decided to finish a bachelor’s degree, in order to broaden his career options in the future, he was attracted to ADCP because of its good reputation and the prompt and well-organized staff response when he first inquired for more information. Ellinger said his organizational development classes in particular were

excellent, providing him with new insight and significant practical application to his job at a large state agency. He also said he learned a lot about how an adult workforce learns and retains information, and how large organizations can, and should, address problems like low morale. Most enjoyable, though, was being a part of a group of adults facing – and overcoming – the challenge of finishing a college education as nontraditional students while juggling work and family responsibilities. “This day and age, people don’t look for challenges enough,” Ellinger said. “I don’t think you’re ever too old to continue to learn, and the brightest people in the world understand that.” And for proof, he needed to look no further than at his Aunt Nona, addressing the crowd on graduation day. “It meant a tremendous amount to me when I found out Chad and I were graduating at the same time,” said Allen (though they graduated together, Ellinger and Allen were in different ADCP cohorts). As a pastor, Allen said she’s considering following up with a seminary degree. “Age is only a number,” said Allen, who cites “The Karate Kid,” a film she watched with her grandchildren, and the Justin Bieber song “Never Say Never” on its sound track, as some of her influences. “In life sometimes we give up too soon. We should keep on trying. If you want something bad enough, you can make it happen.”  — AKJ

photographs by jon styer

adult degree

Chad Ellinger '11, who was seriously injured during his service as a Marine sergeant in Iraq, graduated alongside his aunt, Nona Allen (below).

United Methodist pastor Nona Allen '11 was one of four graduates to speak at EMU's 2011 commencement ceremony. | crossroads | 13

photograph courtesy of michael murphy

Dr. Michael Murphy earned his bachelor's degree through ADCP.

Now, Prof At College before, techie at alcoa Michael Murphy ’97 felt his career as a database manager and technologist at Alcoa (Aluminum) Home Exteriors in Stuarts Draft, Virginia, hitting a ceiling for lack of a bachelor’s degree. His decision to enroll in one of the first classes offered through EMU’s then-new Adult Degree Completion Program, though, launched him on an entirely different career track. “It really turned out to be a life-changing event for me. I’m not sure I would have gotten into the education field had I not gone back [to EMU] and gotten my degree, and had some of the experiences that I did,” said Murphy, now an assistant professor in the department of teacher education at Lander University in Greenwood, South Carolina. Murphy’s capstone project during his undergraduate studies at EMU involved an examination of the use of technology in local school systems. He was struck by how slowly the schools seemed to be adopting new technologies. As an early user of email and the Internet, he was convinced that these would soon be a part of the everyday working world, and that, accordingly, schools should prepare students to use them. “It kind of opened my eyes to the fact that there was a huge disconnect between what was going on in education, and

14 | crossroads | summer 2011

what people understood about technology, and how it was being used [in the classroom],” he said. The experience soon developed into an interest in becoming a teacher himself. After EMU, Murphy went on to Marshall University in West Virginia, where he worked as director for regional computing and completed a master’s degree in secondary education. At the encouragement of a graduate professor, he kept right on, eventually earning a doctor of education degree in 2008, with a concentration on education technology. Since then, he’s been teaching undergraduate- and graduate-level courses at Lander University and researching in the field of educational technology. Murphy’s recent research projects have included a study of the use of technology in early childhood education in Montessori schools, and the development of survey software that allows Lander’s education department to collect and analyze data on individual students’ progress through the program. After spending a year setting up the system with the university’s IT department, the system has proved of value to Lander’s process of re-accreditation, Murphy said. “I love being in a teaching school,” said Murphy. “It’s a real community of learning that takes us far beyond what happens in the classroom.” Now 15 years removed from his time as an EMU student, Murphy said the example of interactive learning between students and teachers, set by one of his professors, Terry Whitmore '70, MBA, has proved to be an enormous influence on his teaching style. “I’ve carried that with me for years, and always try to make my [own] classes interactive,” Murphy said.  — AKJ

adult degree

photographs by jon styer

Larry Yates ’04 // Management & Organizational Development // Director of Organizing for Witness to Innocence, an organization of former prisoners exonerated from death row. Witness to Innocence is dedicated to abolishing the death penalty and supporting “survivors” and their families. // A lifelong organizer, Larry took his current job in 2010. “This organization … attracted me because it involves working directly with people who have serious needs," typically including a lack of confidence in their own abilities. // “The country is changing … I think it’s a real possibility that we’ll get rid of [the death penalty] in my lifetime.” //

Kurt Ferdinand ’11 // Management & Organizational Development // Works on warehousing, shipping, and facilities for the newly formed MennoMedia in Harrisonburg. // Grew up in Haiti, but is married to a U.S. citizen and has lived in the U.S. for past 20 years. // Worked as part-time facilities manager at Community Mennonite Church in Harrisonburg while enrolled at ADCP. // “ADCP was the best choice I ever made in my life. [Sometimes] I stayed up ‘til 2 a.m., 4 a.m., but I always got it done. It was a blessing to be a part of ADCP. I enjoyed every, every minute of it.” | crossroads | 15


Who transformed family tragedy into prison reform campaign The story gets sadder at every twist as Pete Scherer ’09 tells it, sitting at a long, bare table in his attorney’s office, hands clasped before him. It’s about what happened to his brother Carl, younger by 11 years, a “gentle soul” and a talented musician with a promising career ahead of him. Carl was in his mid-20s when the first symptoms of mental illness became apparent, so severe his life began to unravel. Carl struggled to keep a job. His musical ambitions were interrupted. In 1995, on the advice of his public defender, Carl pleaded guilty to criminal charges after the owner of a car he’d borrowed reported the vehicle stolen. He served a three-month sentence followed by a period of parole. All the while, his illness continued to get worse. While still under parole, Carl began placing strange phone calls to numbers picked at random from the phone book. More criminal charges followed. Parole was revoked in 1998. With a clear history of serious mental illness, and without having ever committed a violent crime, Carl entered the state corrections system on a two- to six-year sentence. There, with inconsistent and ineffective treatment under the supervision of the prison system – not an organization with a primary focus on mental health care – Carl entered a final downward spiral. He acted erratically, antagonized other inmates, got written up for misconduct and wound up in the Restricted Housing Unit, where he shared a seven- by nine-foot cell with an inmate who had a violent past. The two were allowed outside the cell no more than five hours per week – a situation not unlike “dropping a goldfish into a shark pond,” as it was later described in legal correspondence

16 | crossroads | summer 2011

with the Scherer family. On the morning of August 6, 2002, Carl’s descent through the cracks of the system reached it’s tragic conclusion. After quarrelling over their morning breakfast rations, Carl’s cellmate beat him to death. “It was deeply painful. I didn’t know how to cope or deal with the pain,” said Scherer, an electrical technician at Armstrong World Industries, where he’s worked for three decades.

“I admire Pete’s dedication, combined with his real world, pragmatic understanding of the possibilities." A month after Carl died, an ad for the Lancaster Area Victim Offender Reconciliation Program caught Pete’s eye. He trained to become a mediator with the organization, and in the process, decided to finish his bachelor’s degree. The following February, he entered the management and organizational development program at EMU’s Lancaster site. But Carl’s death, and the systemic failures it made achingly clear, hovered over Pete. With more than 20 percent of Pennsylvania’s 50,000 prisoners suffering from some kind of mental illness, the next incident, and then the next and the next, were waiting to happen. Something had to be done.

So Pete sued the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections in federal court, alleging that it had violated Carl’s constitutional protection from cruel and unusual punishment by neglecting to properly treat Carl’s mental illness while he was in custody. His intention was never to exact simple retribution, or simply seek compensatory damages. No, Pete wanted to “light a candle in the darkness.” He wanted Carl’s death to keep the next Carl from dying, and days before the action went to trial, the parties reached a remarkable settlement: the Department of Corrections agreed to launch an effort to reform its treatment of inmates suffering from mental illness. In July 2009, an advisory board including Pete, mental health advocates and Department of Corrections staff formed Support for Inmates with Mental Illness, or SIMI, with a mission to “provide hope and support for mentally ill offenders and their families.” The group has since launched a pilot program to facilitate better communication between inmates with mental illness, their families, corrections staff and mental health workers at Pennsylvania’s Waymart prison, with a goal of coordinating effective care and support for mentally ill inmates. (On a related note, for a senior project at Penn State University, Pete’s daughter, Antoinette, helped conduct a survey of mental health workers within the state corrections system, which identified specific areas with potential for improvement in the way the department handles inmates with mental illness.) Two years into the SIMI effort, Pete has been encouraged by enthusiastic response from individual psychologists and other staff within the Department of Corrections. At the same time, he’s been frustrated by the

photograph by jon styer

adult degree

Pete Scherer '09 (left), with lawyer Dwight Yoder, applied what he learned in ADCP about organizational development to pressure the prison system to change.

slow pace of change within the organization as a whole. It’s a challenge with direct bearing on Pete’s degree in organizational development from EMU. “The [department] as a whole has a lot of great people, but someone at the level of a psychologist doesn’t have any input up or down to change the process,” said Pete, who is convinced that a less linear, hierarchical decision-making system could vastly improve state prisons’ treatment of mentally ill inmates without adding to its budget. “It’s a classic organizational development issue that can be addressed with the right strategy,” he said. Over the past two years, Pete, sometimes accompanied by Antoinette and wife Marceline, has travelled across Pennsylvania meeting with corrections staff and others involved, driven by his desire to improve the

state, developing and promoting SIMI. And situation of the state’s inmates with mental progress does continue to come, in bits illness and their families. and pieces. In June, the Department of “We’ve tried to translate [the family’s] Corrections decided to start a second SIMI dedication into real initiatives within the pilot program at Muncy State Correctional Department of Corrections that will enInstitution, a women’s prison. hance family contact and communications And the fact that SIMI exists at all, acfor our most seriously mentally ill offendcording to Dwight Yoder, the attorney who ers,” said Dr. Jack Walmer, a retired Chief of represented Pete in his suit against the state Psychological Services with the Department prison system, is a testament to Pete’s vision of Corrections who’s worked closely with for something good to emerge from his Pete on the SIMI project. “I admire Pete’s brother's mishandling and brutal death. dedication, combined with his real world, “Peter was able to use Carl’s death to bring pragmatic understanding of the possibilities healing to his own family and a lot of other and, at times, limitations of moving ahead families through this program,” said Yoder. with a new initiative such as this.” “Through [Carl’s] death, the Department of So much has happened in less than a decade, yet there is still so much to do. Pete, Corrections is on a path to change how it deals with inmates with mental illness.”  who is also a real estate agent in addition to his full-time work with Armstrong, keeps — AKJ spending his spare time crisscrossing the | crossroads | 17

