Eastern Mennonite University

Spring 2008

Rosetta Stone: No Longer Just Family

Rosetta Stone and EMU alumni
(L to R) Ruth, John, Eugene and Kathryn (before a portrait of Allen)

Allen Grant Stoltzfus '65 thought learning a foreign language could be made much easier using software developed for that purpose. He partnered with brother-in-law John Fairfield ’70 to develop a prototype, with John doing the programming.

Allen’s brother Eugene ‘72 joined them in January 1992 to found Fairfield Language Technologies, now known as Rosetta Stone.

Seed money was provided by Allen and Eugene’s mother, Ruth Brunk Stoltzfus ’37. Sisters/attorneys Kathryn Stoltzfus Fairfield ’70 and Ruth Stoltzfus Jost ’72 later joined the company. Another sister, Helen Stoltzfus Greenberg ‘78, worked for Rosetta Stone from July 2002 to September 2003, managing retail kiosks in California.

The company has grown from six local staffers in 1992 to about 400 employees in Harrisonburg, with another 500 working elsewhere in the United States. Allen died of a heart attack at age 59 in 2002. Ruth, John, Eugene and Kathryn (pictured above) -- along with 10 fellow investors -- sold their controlling interest in January of 2006, though they remain shareholders.

There are 22 EMU alumni working this spring at Rosetta Stone:

Aaron Kishbaugh, MA ’06; Abi Gaines, MA ’05; Barry King ’92; Ben Brunk ’97; Bill Harner ’03; Ben Stutzman ’06; Bethany Versluis Fairfield ’01; Brian Miller ’02 (in Iowa); Craig Spaulding, MA ’05; Daniel Stutzman ’03 (in Colorado); Jessica Penner ’01; Jon Helfers ’08; Kai Orenic ’04; Kevin Burnett ’03; Mark Stevanus ’89; Mika Negatu-Hijjeh ’00; Mike Swartley ’04; Nick Ropp ’02; Lorinda “Rinn” Siegrist ‘89; Sam Saengmanivone ’03 (in California); Tiffany Horst ’07; Zach Nafziger ’01.

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