Senior Given Peace Award

Peace award recipient Julia R. Gingrich with Dale Long and Eugene Stoltzfus
Peace award recipient Julia R. Gingrich with Dale Long (l.), who initiated the recognition, and Eugene Stoltzfus of Keezletown, Va., son of the late Grant M. Stoltzfus. The Stoltzfus family has set up an endowment to fund the award annually.
Photo by Jim Bishop

An Eastern Mennonite University graduating senior has received the first “Grant Stoltzfus Peace Award.”

The honor went to Julia R. Gingrich, an applied sociology major with minors in history, political science and justice, peace and conflict studies from Goshen, Ind. She received a $500 gift.

The award was devised by Dale R. Long, a 1974 EMU graduate from Lancaster, Pa., in memory of Grant M. Stoltzfus, who taught church history at the school for 17 years. Dr. Stoltzfus was an authority on church-state relations and war-peace issues and was writing a book on the origins and development of alternative services for conscientious objectors when he died suddenly in July 1974.

Long said that the late EMU professor “was an important influence” on his life as a student, who “not only talked about peace and justice issues but reflected a true Anabaptist vision of peace and non-resistance as a way of life.”

“I am hoping that this annual recognition in Professor Stoltzfus’ memory will help inspire young adults to live out this kind of lifestyle in whatever career path they choose,” he said. The family of the late professor has established an endowment to fund the peace award annually.

To qualify for the award, a candidate must be a current EMU student in good academic standing, pursue a peaceable lifestyle that includes a commitment to peace and reconciliation in personal relationships and has publicly demonstrated a commitment to peace through involvement in peaceful or nonviolent action, working for peaceful transformation of conflicts or being active in or supportive of peacemaking-peacebuilding organizations and manifests a spiritual vitality. EMU faculty and students submitted 15 names for consideration.

“My commitment to peace is fundamentally shaped by a belief in the centrality of relationships,” Ms. Gingrich said. “I believe that Christians are called to be a reconciling and transforming presence in this world by building relationships with people across social divides.”

Gingerich was co-president of EMU Peace Fellowship this year as well as fall semester last year. She was a founding member of “RAIN” (Raising Awareness in Iraq Now), a student-led initiative on campus.

She will be a staff member of EMU’s Summer Peacebuilding Institute to be held May 7-June 17 before starting a one-year assignment with the SALT (Serving and Learning Together) program at a Coptic-Orthodox retreat center in Egypt under the auspices of Mennonite Central Committee, Akron, Pa. She is a member of Waterford Mennonite Church, Goshen.