Regular Undergrads

photograph by Lindsey kolb

OLd approach still Works, Too Adult learning at EMU doesn’t begin and end with the Adult Degree Completion Program – older students regularly enroll in the university’s traditional undergraduate programs. Sometimes it’s because they’re after a particular degree not offered through ADCP. Or because they lack sufficient college-level credits (ADCP students must start the program with at least 60 semester hours of previously earned credit). Or because they’re simply interested and able to become fulltime students later in life. It was all of these factors that put Keith Zimmerman ’10 back in the classroom. Zimmerman, who was 37 when he finished his degree in biochemistry, became a father at age 17, forcing him to put his college plans on hold. After supporting himself as a massage therapist for nearly a decade while his children were young, Zimmerman began at EMU as a nursing student. Before long, he switched gears to biochemistry after a general chemistry course rekindled his interest, dating back to junior high, in biomedical research. One of the highlights of his undergraduate career was a research project with biology professor Greta Ann Herin examining the NR1 and NR2b NMDA receptors (“really fascinating” stuff, Zimmerman claims). Several months after finishing his senior year – also, as it happened, daughter Alyshia Zimmerman’s (class of 2013) first year at EMU – Zimmerman took a job as a research assistant in the Laurie Laboratory at the University of Virginia, where he’s exploring the use of the protein lacritin to treat dry eyes. “I’m finding this job extremely fulfilling,” he said. “This is the job that I’ve wanted since the eighth grade.” The college experience as an older student isn’t without its challenges. David Muscan ’11, who was 36 when he graduated with a nursing degree, said he sensed that professors sometimes had higher expectations of him than younger students. Muscan, originally from Romania, came to EMU in 2007 from Hungary, where his work as a missionary for the previous decade had kept him too busy to finish college. Now working as a nurse at Rockingham Memorial Hospital, Muscan said that a few other older classmates made the non-traditional undergraduate experience seem easier, and that through his classes, he made close friends with students aged 18 to 50. Forty years before Muscan finished, Wayne Lawton ’71

18 | crossroads | summer 2011

David Muscan '11 earned his nursing degree at age 36.

completed a non-traditional college career of his own. After a decade in ministry in various locations across the country, he landed as a pastor in Waynesboro, Virginia. Soon afterwards, in 1969, Lawton began at EMU. (Thanks to previous college classes, he only needed a little more than a year of classes to earn his degree.) In an email sent to Crossroads Lawton recalled a time when he sheepishly approached a math professor for help with his studies. The professor, Wilmer Lehman, replied, “When you pastor a church, do you mind people coming to you for help?” When Lawton said no, Lehman responded, “Well, I don’t mind helping you.” “I survived the course, and even passed,” said Lawton, now pastor of Cedar Hill Community Church in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. Lawton, who has taken occasional classes through Eastern Mennonite Seminary since finishing college, said he’s thought about capping his non-traditional education by finishing up his seminary degree, well into his seventies. “Life isn’t over yet,” he said, chuckling.  — AKJ

photograph courtesy of chris gingrich


chris Gingrich, Phd, stands in front of a typical small retailer involved in Tanzania's efforts to distribute malaria nets (visible stacked on the upper shelf) using vouchers-for-discounts supplied by Mennonite Economic Development Associates. Gingrich, an EMU professor of economics and business, and his three researchercollaborators are part of a worldwide debate on how to arrest malaria in Africa. For more information, please read the article posted at

Faculty and Staff

Ed Martin of Akron, Pa., has been named director of EMU’s Center for Interfaith Engagement, previously known as “Abraham’s Tent.” It provides a place for people from a variety of faith traditions to dialogue on areas of common understanding. Ed most recently served with the American Friends Service Committee as the Quaker international affairs representative for Iran, building connections between Iranian institutions and the United State, and providing resources for public education and advocacy regarding Iran and the United States. Earlier, Ed worked 18 years with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) as director for Central and Southern Asia and the Middle East. He holds a PhD in agricultural economic development from Cornell University.

Laura A. (Glick) Yoder, an assistant professor of nursing at EMU, was awarded the “excellence in nursing instruction” by the Virginia Student Nurses Association. Laura was nominated by her students for the award. She is a 1997 nursing graduate of a sister school of EMU’s, Goshen College in Indiana. Laura holds a master’s degree in nursing from the University of South Florida. An EMU faculty member since 2003, she has been accepted into a doctoral program in nursing at the University of Virginia. Laura has clinical experience in medical-surgical nursing and progressive care-telemetry nursing and is a primary care adult nurse practitioner.


Paul Kniss ’49 and G. Edwin (Ed) Bontrager ’63, Bachelor of Divinity ’66, both of Harrisonburg, Va., led a group of 30 persons from eight states to India, Feb. 7-22, 2011, to visit Mennonite missionary sites, including the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) office in Kolkata, as well as tourist attractions.


Arthur (Art) Kennel ’53, Rochester, Minn., reports completing his autobiography, Life, Love, Llamas and Laughs, My Story, to be published by Masthof Press of Morgantown, Pa.


David D. Yoder ’62, Auburn, Pa., began his role as an advancement associate with Virginia Mennonite Missions (VMM) on April 1, 2011. David was president of VMM from 1991 to 2002. For an additional year, he worked in development. In earlier years, David and his wife, Shirley, class of’ 62, served several terms as missionaries in Mexico. Martha Ann Burgard, class of ’66, Gadsden, Ala., earned a second degree black belt in Taekwondo and became

a certified instructor in this Korean-style martial art three years ago. In 2006, she was named Ms. Senior Etowah County. More recently, Burgard became a certified master gardener through Auburn University’s County Extension Program. In 1985, Burgard was instrumental in setting up an endowed scholarship fund in the name of her deceased father, Michael Burgard. Since then, 39 full-time undergraduates who met the selection criteria of the endowment have benefited from the annual earnings provided by it. David (Dave) J. Miller ’64, Goshen, Ind., has retired from Goshen College. He served Goshen as a biology professor from 1988 to 2011 (chairing the biology department for the last four years) and as program director at the Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center from 1988 to 2008. He helped establish the environmental science major, helped plan the master’s in environmental education, and conducted field research at Merry Lea by developing significant insect and plant collections. He established an official bird-banding program with The Institute for Bird Populations. Dave holds a doctorate from Michigan State University.

Faculty and Staff Alumni The entries for faculty and staff who are alumni of EMU can be found under their class years: Kenton Derstine ’72, Dorothy Jean Weaver ’72, Douglas Hertzler ’88, Patience Kamau ’02, and Michael Zucconi ’05.

Calvin L. Miller ’66, Abingdon, Va., an ophthalmologist with the Johnson City (Tenn.) Eye Clinic, has devoted more than a dozen years to short-term volunteer service in Mexico with Medical Ministry International, usually doing cataract surgery. Calvin also serves with Remote Area Medical – doing health screenings over three-day weekends – in Wise, Va., and Bristol, Tenn. Calvin earned his medical degree from the University of Virginia and did his residency in ophthalmology at the University of Kentucky, where he was chief resident. He founded Eye Physicans of Southwest Virginia in the early 1980s, where he worked for decades. He joined the Johnson City practice in 2010. Lowell E. Bender ’67, Bittinger, Md., reported in the March 2011 issue of the Brotherhood Beacon of the Conservative Mennonite Conference about his two-year experience (1961-63) as a Pax volunteer with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), constructing new houses for families whose homes were destroyed in Germany, Austria and Greece during WWII. Lowell has been dean of continuing education at Garrett College, a community college in McHenry, Md., chair of the Garrett County Community Action Board, vice president of the Small Business Development Center, and a member of Western Maryland Workforce Investment Board and the Economic Development Corporation. He holds an MBA from Frostburg State University in western Maryland. Milford Lyndaker ’68, MA ’87 (church ministries), Wardensville, W.Va., and his | crossroads | 19

Welby Lehman '03 was architectural manager for this new food coop.

Sustainability Continued... The previous issue of Crossroads, spring 2011, centered on “sustainability” by focusing on the lifestyles and work of more than 100 alumni who feel passionate about ensuring that this planet remains livable for future generations. Articles in the issue can be read and forwarded to others by visiting Not surprisingly, more examples of sustainability came to our attention after this issue appeared: Blue Ridge Architects is led by Randy Seitz, class of ’87, who holds professional accreditation from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). Blue Ridge Architects were responsible for several projects touched upon in the previous Crossroads – the Myers-Benner addition and renovation (page 11 of that issue), the Lester and Mary Beth Lind house (page 13), and the Farmers Market pavilion (pages 24 and 25) – plus the EarthCraft-certified home of Cindy Mathews ’99, manager of EMU’s music department. Welby Lehman ’03 is the project manager for Blue Ridge Architects and Kirsten Parmer ’93, a former Crossroads editor and designer, is its director of business development. At Our Community Farm, a 15-acre property linked to Our Community Place in Harrisonburg, Va., farm workers and volunteers began the summer with planting and thinning 17,000 basil plants to supply Shenandoah Growers, a massive producer of all kinds of herbs and the employer of a half-dozen EMU alumni. The production of a half-acre of basil at Our Community Farm is in addition to harvesting timber sustainably, raising bees and grass-fed beef, and selling wreaths made from boxwood bushes on the land. Dean Weaver ’89, Chris ’89 and Lynette ’88 Mast, and Eugene ’68 and Gloria ’76 Diener are among the supporters of, and volunteers at, this farm, which is a rural Christian work-therapeutic community assisting with long-term recovery from addictive behaviors. Two photos in a half-page ad in the April 2011 issue of American School and University magazine featured a “before” and “after” presentation of a wall unit in newly renovated Elmwood residence hall at EMU. Refinishing Touch, the contractor who placed the ad, noted that it had been contracted to refinish and remanufacture 75 wall units, including wardrobe, drawers, mirror frame and sliding doors in Elmwood (completed) and Maplewood (underway), using LEEDapproved finishes. The contractor touted the lacquer it used for being nontoxic, with low-volatile organic compounds. C. Eldon Kurtz '76, EMU's director of physical, was quoted in the advertisement as saying: “EMU recognizes the environmental impact and benefits of refinishing as a terrific option as opposed to purchasing new furniture.” — BPL




fall 20072011 20 | crossroads | summer

wife, Carolyn Zehr Lyndaker, are co-pastors of Crest Hill Community Church in Wardensville. Milford and Carolyn were invited to Wardensville in 2001 in a revitalization/ church planting effort at Crest Hill. They have focused on learning to know and work with other church leaders in the community and to encourage and collaborate with them in their ministries. As an affirmation of their influence in the community, Milford and Carolyn were chosen by the fire department as the king and queen of the Fall Festival in Wardensville. They are the parents of two graduates from EMU: Keith Lyndaker Schlabach ’91 and Cheryl Lyndaker Martin ’94.


Shirley Baer ’71 Kurtz, Keyser W.Va., saw her novel, Sticking Points, released in February 2011 by DreamSeeker Books, an imprint of Cascadia Publishing House. It concerns wayward Anna Schlonneger. At church, the protagonist can’t join the redeemed-by-the-blood hymns with her former aplomb. An article she’s written for Gospel Truth magazine had been rejected by the editor. Did he think he could duck the thorny truth, not publishing “A Twofaced God?!” Was he worried that her soul-baring would ruffle the readership? If your curiosity is piqued, read Sticking Points. Shirley is also the author of four books aimed at youthful readers: Birthday Chickens (1969), Growing Up Plain (1969), Applesauce (1992), and The Boy and the Quilt (2001). Kenton Derstine ’72, Harrisonburg, Va. co-led a workshop at the March 10-13, 2011, meeting of the Mennonite Health assembly in San Antonio, Tex., on the steps necessary to become a board certified chaplain and a clinical pastoral education (CPE) supervisor. He also addressed the Mennonite Chaplains Association. Kenton is director of CPE and field education at EMU. He holds an MDiv from Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary.

