90th Commencement Exercises Set for April 27

EMU will culminate activities marking its 90th anniversary year with its annual commencement exercises to be held 1 p.m. Sunday, Apr. 27 on the front lawn of campus, weather permitting.

President Loren Swartzendruber will confer 411 degrees – 291 undergraduate, 89 graduate, 17 associate degrees, 7 graduate certificates and 7 Study and 7 pastoral ministry certificates on graduates of the STEP (Training for Effective Pastoral Ministry) program at EMU Lancaster (PA).
Last year, EMU awarded 403 degrees.

Key Speaker

Beryl Brubaker
Beryl H. Brubaker, EMU provost

Beryl H. Brubaker, EMU provost, will give the commencement address on the theme, “A Metaphor for Remembering.”

Dr. Brubaker has devoted 37 years of her life to a variety of teaching and administrative roles at Eastern Mennonite University. She has been provost since 2000, responsible to give overall guidance to the school’s undergraduate and graduate academic programs, Eastern Mennonite Seminary, various university services and the Adult Degree Completion Program.

In 2003, Brubaker served seven months as interim president at EMU. She plans to officially retire in June 2008 but will continue on a part-time basis to manage aspects of the upcoming Southern Association of Colleges and Schools reaccreditation process.

Brubaker joined the EMU nursing department faculty in 1970 and became department chair of the innovative program in 1984. Prior to becoming provost, she was vice president for enrollment management.

She won recognition for direction of a university self-study in 1990 that resulted in the school’s reaccreditation. Among the grants she wrote was the almost $2M Title III federal grant that was used in the nineties to create EMU’s computer network.

The Belleville, Pa., native attended EMU for two years. She earned a BS degree in nursing from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, an MS in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania and a DSN in nursing from the University of Alabama.

Brubaker’s churchwide and community involvements have included serving as past president of District 9 of the Virginia Nurses Association and as a board member of Mennonite Mutual Aid (MMA), the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Free Clinic, Pleasant View Homes and Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community. She received the Anabaptist Health Care Award from MMA for “distinguished service within health, educational, community and church settings over four decades.”

She is married to J. Mark Brubaker, who teaches biology at James Madison University. The couple has two adult daughters and four grandchildren.


During the ceremony, “graduates’ perspectives” will be given by Emi Oda, a Justice, Peace and Conflict Studies major from Sapporo, Japan; Jered Lyons, a communication major from Frederick, Md.; Jacqueline C. Bulanow, Herndon, Va., graduating with an MA degree in education; and Joseph H. Morris of Harrisonburg, an Adult Degree Completion Program student receiving a BS degree in management and Organizational development.

Oda and Lyons are two of the 10 recipients of EMU’s “Cords of Distinction,” annually bestowed on students who exemplify the school’s highest ideals. Read more…

Baccalaureate Address

Christian Early
Christian Early, associate professor of philosophy and theology

The seniors have elected Christian Early, associate professor of philosophy and theology at EMU, to be speaker for the baccalaureate service to be held 7 p.m. Saturday, Apr. 26, in Lehman Auditorium. Dr. Early earned a BA in biblical studies from the University of the Nations in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii; an MA in theology from Fuller Theological Seminary and a PhD in philosophy from the University of Wales.

Originally from Denmark, he previously taught at Fuller Theological Seminary and at Azuza Pacific University. He specializes in philosophy of religion.

The salutation will be given by senior class co-presidents Lisa King, a nursing major from Harrisonburg; and Christopher Lehman, an English major from Chambersburg, Pa.

EMU music students will give a short concert in Lehman Auditorium immediately following the baccalaureate service. President and Mrs. Swartzendruber will host a reception for the graduates and their families in the University Commons, second floor corridor, immediately following that program.

In case of rain, commencement exercises will be held in the Yoder Arena of University Commons, which can accommodate 3,600 people. An announcement to that effect will be made by 11 a.m. that day on WEMC, 91.7 FM, and other area radio stations.