Students Receive ‘Cords of Distinction’ Honor

Cords of Distinction recipients 2006 Photo by Jim Bishop

They’re among Eastern Mennonite University’s most outstanding students, exemplifying the school’s highest ideals.

Ten EMU seniors, nominated by faculty, staff and fellow students, were named this year’s “Cords of Distinction” recipients in an awards ceremony held at the close of chapel Monday, Apr. 24.

They will wear the gold and blue cords as they graduate on Apr. 30, 2006.

Blue represents the strength of conviction that one person can help to create a better institution or community. Gold represents the love of spirit and yearning towards creating a better university environment or community in which all may take part.

The students were cited for their “significant and verifiable impact” on the university and on student life, for their contributions to developing the institution’s positive image, for substantial contributions to the Harrisonburg/Rockingham County area and beyond, for their high academic and social standing and their embodiment of EMU’s shared values of Christian discipleship, community, service and peacebuilding.


The “Cords of Distinction” recipients are (standing, l. to r.):

  • John Michael Stauffer, New Market, Va., major in applied sociology and English;
  • Adam D. Shank, Harrisonburg, justice, peace and conflict studies and Spanish major;
  • Sharon E. Kniss, Harrisonburg, justice, peace and conflict studies major with minors in Bible and religion and music;
  • Michael L. Kniss, Chicago, Ill., history major with minors in political science and sociology;
  • and Luella M. Kauffman, Lancaster, Pa., major in nursing with minor in psychology.

(Seated, l. to r.):

  • Aerlande P. Wontamo, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, economic development major with minors in socio-economic development and sociology;
  • Rachel A. Swartzendruber, Indianapolis, Ind., major in liberal arts and special education licensure with minors in Spanish and theater;
  • Adrienne M. Hill, Madison, Va., history major with minor in biology;
  • and Andile M. Dube, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, business administrator major with minors in communication and computer information systems.

Derrick R. Charles, Lancaster, Pa., a biblical studies and Spanish major, was honored in absentia. He is completing a cross-cultural studies program in Spain.