Dorothy Jean Weaver ’72, Harrisonburg, Va., departed from Cairo, Egypt, before the end of her 2010-11 sabbatical due to the unrest there in early 2011. She completed the final weeks of her sabbatical at Associated Mennonite Seminary (AMBS) in Elkhart, Ind. Dorothy Jean was on the AMBS campus Feb. 24-April 2, 2011, writing a paper entitled “Jesus as Political Leader within Matthew’s Narrative.” Dorothy Jean is professor of New Testament at EMU. Her PhD is from Union Theological Seminary. Roger J. Kauffman ’73, Bellefontaine, Ohio, was named 2010 Ohio Family Physician of the Year by the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians. Roger earned his medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, Va., and completed his family medicine residency program at University of South Alabama in Mobile, Ala. Roger has been practicing family medicine for 30 years at Oakhill Medical Associates in West

Liberty, Ohio. He has an extensive list of volunteer activities and community involvement, including starting Habitat for Humanity of Logan County with his wife; tutoring anatomy students in preparation for the Science Olympiad; engaging in mission trips to Haiti and Honduras; and serving as resident doctor for Green Hills Community Care Center. He is also active in Jubilee Mennonite Church, and received the Mary Rutan Hospital Physician of the Year Award in 2009. Roger practices medicine with his son, Ryan Dale Kauffman ’99, who earned his MD at Ohio State University. Joan L. Miller ’73 Steininger, St. Catharines, Ontario, Can., and her spouse, Phillip, have worked for Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) since 2009. They are co-managers of Christian Benefit Thrift Shop in St Catharines. After staying at home with their children for a number of years, Joan worked as an elementary school librarian in Palmer Lake, Colo., for 20 years. During that time, she returned to school to get her teaching license and assisted with reading instruction in addition to her librarian work. Joan and Phillip are members of Mountain Community Mennonite Church in Palmer Lake, Colo., their permanent home. Timothy R. Detweiler ’76, Washington, Iowa, who had earlier served as the conference minister in one region of the Central Plains Mennonite Conference, for the entire conference, working with David Boshart 86, MA ’87 (religion), the new executive conference minister. Diana Hooley ‘76, Hammet, Idaho, has completed a PhD in literacy in 2011 at Boise State University and is now an assistant professor of education at Idaho State University. Linda Gehman Peachey ’76 and her husband, Titus Peachey, class of ’72, of Lancaster, Pa., returned to Laos in November 2010 for an international meeting of about 1,000 government officials and nongovernmental organizations opposed to the use of cluster munitions. They began working for MCC in Laos in 1981, six years after the Vietnam War ended. At the time, the fields were strewn with bomlets – tennisball-sized bombs originally held inside U.S. cluster bombs. During their five-year term, the Peacheys developed what has proved to be a life-long passion to help the people of Laos deal with 80 million unexploded bomblets.


Thomas (Tom) Garlitz ’82, Joliet, Ill., was recognized by Lewis University in Romeoville, Ill., with the De La Salle Award during a ceremony on March 27, 2011. This award is presented each year to individuals who provide extraordinary service and leadership for the benefit of the community and region. In 1988, Tom earned a degree in pastoral ministry from St. Francis University, Loretto, Pa. In 1987, he founded the People of

God’s Glory, an ecumenical community in Hollidaysburg, Pa., and served as its pastoral leader. He also assisted in beginning Altoona New Day, a Christian ministry for at-risk children, youth and families. Tom has served as director of the peace and social justice ministry for the Catholic Diocese of Joliet in Illinois since 1992, helping facilitate a growing network of persons, faith-based groups and parishes that advocate for social justice and peace, both locally and globally. He co-founded and directs Partnership in Mission, sending medical, construction and education teams to Bolivia, Ecuador, Kenya, the Philippines and the Navajo Nation. Gary Nafziger-Meiser ’85, Boise, Idaho, single-handedly took it upon himself several years ago to start a small development project in Zambia in an effort to make an impoverished community self-sustaining. With limited outside resources, he began with a tree nursery in one village. He makes annual trips to the project to monitor its impact. The Hyde Park Mennonite Fellowship congregation, where his spouse, Linda NafzigerMeiser ’74, is pastor, sponsored five additional village nurseries. By the end of this season, they hope to have planted approximately 38,000 trees in the badly deforested Mapangazya District. Gary is also planning to introduce rocket stoves, which can burn twigs and field rubbish for cooking and boiling water instead of the large chunks of wood and charcoal, which generate unhealthy smoke. Michael (Mick) K. Sommers ’85, Lancaster, Pa., was installed as lead pastor at Ridgeview Mennonite Church in Gordonville, Pa., on Jan. 30, 2011. Mick’s previous ministerial experience includes pastor of Hively Avenue Mennonite Church, Elkhart, Ind.; pastor of Miami Mennonite Church, Kokomo, Ind.; and chaplain of Harbor Light Hospice of Indiana. David W. Boshart ’86, MA ’87 (religion), Parnell, Iowa, is the new executive conference minister of Central Plains Mennonite Conference. He said: “In order to understand the nature of our conference, I, along with Tim [Timothy R. Detweiler ’76, Washington, Iowa] and Shana [Shana Peachey ’85 Boshart, David’s spouse], will visit with leaders and members of each of our conference congregations by mid-November. I hope this time of listening will lay the foundation for discerning the direction of mission and vision for our conference.” Shana has been the conference youth minister since the inception of Central Plains Mennonite Conference in 2000. Bonnie Zehr ’86, Lancaster, Pa., a pediatrician with Roseville Pediatrics, has been the lead phyisican for six years in a home-health project directed at children and youth with special health care needs. Zehr writes: “In early March, Roseville applied to NCQA (National Committee for Quality Assurance) for

national recognition for our Medical Home Project and learned recently of receiving our Level 3 status, which is the highest level for Medical Home Recognition. The application was tedious and complex so we were excited to hear of our recognition.” Bonnie's medical degree is from Temple University. Joy L. Lapp ’87, Mount Pleasant, Iowa, has earned a PhD in biblical literature from the University of Denver/Illiff School of Theology. She is an assistant professor of religion at Iowa Wesleyan College. She was introduced to Israel and Palestine on EMU’s “Jerusalem Term” in 1981, led by Ray Gingerich ’60, SEM ’61, who is now professor emeritus of theology and ethics and director of the Anabaptist Center for Religion and Society. She is on the National Steering Committee of Friends of Sabeel, a Palestinian Christian organization based in Jerusalem. She leads an annual study-trip to Jerusalem to help participants learn more about the conflict and how to advocate for a just peace for Israelis and Palestinians. Douglas (Doug) Hertzler ’88, Mt. Rainier, Md., associate professor of anthropology and associate director of EMU’s Washington Community Scholars’ Center was a panelist on May 16, 2011, during a meeting of the United Nations (UN) Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at the UN headquarters in New York City. Doug’s presentation was entitled “What Integrity? The Legacy of Racism in the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.” In a blog posted Feb. 10, 2011, on the American Anthropological Association website, Doug explained that “numerous studies by anthropologists have shown coca chewing or acullico to be a benign practice with nutritional and medicinal benefits that is central to the religion and cultural identities of indigenous peoples.” He also said that banning coca chewing by indigenous peoples conflicts with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Doug lived in Bolivia for six years, four years as a community development worker with Mennonite Central Committee and two years conducting research on Bolivian social movements and land reform. He holds master's and doctoral degrees in anthroplogy from the University of Iowa. Larry Guengerich ’89 became the director of communications for Landis Homes, a continuing care retirement community in Lititz, Pa., on April 25, 2011. Larry is working with the CEO and leadership team to develop communications strategies that support and achieve Landis Homes’ strategic plan, extend the vision and mission consistent with its guiding values, and assist with planning and communication with stakeholders. Landis Homes is an agency of Lancaster Mennonite Conference. Larry served as MCC’s media and education coordinator 2000 to 2007. From 2007 to 2011, he served as communications

Elaine Esch '95 is fighting to save the natural environment she loves.

Mom of Two, Wife of Doc, Fights 'Fracking' for Gas Several years ago, Elaine Lapp Esch ’95 found herself chit-chatting with Sara Leichty Godshall '94 about how increased drilling for gas in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale might lead to lower gas prices and prompt Esch and her husband to keep using their old gas furnace. Esch recalls that Godshall reacted strongly to her comment and urged Esch to look into the environmental impact of such drilling. She did. What she found caused her to engage in political activity for the first time ever. Now she is a leader in the fight against hydrofracking – or aggressively drilling – for gas in Pennsylvania. In an article published May 15, 2011, Jon Rutter, a reporter for the Intelligencer Journal-Lancaster New Era, looked into Esch's battle and background, noting that she is married to a physician, Eric Esch, and that they have two school-aged daughters. Rutter wrote: [Elaine} Esch, who grew up in bucolic Northumberland County, has seen firsthand the changes wrought by drilling, pipelines and truck traffic. The 42-year-old Lancaster mother of two is worried even more by what she can’t see. Companies tap gas by fracturing (“fracking”) deep rock layers with high-pressure water-and-chemical injections, Esch explains. The wastewater from thousands of wells is consigned to the depths, stored in containment ponds or trucked to sewage treatment plants. “There are a lot of carcinogens in the [drilling] chemicals,” says Esch, who researched data from the League of Women Voters, Penn State and other sources... Radioactivity in the rocks hitches a ride to the surface as the water is pumped out, Esch says. Meanwhile, drilling leaks significant volumes of natural gas – which is mostly methane – into the air. Methane is a greenhouse gas that Esch notes is 20 times more effective than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere... In December, she joined Brenda Kauffman and Paul Hentz in forming the grassroots Community Action Forum on Marcellus Shale Gas. Like Pennsylvania, West Virginia is engaged in much drilling, says Esch. Ohio and Virginia – with leases being sought in the Shenandoah Valley, including near Harrisonburg – are leaning toward it. Maryland and New York are not permitting drilling at the moment. At EMU in the spring of 2011, environmental studies students arranged for the showing of “Gasland,” an eye-opening documentary by Josh Fox on hydrofracking; it is available for purchase at Amazon. com and other online outlets. To learn more, visit the website maintained by Esch and her colleagues,, and click on "PA Things to Know" (under Forum Resources). Many articles are accessible from that site, including an excellent 2009 Scientific American piece. For insights by those living with gas-drilling around them, visit — BPL | crossroads | 21

coordinator for MCC East Coast. Larry holds a post-bachelor’s diploma in corporate communications from Elizabethtown College.

Ted Swartz '89, MDiv '92, (right) provokes laughter and thought.

It’s Official – We Love Ted & Co.

