Eastern Mennonite University

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Swartzendruber Inauguration Set at EMU

Loren E. SwartzendruberLoren E. Swartzendruber will be officially inaugurated as president of Eastern Mennonite University in ceremonies Mar. 27, 2004.

The inauguration, to be held at 2 p.m. that day in the University Commons main arena, will take place nearly three months after Dr. Swartzendruber takes office on Jan. 1 as EMU’s eighth president. He will succeed Joseph L. Lapp, who concluded a 16-year tenure in May this year. EMU academic provost Dr. Beryl H. Brubaker has been interim president since then.

"The inaugural theme is 'story shaping story,'" noted Karen B. Miller, director of institutional research and effectiveness at EMU and chair of the inauguration planning committee. "We want to reflect on how the stories from the past shape the present and the future and to remember and share ways that our individual stories have come together at EMU and shaped each other as we together create a community of faith and learning," she said, adding that the occasion coincides with the university's board of trustees meeting on campus.

Swartzendruber most recently was president of Hesston College, a two-year Mennonite school in Hesston, Kan. He was the presidential selection committee’s top choice to become the next EMU president. He subsequently received a unanimous endorsement from the EMU board of trustees and the Mennonite Education Agency (MEA).

The president-elect is winding up a six-month transition and orientation period. Swartzendruber has met with presidents of numerous Christian colleges and universities across the country for learning and counsel, attended the Mennonite Church USA biennial meeting in Atlanta in July and Mennonite World Conference in Zimbabwe in August and is meeting with pastors and other church leaders of Mennonite district conferences up and down the Eastern Seaboard.

Swartzendruber will return to his alma mater, having graduated from EMU in 1976 with a bachelor of arts degree in liberal arts and from Eastern Mennonite Seminary with a master of divinity degree in 1979. He received a doctor of ministry degree in church leadership from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2000.

He became president of Hesston College in 1994 after serving 10 years as associate executive secretary of the former Mennonite Board of Education in Elkhart, Ind.

After graduating from EMU, Swartzendruber was an associate director of admissions and part-time associate campus pastor at his alma mater. He was ordained to the Christian ministry in 1975 at Lower Deer Creek Mennonite Church near his birthplace of Kalona, Iowa, and was pastor at Salford Mennonite Church, Harleysville, Pa., 1978-83.

Swartzendruber is married to Patricia Swartzendruber, who was executive vice president for marketing and development at Prairie View, a behavioral health organization in Newton, Kan. She now works part time as a regional marketing consultant with Advancement Associates. The couple has four adult children, three of whom are EMU alumni.

Posted: December 5, 2003