Board of Trustees Welcomes New Chairperson

Sheryl K. Wyse, outgoing chair of the EMU board of trustees
Sheryl K. Wyse (l.), outgoing chair of the EMU board of trustees, passes the gavel to new board chair Susan W. Godshall.
Photo by Jim Bishop

The chairperson of the EMU board of trustees passed the gavel to her successor at the close of the board’s June 25-26 meeting on campus.

Sheryl K. Wyse of Harrisonburg, who chaired the 17-member governing body for six of her 10 years of service, is succeeded by Susan E. Godshall of Mount Joy, Pa. Godshall joined the EMU board in 1998 as one of several representatives from Lancaster (PA) Mennonite Conference.

Wyse, a 1968 EMU alumna, joined the trustee board in November 1994, several months after Eastern Mennonite College and Seminary officially became Eastern Mennonite University. She succeeded Paul R. Yoder, Jr., as board chair in July 1998. She worked closely with former EMU President Joseph L. Lapp for most of her tenure, then with acting president Beryl H. Brubaker from May-December 2003 before Loren E. Swartzendruber took office in January, 2004.

Wyse originally intended to leave the board chairmanship after serving two four-year terms, but agreed to continue in the role during the presidential transition period from Lapp to Swartzendruber.

Wyse was staff person on the presidential selection committee that saw Swartzendruber emerge as the “candidate of choice” and subsequently appointed EMU’s eighth president on Feb. 12, 2003 by the Mennonite Education Agency (MEA) and the EMU board of trustees.

“I’ve appreciated working with all three presidents,” Wyse said. “Each had their own strengths, but all three exhibited a personal relationship with Christ, were dedicated to strengthing EMU as a Christian, Anabaptist university and promoted the ideal of students experiencing faith and learning in the classroom.”

While she cites the completion and dedication of the spacious University Commons in October, 2000, as a highlight in terms campus facilities expansion, Wyse prefers to focus on the emergence of the graduate master’s programs – counseling, education, business administration and Conflict Transformation Program – as one of the most satisfying aspects of her work on the board. Another satisfaction, she said, was “bridging the change from Mennonite Board of Education’s oversight of three schools to Mennonite Education Agency with five schools.

“I’ll miss the relationships, the cameraderie, the most,” Wyse said of her leaving the trustee body. “I got to know and work with people whom I wouldn’t have otherwise. EMU has excellent leadership, and I hope I was able to be an effective communicator between the governing board and its campus leadership personnel.”

Wyse brought 30 years of public school teaching and administrative experience to her role at EMU. She became principal at Spotswood Elementary and Thomas Harrison Junior High in Harrisonburg. She later worked six years with the city’s central office with instruction K-12 and three-and-a-half years in human resources at the former Computer Management and Development Services (CMDS, now Jenzebar) in Harrisonburg that her husband, Dwight O. Wyse, founded in 1980. Dwight Wyse was also a 1968 EMU graduate. They have one adult son, Derek.

Godshall, who graduated from EMU in 1965 with a bachelor’s degree in modern language education, is currently enrolled in a Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program at Philhaven, Mt. Gretna, Pa., and is a volunteer with the Lancaster Victim-Offender Reconciliation (VORP) program.

She previously worked six years as director for Africa in the overseas ministries department of Eastern Mennonite Missions, Salunga, Pa., and before that was an administrator in the personnel (human resources) department at Mennonite Central Committee, Akron, Pa.

Godshall is an elder and Sunday school teacher at Blossom Hill Mennonite Church near Lancaster.

The new trustees chair is married to Stanley M. Godshall, also an EMU graduate. He is a physician with Norlanco Family Health Center, Elizabethtown, Pa. The couple has three adult children – Stephen, Erica and Timothy – and five grandchildren.

“It’s been a good and full six years of service on the EMU board,” Godshall said. “The school has grown tremendously, and it feels like we’re starting a new chapter in the life of the university with a new president. I’m excited to see both EMU and its supporting denomination, Mennonite Church USA, grow together in the coming years,” she added.

The EMU board meets three times a year on campus.