“I’d Like to Buy an Enemy,” a 60-minute play by Ted & Co., has been officially endorsed by the seminary and Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at EMU. As one of the first signs of this collaboration, participants at CJP’s 2011 Summer Peacebuilding Institute were invited to be CJP's guests at a performance on June 3, 2011. They discovered a play that caused the viewers (especially the Americans) to laugh, while raising questions about the place of the United States in the world, why fear is such a large part of its culture, and how individuals can work for peace and justice in this country and in the world. In a quote posted at, Brian D. McLaren, a leading Christian author, observed: “People will laugh – but as they do, they will learn, and perhaps even gain the courage to confront some truths that most of us manage to avoid. I wish everyone could experience ‘I’d Like to Buy an Enemy!’” The play features original music by Trent Wagler ’02, who has recorded four full-length albums and toured across the country with his band, The Steel Wheels. Ted & Co. – headed by Ted Swartz ’89, MDiv ’92, with other alumni as collaborators (often Wagler and Ingrid De Sanctis ’88) – tours widely. To book one of their wide array of thought-provoking comic shows, visit — BPL

Alumni Are Tops in Schools Six alumni were among the “2011 Teachers of the Year” in Rockingham County (Va.) Public Schools. From the undergrad teacher education program: Jennifer Fulk ’08, Linville-Edom Elementary School; Jill Wenger ’03, John C. Myers Elementary School. From the MA in education program: Jennie Marie Carr, MA ’09, Elkton Elementary School; Rebecca (Becky) Pierce, MA ’04, Elkton Middle School; Annette Guengerich Ritter ’77, MA ’06, Pleasant Valley Elementary School. From the counseling program: Amy Ruebke, MA ’96, Fulks Run Elementary School. In addition, Doug Alderfer ’92 was named the new assistant superintendent for Rockingham County Schools. — BPL fall 20072011 22 | crossroads | summer

Patricia Grace King ’89, Chicago, Ill., is an English professor at North Central College in Naperville, Ill. One of her short stories, “The Death of Carrie Bradshaw,” won the 2011 Kore Press Award for Short Fiction and will be published as a chapbook in the fall of 2011 by Kore. This short story also received an honorable mention for the 2010 Dana Award, which recognizes excellent fiction and poetry. Her “Dogs in Guatemala” was a finalist in the Ohio State University’s 2009 short story contest and won Honorable Mention for the 2009 Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction. It was published in Nimrod International Literary Journal. Patricia earned a PhD in English at Emory University in Georgia and is now pursuing an MFA in creative writing at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina. She majored in English and Spanish at EMU. Kurtis (Kurt) Sauder ’89, Lyndhurst, Va., a pediatrician with Blue Ridge Pediatrics in Staunton, Va., has been volunteering his medical services to a community originally known as Grippis Farm outside of Lusaka, Zambia. On two separate two-week trips, he has done health screenings for elementary school children and HIV screenings. Kurt volunteers under the auspices of a new nonprofit, Grassroots Heroes International (, formed in February 2008 by a small group of Christians from Staunton, Va., and vicinity. The group supports the development of Grippis Farm, a former squatter’s settlement, on all fronts: health, education, and training for income-generation. Kurt received his MD from the University of Virginia medical school in 1993, where he also completed his pediatrics training. He served as chief pediatrics resident at UVa in 1996-97.


Michelle Witmer ’91 Dula, Lancaster, Pa., began her role as associate pastor of congregational life at Akron Mennonite Church in Akron, Pa., on Feb. 20, 2011. Previously, she was associate pastor of Christian formation at Blossom Hill Mennonite Church in Lancaster, Pa. Douglas (Doug) King ’92, MA ’01 (church leadership), Wauseon, Ohio, was installed as the lead pastor on September 26, 2010, at Tedrow Mennonite Church, just north of Wauseon, Ohio. Philip (Phil) ’94 and Therese (Terry) Phipps ’94 Witmer, formerly of Dayton, Va., are serving under Virginia Mennonite Missions (VMM) in La Mesa, Colombia. Phil works with agriculture and Terry works at Colegio Americano Menno. They serve in partnership with Mennonite Mission Network.

Allen Umble ’95 of Atglen, Pa., has been a missionary under VMM in Tirana, Albania, since 2008. Working in Lushnje, Albania, Allen teaches discipleship formation and English. Allen also provides oversight to the YES team serving in the agricultural villages near Lushnje. His home congregation is Maple Grove Mennonite Church in Atglen. Christine Glick Fairfield ’97, Staunton, Va., was a featured soprano during the 19th annual Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival, June 12 to June 19, 2011. After earning a BA in music with a concentration in voice from EMU, Christine earned her MM in vocal performance and pedagogy from Ohio University’s School of Music , where she studied under the late Dr. Ira Zook. She has performed extensively as a chorus member and soloist with a variety of groups including the Operafestival di Roma, the Rockefeller Chapel Choir of Chicago University, Canticum Novum of New York City, the Louisville Bach Society, Schola Cantorum of Waynesboro, Va., the Bloomington Chamber Singers and the Shenandoah Valley Choral Society.  She appears regularly as a soloist with the Rockbridge Choral Society in Lexington, Va.  She teaches voice at Bridgewater College south of Harrisonburg. David A. Whitten ’97 (certificate of biblical studies), MDiv ’00, Waterloo, Iowa, has been the pastor of South Waterloo Church of the Brethren since May 2009. He served six years as pastor of Moscow Church of the Brethren in Mt. Solon, Va. He also spent two periods of service in Nigeria. From 2006 to 2009, he was the mission coordinator for the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria. While in Nigeria, David met his future wife, Judith. Melissa Spory ’98 Beidler, Denver, Pa., has been the director of development for Hinkletown Mennonite School since November 2010. Her husband, Lyle, class of ’98, is the senior mechanical engineer at MGS, Inc., a specialty trailer manufacturer in their hometown. Joanna Yoder ’98 Heatwole, Pittsford, N.Y, is the co-director/producer of “A Song for My Sister,” a documentary about a Congolese family that survived genocide and is trying to find its way in the United States. In seeking to raise tuition money for war orphans, the siblings in the family begin to heal through rediscovering traditional practices of music and dance. Joanna is a 2004 graduate of the Visual Studies Workshop under the State College of New York at Brockport. From 2006 through 2010, she was an assistant professor of time-based media at Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, NY. She is now fully occupied with twins born on June 3, 2011. Anje Ackerman ’99 and Philip (Phil) Cassel ’02, Raphine, Va., with their children, Everett and John, have been appointed by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) to serve three-year assignments in Mache, Zambia. Anje, who earned her bachelor’s

degree in biology and nursing degree from EMU, is working as an antiretroviral therapy nurse. Phil also earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from EMU. He works with the maintenance department at Mach Hospital. The Cassels attended Staunton Mennonite Church in Staunton, Va. Ervin R. Stutzman, MA ’99 (religion), Harrisonburg, Va., executive director of Mennonite Church USA, is the author of a new book, From Nonresistance to Justice: The Transformation of Mennonite Church Peace Rhetoric, 1908-2008. The book is available from Mennonite Publishing Network at Ervin has two master's degrees – one earned at EMU's seminary – and a PhD in communication from Temple University.


Christopher Clymer Kurtz ’00 and his spouse, Maria Clymer ’00 Kurtz, Linville, Va., report that “The Clymer Kurtz Band” has released an all-original, six-song album, “Statements and Clues,” available through iTunes and Amazon. com. Patrick ’00, MDiv ’06, and Christine Lehman Nafiziger ’00, MA ’06 (church leadership), Millersburg, Ohio, were ordained on June 27, 2010, as co-pastors of Millersburg Mennonite Church. Patience Kamau ’02, Harrisonburg, Va., has moved to being EMU’s assistant director of institutional research & effectiveness. Patience previously worked in EMU’s alumni and parent relations office for eight years as office assistant and computer systems coordinator. Eloy Rodriguez ’03, New Providence, Pa., teaches grade five at New Danville Mennonite School, part of the Lancaster Mennonite School system. His spouse, Rebecca (Becky) Lengacher ’04, works in human resources at Quality Stone, Quarryville, Pa. Eloy and Becky attend East Chestnut Street Mennonite Church in Lancaster, Pa. Ross Kauffman ’03, GC’ 04, Indianapolis, Ind., joined the faculty at Bluffton University on July 1, 2011. He teaches in the newly formed public health program, which he helped Bluffton develop as a consultant for the past two years. He holds a master's degree and a doctorate in public health from Ohio State University. Eve Aeschliman ’04 Knepp, Bridgewater, Va., and her husband, Rodney, and their children, Maya and Micah, are preparing to move to Jamaica in August 2011 to begin a two-year term with Virginia Mennonite Missons (VMM). Both Eve and Rodney have had extensive overseas mission experience. Rodney has served in Haiti, Nepal and India. Eve has served in Haiti, Mexico, Kenya and Zimbabwe. They will be “teaching and working to meet the needs of those around them ”in the Maranatha School of the Deaf in St. Elizabeth.

Sabrina Strong ’05, Lancaster, Pa., works as an information technician recruiter in the information technology division for engineering and accounting of JFC Global, a professional recruiting placement company in Lancaster, Pa.

People Magazine Highlights Program of Reconciliation

Michael Zucconi ’05, Harrisonburg, Va., has been named EMU’s news bureau director within the department of marketing and communications. Mike joined the department when long-time public information officer Jim Bishop retired after 40 years of continous service in June 2011. Mike was EMU’s sports information director from 2006 to 2009; for 2007-08, he was named Sports Information Director of the Year for the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. Mike and his wife, Stephanie Roth ’05 Zucconi, moved to Kansas in 2009 for Mike to complete an MEd in sports management at Wichita State University. Mike’s graduate studies also involved coursework in mass communications and in social media. Stephanie worked in admissions at Hesston College during this time.

People magazine credited EMU’s Coming to the Table as a key source of information for a feature article entitled “Healing Slavery’s Wounds,” published June 27, 2011. Phoebe Kilby, an associate director of development at EMU who is descended from a slave-holding famTwo Kilbys: Betty and Phoebe ily, and Betty Kilby Baldwin, whose ancestors were enslaved by Phoebe’s ancestors, were interviewed for the People article, but their story of historical kinship and current friendship did not make it into print. Phoebe and Betty were covered by regional media in the Shenandoah Valley, however, when they participated in a ceremony on June 8, 2011, to unveil a plaque marking the end of segregated schools in Warren County Virginia in 1959. As a 13-year-old, Betty was among the first group of 23 African American students to enter the white school system – as a result of a court battle waged and won by Betty’s father and the NAACP – where the students were severely harassed. Betty wrote about the abuse and threats she and her family experienced in her autobiography, Wit, Wills & Walls, published in 2002 under the name Betty Kilby Fisher. After reading the book, Phoebe realized that she and Betty shared common roots in Rappahannock County, Va., but on opposite sides of the color divide. Betty and Phoebe have subsequently teamed up to be pivotal players in Coming to the Table, a non-profit founded at EMU to “acknowledge, understand and heal the persistent wounds of the U.S. institution of slavery.” Betty is an alumnus of EMU’s Summer Peacebuilding Institute and Phoebe holds an EMU graduate certificate in conflict transformation. More information can be found at the website printed in People: — BPL

Dana Herman Breeding ’06, Staunton, Va., is a registered nurse at Augusta Health in the Community Wellness Department. After earning her first degree from Virginia Tech, where she majored in exercise science and minored in nutrition, Dana worked as a health educator in both Virginia and Tennessee. In 2005 – after helping her mother survive a heart attack – Dana enrolled in EMU to earn a nursing degree. Dana works in community outreach. “Companies, churches, schools and civic organizations invite us to come out and do screenings and answer questions about preventative health care,” she told a local reporter. Patricia Hendricks ’06, Harrisonburg, Va., was licensed on Jan. 16, 2011, at Harrisonburg Mennonite Church for chaplaincy ministry at Mercy House in Harrisonburg. Maria Landis ’06 Rodriguez, MS ’08 (counseling), Keezletown, Va., a teacher at Skyline Middle School in Harrisonburg, has been named “Honored Teacher of the Year,” based on an essay written by one of her students. Maria received this recognition at a ceremony on May 5, 2011, for the Massanutten Regional Library’s 15th annual Robert B. and Gladys Hopkins Strickler Honored Teachers Writing Contest. Christopher (Chris), MDiv ’06, and Melody Kratz ’94 Riddle, with their three children, Micah, Adam, and Isaiah, have served under VMM, assisting the Centro Koinonia congregation in Bari, Italy, since 2007. Chris and Melody work with family ministries, worship, friendship evangelism and literature distribution. They are members of Weavers Mennonite Church in Harrisonburg, Va. Debra (Debbie) Boese Horst ’07, Harrisonburg, Va., was elected to Omicron Kappa Upsilon (OKU), the highest honor accorded to a dental student in the graduating class of 2011

New Directors for SPI Beginning July 1, 2011, EMU’s annual Summer Peacebuilding Institute (SPI) gained two new directors, both of whom hold graduate degrees in conflict transformation – William (Bill) Goldberg, MA ’01, and Valerie Helbert, MA ’08. Goldberg and Helbert are veteran employees of the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, Bill Goldberg under which SPI operates. Goldberg has been employed in various capacities by CJP since 1999. Helbert moved into an administrative role with SPI in 2005 after working in other staff positions at EMU for five years. They replaced Sue Williams, who returned to consulting internationally after directing SPI for three years. Valerie Helbert CJP executive director Lynn Roth said: “Their combination of skills and experience will ensure that SPI will not skip a beat in being one of the premier summer peacebuilding programs in the world. Their creativity and network connections should help SPI and CJP continue to develop new and innovative training initiatives.” | crossroads | 23

Surprised in Kazakhstan

Jenni Leister ’93 of Ephrata, Pa. wrote: In February 2011, my husband and I were in Almaty, Kazakhstan, taking the last steps in our adoption for our son, Nouraiz. We arrived in Almaty on a Sunday evening and learned from our coordinator that we would be going to the US Medical Clinic the next day with another Mothers Jenni Leister and Sandy Huston, both '93 US family and then the following day with them to the US Embassy. The next morning my son and I went down to the lobby. The elevator opened and we entered to go down. I saw another woman holding a young child, and then I looked closer. She looked at me, oddly. And then almost at the same time, we said, “I think I know you!” It was Sandy Waltner Huston [’93 of Berne, Ind.] who graduated in the same class as I did at EMU. We hadn’t seen each other since graduation. We just chuckled that we were both in the final steps of adopting our children, staying at the very same hotel.

