Eastern Mennonite University

Swartzendruber Appointed EMU President


The Swartzendruber family (standing, l. to r.): Steve, Angela and Tim Swartzendruber. (Seated): Loren and Pat Swartzendruber, Beth (Swartzendruber) Goertzen and Michael Goertzen.

Dr. Loren E. Swartzendruber, the search committee’s "candidate of choice," will become the next president of Eastern Mennonite University on July 1, 2003.

Sheryl K. Wyse, chair of the EMU board of trustees and Rosalind E. Andreas, board chair of Mennonite Education Agency (MEA), announced the formal appointment in a Feb. 12 chapel service at EMU. Swartzendruber and his wife, Patricia Swartzendruber, were present for the announcement.

The EMU board of trustees and the churchwide Mennonite Education Agency voted unanimously to appoint Swartzendruber as the university's eighth president. The boards took final action following his Jan. 23-24 visit to campus for meetings with faculty, staff, students and other constituent groups.

The 53-year old educational administrator is currently president of Hesston College, a two-year Mennonite institution in Hesston, Kan. He takes office on Jan. 1, 2004.

"I am pleased that the search committee could bring our first choice candidate to campus and receive the strong support we've seen from all segments of the constituency," said James L. Rosenberger of State College, Pa., search committee chair.

"Leading a church university involves complex relationships. The search committee felt strongly that Loren Swartzendruber's ability to relate well to all sectors and his ability to communicate the mission of EMU would be valuable," Dr. Rosenberger said. "He has a long history and deep understanding of both EMU and the broader Mennonite Church, which gives him a head start in building the trust relationships needed to build on the vision of the institution."

Joseph L. Lapp will conclude his fourth four-year presidential term on June 30, 2003. He announced earlier his desire not to accept another term.

During the six-month interim, EMU academic provost Beryl H. Brubaker will be acting president. Dr. Brubaker has been a teaching and administrative faculty member at the university since 1970.

"I am honored and humbled by the opportunity to serve the church and EMU in this leadership role," Swartzendruber said of his appointment. "My primary calling has been to serve the Mennonite Church, and I have long known that our educational institutions play a critical role in the preparation of students for service in the church and world." (more...)

"As parents of several EMU graduates, Pat and I have experienced first-hand the dynamic quality of the academic environment and the positive influence the university has on its students," he added. (More)

"President Lapp's leadership has strengthened the institution in numerous ways, and I look forward to joining the gifted faculty and staff who care deeply about the mission of EMU."

"Loren Swartzendruber is committed to building the church through strong educational institutions," said Carlos Romero, MEA executive director. "His proven record and his passion for the church and higher education will be significant assets for EMU."

Swartzendruber 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.

Swartzendruber graduated from EMU in 1976 with a bachelor of arts degree in liberal arts and earned a master of divinity degree from Eastern Mennonite Seminary in 1979. He received a doctor of ministry degree from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2000.

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.

Current academic roles include membership and secretary of the Kansas Independent College Association and Kansas Independent College Fund and the American Association of Higher Education. He is a member of the Harvey County (Kan.) Historical Society board of directors and the Hesston Historical Society board of directors. He and his wife Patricia are members of the Hesston Mennonite Church.

Patricia Swartzendruber is an executive vice president for marketing and development at Prairie View, a behavioral health organization in Newton, Kan. The couple has four adult children — Steve, Angela, Tim and Beth.

Steve Swartzendruber is a first-year student at Eastern Mennonite Seminary, Tim is a regional director of development for EMU, Angela is a senior social work major at EMU and Beth, of Goshen, Ind., is married to Michael Goertzen, a science teacher at Bethany Christian High School, Goshen.

- by Jim Bishop
A joint release of Eastern Mennonite University and Mennonite Education Agency
Posted: February 12, 2003