The president’s cabinet is ready, willing and able as 2014 begins

By Bonnie Price Lofton | January 8th, 2014


President Loren Swartzendruber

 Loren Swartzendruber and his cabinet of nine are at the helm of Eastern Mennonite University‘s ship on a daily basis, guiding students’ study and employees’ work in a myriad of direct and indirect ways. In the autumn of 2013 these 10 navigators experienced favorable conditions. They attended inspiring, or at least thought-provoking, chapels on diverse topics such as Ken Medema’s “abide in my love” and seminary professor David Evans on the suspicions faced by black men.

They cheered the women’s basketball team as it racked up an impressive record. They welcomed back a cross-cultural group from Spain and Morocco and one from China. They applauded student-planned events like formal dances and hikes to Reddish Knob. They enjoyed envisioning a renovated Suter Science Center. And they reported to the board of trustees that EMU’s graduate and undergraduate programs have never been stronger.

Beyond operating in their usual fields of expertise, these 10 leaders received some attention from outside the university in the wake of a November decision of the board of trustees to entrust the president and his cabinet “to design and oversee a six-month listening process (beginning January 2014) with EMU’s multiple constituencies” with the purpose of reviewing “current hiring policies and practices with respect to individuals in same-sex relationships.”

“As a Christian university it is our responsibility to engage in community discussion and discernment over issues that Mennonite congregations – indeed almost all denominations in the United States today – are wrestling with,” Swartzendruber told faculty and staff during a 90-minute “University Forum.” He noted that the board made this recommendation unanimously and stressed that the outcome of the “listening process” cannot be predicted in advance of holding it. Cabinet will report on the results of this discernment to the board at its June 20-21 meeting.

Pictured are the nine permanent cabinet members, who are joined on a rotating basis by two others – representatives of the undergraduate faculty (currently Lori Leaman, PhD, of the education department) and a representative of the graduate faculty (currently David Brubaker, PhD, of the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding).

Left to Right:


  • Twila K. Yoder, MA ’98, Assistant to the President
  • Michael A. King ’76, PhD (Temple University), Vice President and Seminary Dean
  • Daryl W. Bert ’97, MBA (University of Texas-Austin), Vice President for Finance


  • Kirk L. Shisler ’81, Vice President for Advancement
  • Ken L. Nafziger ’79, PhD (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Vice President for Student Life
  • Luke Hartman ’91, PhD (Virginia Tech), Vice President for Enrollment


  • Jim Smucker, PhD (Walden University), Vice President and Dean of Graduate Studies
  • Fred Kniss ’79, PhD (University of Chicago), Provost
  • Deirdre Smeltzer ’87, PhD (University of Virginia), Vice President and Undergraduate Academic Dean


EMU’s board of trustees establish policy for the university and monitor how this policy has been implemented between their quarterly meetings. Current members of EMu’s board of trustees are:

  • Andrew Dula, chair, Lancaster, Pa.
  • Wilma Bailey, Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Evon Bergey, Perkasie, Pa.
  • Myron Blosser, Harrisonburg, Va.
  • John Bomberger, Harrisonburg, Va.
  • Herman Bontrager, Ephrata, Pa.
  • Shana Peachey Boshart, Wellman, Iowa
  • Jonathan Bowman, Manheim, Pa. (associate trustee)
  • Randall (Randy) Bowman, Archbold, Ohio
  • Janet Breneman, Lancaster, Pa.
  • David Hersh, Line Lexington, Pa. (associate trustee)
  • Gerald R. Horst, New Holland, Pa.
  • Charlotte Hunsberger, Souderton, Pa.
  • Clyde Kratz, Harrisonburg, Va.
  • Chad Lacher, Souderton, Pa. (associate trustee)
  • Kevin Longenecker, Harrisonburg, Va.
  • E. Thomas Murphy, Jr., Harrisonburg, Va. (associate trustee)
  • Kathleen (Kay) Nussbaum, Grant, Minn.
  • Dannie Otto, Urbana, Ill.
  • Mark Prock, Virginia Beach, Va. (associate trustee)
  • Carlos Romero – Goshen, Ind. (Mennonite Education Agency representative)
  • Amy L. Rush, Harrisonburg, Va.
  • Jeffrey (Jeff) Shank, Sarasota, Fla.
  • Robert Steury, Goshen, Ind.
  • Judith Trumbo, Broadway, Va. (associate trustee)
  • Anne Kaufman Weaver, Brownstown, Pa.

– Bonnie Price Lofton