Inspired by Wendell Berry

More than three dozen alumni got to interact – either in person or through their children – with writer/activist Wendell Berry in Kentucky and agricultural-ecologist Wes Jackson of the Land Institute in Kansas. The connection happened during a June 7 to July 4 “Discovery 2011”sustainable and restorative learning tour for 41 students at Eastern Mennonite High School (EMHS) in Harrisonburg. Myron Blosser ’83, MA ’98, organized the marathon trip, as he has every two years since 2003. School faculty members Lee Good ’92, Elwood Yoder ’81 (SEM ’89), Steve Yoder ’78 (MDiv ’98), Paul Leaman ’86 (head principal) and food coordinator Monika Burkholder ’11 assisted. EMU’s structural supervisor, Tony Brenneman, served as a volunteer driver for the journey across southern USA into Alaska and home via a northern route, along with Barry Hertzler ’86 and Delbert Wenger ’86. The children’s alumni-parents (in addition to those mentioned above) were: Devon ’88 and Teresa Brooks ’85 Anders (Stephanie); Maria Bender Archer ’86 (Natalie); Jodi Gerber ‘89 and Scott Beachy ’88 (Ryan); Luann Miller Bender ’85 (Mary); James and Dana Buskirk Blauch, both currently pursuing EMU degrees as adult students (Chris); Rhonda Graber Blosser ’86 (Bryce); Myron Brubaker ’88 (Kendall Schlabach-Brubaker ); Marian Becker Buckwalter, MA ’90 (Caleb); Lisa Brenneman Crist ’87 (Rachel); Rodney Eshleman ’88 (Tyler); Susie Chandler Hardy ’82 (Rebekah); Delores Blauch ’85 Hertzler (Megan); Jerry ’88 and Lisa Mumaw ’88 Hertzler (Rebekah); Larion ’88 and Ruby ’87 Kauffman Hostetler (Madeline); James ’84 and Ardith ’90 Hostetler Kauffman (Emily); Harry ’82 and Kristine Jantzi ’83 Kraus (Sam); Don Martin ’79 (Tim); Lee ’83 (MA ’87) and Peg Shenk ’84 Martin (Curtis); Chris ’89 and Lynette ’88 Good Mast (Michaela); Daryl ’84 and Marci ’84 Kauffman Myers (Emily); Doris Mast Oberholtzer ’87 (Nathaniel); Hugh ’89 and Kathy Hilty ’89 Stoll (Lydia); and Andrea Schrock Wenger ’86 (Eli). fall 20072011 24 | crossroads | summer

at Virginia Commonwealth University. “A maximum of 12% of the senior class can be selected for this honor,” reports Dr. J. Robert Eshleman, class of 1956, who has been a member of the dental school faculty at this university for more than five decades. The honorees are selected from the top 25% of the class and must be endorsed by three-quarters of the voting faculty members, who themselves are OKU members, explains Eshleman, who was invited into OKU when he graduated from MCV in 1960. Debbie is married to Mark Horst ’05 and is starting her career as an associate in the practice of Douglas Wright, DDS, in Harrisonburg. Peter Eberly, MDiv ’07, Harrisonburg, Va., initiated Eastside Church in 2010, a church planting venture in Harrisonburg in association with VMM. Peter serves as lead pastor of this new congregation seeking Christ, serving the community, teaching others and joining in worship. Eastside Church’s primary focus is ministering to young people and persons who are not active in the Christian faith community. Cynthia (Cindy) Voth, MDiv ’07, Harrisonburg, Va., was ordained as associate pastor of youth and family life at Lindale Mennonite Church in Harrisonburg on Jan. 23, 2011. Rachael Penman ’08, Washington, D.C., received her master’s degree in museum studies from George Washington University in May 2011. She has been employed as the private events manager at the National Museum of Crime and Punishment since graduating from EMU. On a contractual basis, Rachael has worked on an exhibit for the White House Historical Association and been hired to work on an upcoming exhibit about the War of 1812 for the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.  Matthew Swartley ’08, Harrisonburg, Va., works for Eastern Bioplastics of Mt. Crawford, Va., a company whose products are making news nationally. An article posted at on May 10, 2011, describes how this small start-up company, with fewer than a dozen employees, is using chicken feathers to make biodegradable plastic products. As the Fox article explains, most of the plastic on the market is made from petroleum. Feathers are an environmentally lighter alternative, and they possess keratin, a protein fiber that forms a hard bond. At full production, the article said Eastern Bioplastics can take the equivalent of 7,500 barrels of crude oil out of the market each year. Paul Fike Stutzman, MA ‘09 (religion), recently published an expanded version of his MA thesis, entitled "Recovering the Love Feast: Broadening our Eucharistic Celebrations," with Wipf and Stock publishers, Paul is a licensed minister in the Church of the Brethren. He lives with his wife, Karen, and their two children, Kaylee and Joshua, in Rocky Mount, Va.

Rodney, MDiv ’09, and Lindsey Yancey ’04 of Stuarts Draft, Va., have served under VMM, teaching vocational classes at Maranatha School for the Deaf, St. Elizabeth, Jamaica, since 2009. Rodney and Lindsey relate to Ridge Mennonite Fellowship, a congregation of Jamaica Mennonite Church.


Grace Hercyk ’10, Bath, N.Y., was appointed by Mennonite Central Committee to a three-year assignment in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, as a peace advisor. Grace majored in justice, peace and conflict studies. She previously attended Pleasant Valley Mennonite Church in Hammondsport, N.Y.

Grace Schrock-Hurst ’10, Harrisonburg, Va., is serving in Indonesia for three years with Servants to Asia’s Urban Poor, an evangelical ministry begun 25 years ago in the slums of Manila. It is approved by Virginia Mennonite Missions (VMM). Grace majored in culture, religion and missions at EMU. Marsha Kanagy ’10, Timberville, Va., is serving under VMM in Kaiserslautern, Germany. She works with a church planting team, Bible studies, children, and immigrant ministries in partnership with Eastern Mennonite Missions. Marsha is a member of Zion Mennonite Church, Broadway, Va. Byron Pellecer ’10 (certificate of ministry studies), Harrisonburg, Va., is the pastor of Iglesia Discipular Anabautista, an emerging Hispanic congregation that meets at Harrisonburg Mennonite Church. Byron is planning to pursue a master’s degree.


Karen Hertzler ’95 to Brady Crist, July 4, 2009.


Loren ’87 and Keri Bontrager ’96 Mast, Linville, Va., Brady Dennis, Oct. 28, 2010.

Steven ’91 and Charlotte Gascho ’91 Hunsberger, Souderton, Pa., Lily Chen, Dec. 9, 2010. Matthew (Matt), class of ’97, and Monica Hochstedler Carlson, Harrisonburg, Va., Jillian Marie, March 23, 2011. Joanna Yoder ’98 and Chad Heatwole, Pittsford, N.Y., David Samuel and Maria Irene, June 3, 2011. Melissa Spory ’98 and Lyle Beidler, class of ’98, Denver, Pa., Mae Karalyn, Feb. 25, 2011. James ’98 and Tahna Evers, Sturgeon Bay, Wis., Landon Scott, Aug., 4, 2010. Ryan ’99 and Angela (Angie) Longenecker ’02 Strite, Harrisonburg, Va., Graham Elliot, March 30, 2010. Timothy (Tim) ’00 and Amy Neil ’00 Good, MA’03 (counseling), Weyers Cave, Va., Amelia Rose, April 21, 2011. Leah Emery ’00 and Jeremy Kratz ’99, Harrisonburg, Va., Anderson John and Nolan Jeremiah, May 5, 2011.

Katherine (Katie) Goins ’01 and Thomas Frewen, West Hartford, Conn., Ciara Elizabeth, Mar. 12, 2011. Janelle’01, and Jason Myers-Benner ’99, Keezletown, Va., Alida Hazel Sarina Myers, March 26, 2011. Amy Sommers ’01 and Mark Shelly, Uniontown, Ohio, Caroline Sarah, March 28, 2011. Jaclyn (Jackie) Lederman ’02, MA ’08 (counseling), and Joshua (Josh) Suderman ’03, Ann Arbor, Mich., Ava Grace, Jan. 10, 2010. Bethany (Beth) Bontrager ’02 and Bradley Yoder ’02, Durham, N.C., Evelyn Rose, Mar. 15, 2011. Brandi Tappy ’03 and Jason Breeden, Shenandoah, Va., Michael Thomas, Feb. 19, 2011. Matthew (Matt), MA ’03 (counseling), and Heather Brubaker, MA ’05 (counseling), Bridgewater, Va., Joshua Maxwell, Sept. 9, 2010. Amanda Sanders ’03, ’05 (graduate certificate), Harrisonburg, Va., and Charles Mullen, Aiyana Rose, Nov. 27, 2010. Eloy ’03 and Rebecca (Becky) Lengacher Rodriguez ’04, New Providence, Pa., Joel Andrew, Dec. 22, 2010. Gievanne ’04 and Angel L. Garcia, Grand Prairie, Texas, Angel Luis Garcia III, May 22, 2011. Kimberly Thomas ’04 and C. William (Bill) Harner ’03, Timberville, Va., Connor Andrew, May 1, 2011. Laura Helmuth ’04 and Asa Church, York, Pa., Jericho Fay, Jan. 25, 2011. Daniel, MA ’04 (conflict transformation), and Alys Malec, Washington, D.C., Oscar Timothy, Feb. 26, 2011. Eve Aeschliman ’04 and Rodney Knepp, Harrisonburg, Va., Micah Reid, Feb. 8, 2011. Jillian (Jill) Fairweather ’05 and Nathan Enslen, Harrisonburg Va., Autumn Willow, April 26, 2011. Kathleen Riley Steele ’09 and Matt Kitchen, Gainesville, Va., Roslyn Moran, Dec. 24, 2010.


Hazel E. Bennett ’36 Baer Metzler, Chambersburg, Pa., died at Menno Haven Retirement Community in Chambersburg on Dec. 17, 2010, at the age of 94. Hazel married Amos Baer on April 10, 1939. Amos died in a vehicle accident near Hagerstown, Md. on June 24, 1976. She then married Isaac (Ike) John Metzler on May 6, 1978. The Metzlers lived in Plant City, Fla., Cumberland, Md., and Harrisonburg, Va., where Ike died on Sept. 23, 2001. After Ike’s death, Hazel moved to Menno Haven Retirement Community in 2005. Hazel was a creative homemaker and hostess. She took great satisfaction in the restoration of “Paradise Manor,” the ancestral home

of Amos Bear near Hagerstown, Md. With her son, Franklin, she published a lifetime collection of poetry, memories and essays in 2009, entitled Creative Reflections of a Young Woman. Hazel was a member of Pinto Mennonite Church in Pinto, Md., Cumberland Mennonite Church and North Side Mennonite Church in Hagerstown. Irvin Buckwalter Horst ’39, died April 23, 2011, at the age of 95 at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community, Harrisonburg, Va. He was a well-known scholar who devoted his life to the Anabaptist faith, its message of peace, and its history. As a conscientious objector during WWII, Irvin served in Civilian Public Service in Grottoes, Va. Later, he was a war relief worker for Mennonite Central Committee in France and the Netherlands. After completing graduate studies there, he became a dedicated teacher of Anabaptist history and English literature at Eastern Mennonite College (now EMU) from 1955 to 1966. He worked to develop the Menno Simons Historical Library at EMU, including bringing at least 12,000 books, both rare and contemporary, to EMU. In 1966, he was invited to fill a newly created chair in Mennonite history at the University of Amsterdam, a position he held until 1985. He is the author of numerous scholarly and historical works, including Menno Simons, 500 years, 1496-1996; Joseph Funk: Early Mennonite Printer and Publisher; and The Radical Brethren: Anabaptism and the English Reformation to 1558. Dorothy Geil ’41 Miller, Gulfport, Miss., died at the age of 90 on Dec. 28, 2010. Dorothy was a life-long member of Gulfhaven Mennonite Church, where she led the Ladies Bible Study, taught Sunday school, and participated in the Ladies Sewing and Quilting Group. She retired from teaching after 30 years with the Harrison County School System and Gulfport Schools. Dorothy was also involved with Gideons International Auxiliary. Ruth Peachey ’50, Florence, Ala., died in the Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital in Florence at the age of 86 on May 8, 2011. Ruth was the first woman graduate of EMC to progress to earning a doctor of medicine degree; her initial motivation was to provide health care to women in India who did not wish to be treated by a male physician. She received her MD from Hahnemann Medical School in Philadelphia, Pa., in 1954 and completed a year of internship. She practiced family medicine in Grantsville, Md., from 1955 to 1958. Ruth then continued her education at Temple University Medical Center and Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute, both in Philadelphia, during the following four years. Ruth researched and produced a thesis entitled “Family Patterns of Illness: A Study in Family Interaction.” Upon completion of her residency, she was granted a MS in psychiatry degree by

MennnoMedia staffers who have links to EMU (from left): Melodie Davis, Dorothy Miller Hartman, Kurt Ferdinand, Kimberly Hypes Metzler, Lowell Hertzler, David Rohrer, Steve Shenk, and Evan McCarthy. Not pictured: Wayne Gehman, Michael Spory, and Mary Ann Weber.

Welcome, MennoMedia! MennoMedia, a new agency of Mennonite churches in both the United States and Canada, moved into EMU’s neighborhood on July 1, 2011. Located a block east of the University Commons, MennoMedia is the new name for the combined and re-organized operations of two entities: Mennonite Publishing Network and Third Way Media. While about a third of the 30 MennoMedia staffers will work from other locations such as Ontario, Manitoba, Kansas and Indiana, the majority of the employees will be based at what was Third Way Media’s building at 1251 Virginia Ave. in Harrisonburg. It housed Third Way Media and its predecessors for nearly 40 years. Five of the staffers moved to Harrisonburg from Scottdale, Pennsylvania, the home of Mennonite Publishing Network and its predecessor for more than 100 years. Eleven of the 30 staffers had EMU ties when MennoMedia opened its doors in July:  Melodie Miller Davis ’75, writer/producer  Coeursuzan (Kurt) Ferdinand ’11, shipping/warehouse/ facilities assistant  Wayne T. Gehman ’84, producer/engineer/photographer  Dorothy Miller Hartman ’73, administrative assistant for print and electronic media  Lowell Hertzler ’69, director of finance and operations  Evan McCarthy, class of ’12, shipping assistant, inventory manager  Kimberly Hypes Metzler, class of ’92, accountant  David Rohrer ’05, marketing and sales manager  Steve Shenk ’73, director of marketing and sales  Michael Spory ’11, marketing and sales associate  Mary Ann Weber ’89, managing editor for curriculum All are based in Harrisonburg, except for Mary Ann Weber, who works out of the Mennonite Church USA offices in Elkhart, Ind. MennoMedia also employs part-time editors for four periodicals – Purpose, Rejoice!, Leader, and Adult Bible Study Guide. These editors work out of their homes in Manitoba, Michigan, Kansas, and Pennsylvania. The General Board of Mennonite Church Canada approved the merger of Mennonite Publishing Network and Third Way Media in November 2010 and the executive board of Mennonite Church USA approved three months later. Thus MennoMedia officially serves both Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada. The agencies’ three brand names, or imprints, will continue to be used: Herald Press books; Third Way Media productions in video, radio, the Internet, and other media; and Faith & Life Resources, which are Sunday school and other resources for churches. — BPL | crossroads | 25

Temple University in 1962. Ruth was an instructor in psychiatry at Temple University for two years and subsequently worked as a senior research scientist at Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatry Institute until 1966. She was also a consultant in community health programs. In her private practice, she provided individual and family psychotherapy. She was listed in the tenth edition of Who’s Who of American Women.

Chad Lacher ’97 in a 2008 photo by Matt Styer ’05

New Scholarship Fund Honors Lacher Parents Only 13 years since graduating from EMU, Chad and Jennifer Lacher, both ’97 of Souderton, Pa., have become major supporters, establishing an endowed scholarship in honor of Chad’s parents, Greg and Ellen Lacher. The Lachers were aware that some students graduating from Christopher Dock High School – Chad and Jen’s alma mater in Lansdale, Pa. – would be more likely to attend EMU if targeted financial assistance were available to them. The couple, along with Chad’s brother Mark – the men are partners at Lacher & Associates Insurance Agency – intend to bridge that gap by building up the Greg and Ellen Lacher Endowed Scholarship fund to reach at least $50,000. Under current payout guidelines, this will permit a worthy student to receive $2,500 in annual support. “The Lachers are inspirational, showing that fairly recent graduates can, and do, reach back to help the generation or two following them,” said Tim Swartzendruber ’95, the associate director of development who worked with the Lachers on setting up the scholarship. As of July 1, 2011, Chad became an associate member of the EMU board of trustees; he is expected to attend his first board meeting in November 2011. In the fall of 2011, Crossroads will publish a self-contained supplement containing the names, and some of the stories, of those like the Lachers who have supported the students, pedagogy, buildings, and operations of Eastern Mennonite University in fiscal year 2010-11.

Tell Us Your Story

of counseling people or providing therapy

The fall/winter 2011-12 issue of Crossroads will center on alumni working in mental health, including those focused on counseling, psychotherapy, clinical social work, and trauma healing. Crossroads is eager to receive brief summaries of the mental health work of as many alumni as possible, regardless of the major or degree completed at EMU. In other words, if you majored in theater or physics at EMU, but are now working as a school guidance counselor, we are still interested in your story. Please provide updates to us at: or email, or send information to the address listed in the Crossroads mailing box on the back cover. DEADLINE for receiving your story: Friday, September 30, 2011.

fall 20072011 26 | crossroads | summer

Sarah Yoder ’52 Scott died March 27, 2011, at Fairmount Homes, Ephrata, Pa., where she had received nursing care for almost two years. Sarah received a BS in elementary education from Eastern Mennonite College (now EMU) and a master’s degree from James Madison University. She taught all eight grades at Maxwell Hill near Morgantown, Pa., junior high at Oley Mennonite School, Mexican migrant kindergarten children in Mathas, Tex., second grade in Churchtown, Pa., Navajo Indian children on the reservation at Ganado, Ariz., and second grade at the American School in Campanis, Brazil. She later taught migrant children in Kennett Square, Pa. While living in Delaware, she was active in the life of Green Hill Presbyterian Church, as well as a neighborhood Bible Study Group. Sarah maintained her congregational membership in Conestoga Mennonite Church. Paul Melvin Schrock ’58, Harrisonburg, Va., died April 18, 2011, at age 75, at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville, Va., as a result of head injuries sustained in an April 15 fall. A lifelong lover of the written word, Paul had just finished a shift of volunteer work at the Menno Simons Historical Library at EMC, surrounded by books, where he was most happy. Paul graduated from Western Mennonite School in Salem, Ore., in 1954, from EMU in 1958 and from Syracuse University in 1963 with a master’s in journalism. He taught at Alden (NY) Mennonite School for one year before beginning a 41-year career with Mennonite Publishing House in Scottdale, Pa. His roles included assistant to the editor of Gospel Herald, editor of the children’s magazine Words of Cheer, and founding editor of Purpose magazine. From 1972 to 1988, Paul was Herald Press Trade Books editor. Later, he became vice president of publishing. From 1970 to 1972, on leave from the publishing house, Paul lived in Harrisonburg, where he continued to edit Purpose magazine and worked for Mennonite Broadcasts Inc., as editor of Alive Magazine and producer of “The Mennonite Hour” and “The Way to Life” radio programs. He also taught linguistics, rhetoric and photography classes at EMC during that time. Paul was active in the local community, his congregation and on church-wide boards. He also built a successful stock photography business, developing and circulating images for purchase. After running Inn the Woods Bed & Breakfast with

his wife June Bondage ‘57 Schrock in Scottdale for several years, the two retired to Harrisonburg to be closer to the next generation of their family. Mary J. Miller ’59 Boley, Sarasota, Fla., died Feb. 2, 2010, at the age of 81. Mary graduated from the Conservative Mennonite Bible School in Berlin, Ohio, in 1955. She taught in public and private school for many years in Ohio and Florida. She had been a Shaklee representative since 1980. Daniel (Dan) C. Miller ’59, Harrisonburg, Va., died April 19, 2011 at age 79, at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community, where he had resided for a year. While attending EMC (EMU) he met his wife, Anna Mae (Anne) Miller, class of ’62, who survives. Dan had been employed as a counselor with the public school system. He resided in Alberta, Canada, for several years before settling in Columbus, Ohio, for 41 years. He was a member of the Columbus Mennonite Church prior to moving to Virginia, where he became a member of Shalom Mennonite Church. Wayne Edward (Ed) Shank, class of ’65, Tigard, Ore., died April 11, 2011, at the age of 67. He completed high school at Western Mennonite School in Salem, Ore. While at EMC (now EMU), he met his future wife, Fern Nofziger ’64, who survives. After their marriage, they moved to Portland, Ore., for Wayne to complete his 1W Service as a conscientious objector at Good Samaritan Hospital. Wayne was always active in his church. He loved singing and photography. He worked for more than a decade as a systems analyst for the Port of Portland and for the Oregon Department of Transportation. Ivan Jonas Rohrer ’66, Dayton, Va., died April 6, 2011, at the age of 93 in his home. His first wife, Anna Sheeler Rohrer, died in 1979 after 37 years of marriage. Three years later, he married Martha Hartzler ’69, who survives. Ivan was attending EMC when WWII caused him to be called into Civilian Public Service as a conscientious objector. He served at Sideling Hill Camp, Bowie Md., and a Massachusetts dairy farm. After the war he went into farming in Royersford, Pa., for three years. He was then ordained to the Christian ministry by Franconia Mennonite Conference, Pa. He served in mission work from 1949 to 1962, establishing a church in Bartonsville, Vt. In 1962, he moved to Harrisonburg to resume earning a bachelor’s degree in religion and history. After graduating, he taught religious studies and history at Eastern Mennonite High School for a couple of years until he bought Rockingham Motel in Harrisonburg, which he owned for 13 years. After marrying Martha in 1982, they lived in Shippensburg where they attended Diller Mennonite Church. They returned to Harrisonburg in 1991, where they joined Park View Mennonite Church

and later Dayton Mennonite Church. For many years, Ivan drove a school bus and taxi service for the Old Order Communities in the Shippensburg and  Rockingham County areas. Henry Paul Yoder ’66, Peoria, Ariz., died March 22, 2010, at Glendale, Ariz., at age 81, from a stroke. He had been pastor of Boyertown Mennonite Church, Boyertown, Pa., Plains Mennonite Church, Lansdale, Pa., and Shalom Mennonite Fellowship, Tucson, Ariz. Henry Paul and his wife, Mildred Clemens Yoder, served as missionaries in Cuba and Miami. He also served as mission secretary for Franconia Mennonite Conference and was MCC country representative in Guatemala. Stanley (Stan) L. Benner ’68, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada, died at age 65, of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma on Mar. 7, 2011, at K-W Health Centre of Grand River Hospital. After graduation from EMC, he was a volunteer with MCC at Warden Woods in Toronto, a low-income housing development. Stan then earned a master’s degree in social work from the University of Toronto. He worked as a counselor for several agencies in the greater Toronto area and in Calgary, Alberta. Most recently, he worked at the Mosaic Counseling and Family Services in Kitchener. Stan was a member of Rockway Mennonite Church in Kitchener, Ont., Canada. Stan's wife, Margaret (Meg), survives him. Millard (Shep) A. Rexrode ’70, York, Pa., died Feb. 27, 2011, at the age of 65. Shep was the founder and pastor of Faith Covenant Christian Fellowship in York Haven, Pa. Previously, he served as an associate pastor of Christ Lutheran Church of Dallastown, Pa., and senior pastor of St. James Lutheran Church of Hallam, Pa. Shep was a 1964 graduate of Turner Ashby High school in Dayton, Va., and 1974 graduate of Lutheran Southern Seminary in Columbia, S.C. Mark Spence Tinsley ’10, Staunton, Va., died May 7, 2011, at the University of Virginia hospital. He was 53. Mark earned a BS in business management at EMU. He was co-owner of McCormick’s restaurant in Staunton and was instrumental in opening other restaurants there, including The Depot Grille in 1990. Since 2000, he had been a financial adviser with Edward Jones Investments. Mark was active in many organizations, including the Y, Historic Staunton Foundation, Kiwanis, and the R.R. Smith Center for Art and History. He was active in Memorial Baptist Church, where he served as deacon, a member of the ushers, tellers and financial committees, and when called upon, a member of the “Desperation Singers.” He also served on the finance committee for the Virginia Baptist Board.

Kathryn (Kass) F. Seitz, Harrrisonburg, Va., a former member of the Eastern Mennonite University teaching faculty, died June 5, 2011, at Oak Lea nursing facility. She was 73. Seitz was a member of EMU’s education department faculty from 1979 to 1986. Her teaching specialty was elementary education. Her spouse, Kenneth L. Seitz Jr. ’60, who survives, taught in the department of Bible and religion at EMU while pursuing a doctoral program in Old Testament studies at Notre Dame University. While teaching at EMU, Kass compiled “A Working Bibliography of Peace Books for Children and Youth,” designed to help identify and teach concepts of compassion, justice, forgiveness and love in the classroom and in the home. Kass earned a BA degree in elementary education from Goshen College and an MS in education degree from Indiana University. She was a kindergarten teacher in South Texas in the early 1960s and then taught primary grades in Elkhart (Ind.) schools. She taught or supervised student teachers in several public and private university settings in addition to EMU. She was an English teacher at Bethlehem University, Bethlehem, West Bank, in the late 1970s and 1980s. Before retiring to Harrisonburg in July, 2009, the Seitzes served as country directors for Mennonite Central Committee in Beirut, Lebanon, for five years. Correction In the spring 2011 issue of Crossroads, a brief entry on page 48 for Jill Marie Eichorst ’96 Foley contained outdated information. Now living in Oregon, Foley was an adjunct instrumental music instructor at Northern Michigan University for eight weeks in early 2009 and played violin for the Marquette Symphony during the 2008-2009 season. Then she and her husband, Kevin, moved West, where she homeschools their two daughters. She blogs about her favorite charity, Compassion International, at Degree Key CLASS OF - attended as part of the class of a given graduation year, but did not complete studies here HS - high school degree from era when high school and college were one MA - master of arts MDiv - master of divinity PhD - doctoral degree SEM - certificate or other studies at the seminary level

Mileposts is compiled by retired physician Paul T. Yoder ’50, MAL ’92, who may be reached at paul.t.yoder@ or at 540-432-4205. Feel free to send news directly to Paul or to the alumni office at

Siembida, Nissley & Gale in Hall of Honor Danielle (Conser) Siembida ’99, Sara Nissley ’01, and Mike Gale ’01 will be inducted into the EMU Athletics Hall of Honor over Homecoming weekend in October 2011, raising the number of honorees to 84 student-athletes and coach/ administrators. In the late 1990s, Siembida was a staple on the floor. She played the 1995-98 seasons and left with her name etched all over the Danielle (Conser) Siembida EMU record books. Siembida holds the mark for most assists in a single match at 70, and also left with the records for single season assists (1,155), career assists (3,567), career service aces (229), career digs (1,402), and games played (457). She led the ODAC in assists in both of her sophomore and junior years, then split time between setter and hitter when she was named AllODAC First Team as a senior in 1998. The Lady Royals were 65-62 overall in her four Sara Nissley years, including 30-10 in ODAC play. Nissley capped her career with a stellar senior season in the fall of 2000. The field hockey midfielder led the nation in scoring with 29 goals as a senior, at the time tying a school record, and was named All-ODAC, All-Region and All-America First Team. Nissley was also the ODAC Player of the Year and the ODAC Championship MVP in 2000, as the Lady Royals won their fourth conference title in her four seasons. Mike Gale The team went 74-12 with Nissley and 44-0 in the ODAC. She graduated second in EMU history in career goals scored (74), fourth in career points (175), and tied for seventh in career assists (27). Gale locked down first base during his four years on EMU’s baseball team. While known as a good fielder, Gale also had a .360 career batting average and graduated seventh all-time in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) in career RBIs with 102. He was named All-ODAC First Team as a senior in 2001 and left with 165 career hits and 106 career runs. The Royals had a record of 73-70-2 while Gale was on the team. The trio will be awarded their plaques as the honorees of 2011 at an induction breakfast on the morning of Saturday, Oct. 15, during Homecoming weekend. They will also be recognized at the opening program later that morning. — James De Boer In this back section of Crossroads, we highlight significant “mileposts” passed in the personal and professional journeys of our alumni. Typically, such information is undeniably inspiring. Occasionally, however, a “milepost” important to some alumni may not meet the approval of other alumni. We on staff aim to reserve judgment and to let our readers learn about each other to the extent that they may wish. We will exercise editorial discretion, as usual, concerning which items may claim the limited space of our pages. | crossroads | 27

Saying Goodbye To An ‘Oldie But Goodie’ By Emily Sharrer Throughout his 21-year column-writing career for the Daily News-Record, Jim Bishop has only missed about two weeks of penning “Bishop’s Mantle.” In one edition of his weekly column, Bishop writes that he is “experiencing increasingly large periods of ‘senior moments,’” where he momentarily forgets names or needs to write things down to remember them. But as Bishop sits in the Campus Center at Eastern Mennonite University, reflecting on his longtime public relations career, he recalls specific dates and years with efficiency and clarity – the day an EMU building burned down in the '80s, birthdays and years of employment. July 1 is one more date that will soon become an important landmark for Bishop, the date that his 44-year public relations career will come to an end. “It has gone so fast, but that’s good,” said Bishop, who has served as EMU’s public information officer for 40 years. Throughout his career, the EMU go-to guy has watched the school’s enrollment double, covered 40 commencements, witnessed two logo changes and served under 11 supervisors and four presidents. Bishop is an unwavering advocate for the old-fashioned. He is a man who likes to talk face to face in a world of social media, a vinyl collector in a world of iPods and a fan of blackand-white photography. “I was a ‘newie’ back when I started my career and now I’m an ‘oldie but goodie,’” he says in reference to his imminent retirement, quoting a phrase he often invoked on his “Friday Night Jukebox” program on EMU’s public radio station, WEMC. “I’m having some real ambivalent feelings about [retiring],” said Bishop, who is at least looking forward to ridding his office of 40 years worth of newspapers, press releases and magazines. “I just like to think I can do it all like I did 20 years ago.” Bishop started his public relations career one week after he graduated from Eastern Mennonite College in 1967. After spending four years doing publicity for the Mennonite Board of Missions in Elkhart, Ind., Bishop returned to EMC, which later became known as EMU, in 1971. Bishop became his own one-man PR team, writing and editing the school’s bulletin, catalogs and calendar. The media fanatic regularly pens a column for the Mennonite Weekly Review, a newspaper in Kansas, and contributes to Rockingham Memorial Hospital’s magazine, RMH HealthQuest. Bishop also gives an EMU activities report Saturday mornings on radio station WBTX. “I’m convinced I made it all these years because of these other things that have come along and energized my work,”

28 | crossroads | summer 2011

Jim Bishop' 67 at his office door, just before packing it all up

he said. “I’ve tried to say ‘yes’ whenever I possibly can and I know it’s gotten me in trouble over the years.” At the beginning of the year, Bishop began slowly phasing out his many media commitments, starting with Friday Night Jukebox. “That was my escape valve in my work,” said Bishop of the ’50s radio program he hosted diligently for 11 years. Bishop says he can definitely go without writing press releases for annual events, but he will miss his plug-in to EMU events and his co-workers. “It has been very rewarding,” he said. “There has been so much variety. Being where the action is and being able to be [at events] has just been continually unpredictable and energizing.” Bishop won’t be quick to jump into too many [post-retirement] commitments. “I want to play that a little carefully, I don’t want to get in over my head,” he said. The 66-year-old plans to travel with his wife, who also is retiring. [At the end of the 2010-11 school year, Anna Bishop ’67 wrapped up 29 years of teaching, mostly in Rockingham County elementary schools.] Emily Sharrer is a reporter with the Daily News-Record in Harrisonburg. This article, published June 22, 2011, on the front page of the DNR’s local section, has been abridged and reprinted with permission.

adult degree

EMU Homecoming 2009 Alumni Award Winners

REJOICE: same locations, new creations

Homecoming and family weekend 2011

He offered up his life Glen Lapp ’91: Distinguished Service Award


or the first time ever, EMU’s annual Distinguished Service Award will go posthumously to an alumnus: Glen Lapp ’91. Glen’s life was cut short on August 5, 2010, when he and other aid workers with International Assistance Mission, a Christian charity, were gunned down in northern Afghanistan. Glen was a volunteer with Mennonite Central Committee, assigned to IAM, where he was an executive assistant and manager of its provincial ophthalmic program. The medical team – six Americans, three Afghans, a German, and a Briton – were returning to Kabul from an arduous service trip to northern Afghanistan, when the team was ambushed and robbed. All except for one Afghan were left riddled with bullets in a remote wooded area of Badakhshan Province. Glen was 40 years old. Glen graduated from EMU as a math major. Four years later, in 1995, he earned a BS in nursing at Johns Hopkins University in the school's second degree accelerated program. “His life exemplified selfless service,” said Duane Ringer, Glen’s former colleague at Lancaster Regional Medical Center. In nominating Glen for EMU’s Distinguished Service Award, Trina Trotter Nussbaum ’99 wrote: “What a fitting way to honor his life’s work! He offered his life up for service like Jesus did and ended up losing it, like Jesus did. Who knows how people have been touched and inspired because of Glen’s witness and sacrifice?” EMU President Loren Swartzendruber said: “As with many of our alumni around the world, Glen was fulfilling EMU’s mission of serving and leading in a global context, which often involves great personal sacrifice.” Lisa Schirch, an EMU professor who became friends with Glen during her visits to Afghanistan on peace-related work,

told a newspaper reporter that Glen was compassionate, humble and “devoted to using his life to serve others.” Ruth Zimmerman ’94, MA ’02 in conflict transformation, was Lapp’s direct supervisor for MCC in Asia. She said Lapp’s interest in Afghanistan emerged while visiting a friend there in 2004. “Glen loved the adventure of it,” she said. “I’m sure this last trip to the outer reaches of Afghanistan – places where hardly any other people on earth have ever gone – was the dream of a lifetime for him. The team travelled by Jeep for several days, and then they walked and rode on horseback over mountain passes just to get there. They had to carry all their equipment with them. It was terribly hard to reach, and in the end, it was also dangerous.” Zimmerman added, “Glen was the ideal nurse, very self contained and capable, as well as extremely compassionate – and above all, humble about it.” Before working in Afghanistan, Glen provided care to an underserved population of the Havasupai Nation on a reservation in Supai, Arizona. When Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, Lapp went to help in New Orleans. Lapp’s perspective was recorded in a report he filed for his supervisors at MCC: “Where I was [Afghanistan], the main thing that expats can do is to be a presence in the country,” he wrote. “Treating people with respect and with love and trying to be a little bit of Christ in this part of the world.” Glen Lapp was a member of Community Mennonite Church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where his parents Mary and Marvin Lapp ’72 live. They will be accepting Glen’s award on his behalf. — BPL | crossroads | 29

Alumni Award Winners photo by jon styer

Showing power of women for peace Leymah Gbowee, MA ’07: Alumna of the Year


omeone clicking onto the Wikipedia entry for Leymah Gbowee on June 28, 2011, would have found these opening sentences: “Leymah Roberta Gbowee is an African peace activist responsible for organizing a peace movement that brought an end to the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003. This led to the election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in Liberia, the first African nation with a female president.” Need more be said about why Leymah was chosen as EMU’s Alumna of the Year? But there is more, as Jan Jenner, director of the Practice & Training Institute of EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP), recounted in nominating Leymah for this latest honor: During the war in Liberia, Leymah became the director of the Woman in Peacebuilding Network (WIPNET). Calling for mass action for peace, women sat in front of the State House and other key places in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, for weeks, eventually forcing a meeting with then-president Charles Taylor, urging him to stop the war. Mr. Taylor did agree to attend peace talks in Ghana. Leymah and many other women followed Taylor to Ghana, constituting a group of Liberian women who applied pressure on the warring factions to arrive at peace terms. Leymah is currently heading the Women, Peace and Security Network Africa, a women’s organization in Ghana that builds relationships across the West African sub-region in support of women’s capacity to prevent, avert and end conflicts. Leymah’s work is an incredible example of what civilians can do to influence the political and military systems during war. Leymah credits EMU/CJP with giving her the ability to understand and articulate her work, and many more skills for continued peacebuilding across Africa. Leymah earned a diploma in social work at a Liberian university. In 2007, she completed her MA in conflict transformation at EMU. The mother of six, Leymah has been a leader in the Lutheran Church of Liberia and, while studying at EMU, was active in Muhlenberg Lutheran Church in Harrisonburg. Leymah's eldest son, Joshua "Nuku" Mensah, entered EMU as a freshman in the fall of 2010.

30 | crossroads | summer 2011

Leymah Gbowee, MA '07 in conflict transformation

Leymah has received multiple honors, including: • The Blue Ribbon for Peace by Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government (2007) • Recipient of Women’s eNews award for “Leaders of the 21st Century” (2008) • The John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award, which she accepted on behalf of her countrywomen (2009) • The Gruber Prize for Women’s Rights, honoring an individual who has brought about significant advances in the quest for peace and gender equality in Africa (2009) • Named by Newsweek as one of the “150 women who shake the world” in an edition marking the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day (2011) Leymah is also the central figure in a documentary film produced in 2008 by Abigail Disney, “Pray the Devil Back to Hell,” which is now part of the series “Women, War & Peace,” debuting on PBS stations nationwide in the fall of 2011. — BPL

REJOICE: same locations, new creations EMU Homecoming 2009

Homecoming and family weekend 2011

photo by bonnie price lofton

Dekha Ibrahim Abdi of Kenya, Leymah Gbowee of Liberia, and Abigail Disney of the U.S. were three of 20 participants from nine countries at a conference on women and peacebuilding held at EMU in the late spring of 2011.

Disney features Leymah in film


ilmmaker Abigail Disney says she learned “to look at war through women’s eyes,” as a result of visiting Liberia in 2006 and meeting Leymah Gbowee, then a graduate student of conflict transformation at EMU. Disney was impressed by Leymah’s leadership role in the women’s movement that was instrumental in ending Liberia’s 14-year-long civil war in 2003. Leymah inspired Disney, the daughter and granddaughter of two leaders of the Walt Disney Company, to create the film “Pray the Devil Back to Hell.” The 2008 award-winning documentary shows the way Liberian women forced their warring men to arrive at a peace settlement that led to the election of Africa’s first woman president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, in 2005. In a June 10, 2011, forum sponsored by EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP), Disney explained her motivations in being one of the executive producers of “Women, War & Peace.” This new documentary series – to be aired on PBS over five successive Tuesdays at 10 p.m., beginning Oct. 11 – features women peacebuilders in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Colombia, and Liberia. “War has never been a tidy, closed activity, taking place on a clearly demarcated battlefield between two uniformed entities, or when it has, that has been the exception,” Disney wrote on the “Wide Angle” PBS website and reiterated at EMU. “Rather, war marches right through the center of everything – through house, hearth and field – ripping a hole into the center of things that can never be entirely repaired."

After showing a trailer of “Women, War & Peace” to the audience of about 60, Disney moderated a discussion by three women: Leymah; Dekha Ibrahim Abdi, a Kenyan-Muslim woman of Somali ethnic origin who received the 2007 Right Livelihood Prize (alternative Nobel Prize); and Koila CostelloOlsson, another MA graduate of CJP and the director of the Pacific Centre for Peacebuilding. Abdi spoke about war strategies that include systematic raping of women and rendering them homeless, as means of destabilizing a society. She has worked with African women, however, who have learned to use resistance techniques to the waging of war, such as refusing to cook food for the warriors. They have also used intermediaries, such as elderly women as negotiators and as catalysts to reduce violent conflict in their regions. Leymah, Disney, Abdi and Costello-Olsson were among the 20 participants in a three-day conference that began June 9, 2011, at EMU. It brought together female peace workers from nine countries to learn from each other’s experiences and to explore the potential value of an educational program tailored to women peacebuilders. “In collaboration with CJP graduates and partners, we wanted to explore whether future women peacebuilders would benefit from a program focused on the distinctive needs, skills and strengths of women,” said CJP executive director Lynn Roth. In addition to Leymah’s work in Liberia, other women at the consultation had spent decades living and working in conflict regions of the world, such as the Kenya-Somalia border region, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Eastern Europe. The consultation took place toward the end of CJP’s annual Summer Peacebuilding Institute, from May 9 to June 17, 2011. — BPL | crossroads | 31


EMU Homecoming 2009

same locations, new creations

EMU Homecoming Homecoming and family weekend 20112009

Join us October 14-16, 2011 Share memories, make discoveries, enjoy friendship

Friday, October 14 Homecoming chapel assembly Lehman Auditorium, 10 a.m. Featured speakers: Douglas Hostetter, representative to the United Nations for Mennonite Central Committee, and Leymah Gbowee, world-recognized leader of women’s peace movement in Africa and 2011 Alumna of the Year recipient Art exhibit Hartzler library gallery, open during library hours Symposium: “Societies in transition: from instability to peace” Campus Center, Strite conference room (#105), 1-4 p.m. Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP) faculty and alumni will reflect on their experiences with societies transitioning from widespread violent conflict. Registration and welcome center University Commons, 3-9 p.m. Evening meal Available in Northlawn dining hall, 5-6:30 p.m.; pay at the door.   Donor appreciation banquet University Commons lower level, 5:30 p.m. Doner appreciation banquet hosted by President Swartzendruber for members of EMU's giving societies and Jubilee Friends. By invitation EMU Theater: The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde Mainstage Theater, 8 p.m. Please see description and ticket information on inside back cover.  Documentary showing, with discussion 8 p.m., Lehman Auditorium The powerful documentary “Pray the Devil Back to Hell” by Abigail Disney features Leymah Gbowee, a CJP graduate of EMU and an acclaimed leader of the women’s peace movement in West Africa. Gbowee, EMU’s 2011 Alumna of the Year, will be present for discussion following the documentary showing.   32 | crossroads | summer 2011

Saturday, October 15 Registration and welcome center University Commons, 7:30 a.m- 2 p.m.   Science center annual breakfast and program Suter Science Center, 8 a.m. Guest speaker: Frank E. Shelp ’80, MD, MPH, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. Reservations necessary Haverim and seminary alumni breakfast and program Seminary foyer, 8 a.m. Keynote speaker: President Loren Swartzendruber ’76, MDiv ’79, DMin. Reservations necessary   Business and economics breakfast and program Discipleship Center, 8 a.m. Dr. Bruno Dyck’s presentation will be based on a book he is writing, Luke on Management. Bruno ’82, holds a PhD in business from the University of Alberta and is a professor at the University of Manitoba. His research looks at the role of values on how organizations learn and change. He has researched church and related organizations, including Mennonite Economic Development Associates, Mennonite Central Committee, and various church conflicts. Reservations necessary   Nurses’ breakfast Campus Center, 3rd floor nursing department, 8 a.m. A continental breakfast will be served in the classroom section of the lab. Reservations necessary Hall of Honor breakfast and awards University Commons Court C, 8:30 a.m. Danielle Conser Siembida ‘99, Mike Gale ‘01 and Sara Peifer Nissley ‘01 will be inducted into the Athletics Hall of Honor. Sponsored by the Loyal Royals and EMU Athletics Department. Reservations necessary Center for Justice and Peacebuilding breakfast and reunion 8:30-10:30 a.m. Library, room 121 CJP alumni, faculty, and staff will gather for a continental breakfast, brief program, and discussion. Reservations necessary

Crossroads Summer 2011 - Alumni Magazine of Eastern Mennonite University