"Anytime I've needed to work with Bruce or Ramona [Lantz] with special catering needs or events, they are adaptable and easy to work with, willing to take on special events such as the Late Night Breakfast," said Byron Peachey, associate campus pastor at university chapel. Photo by Travis Duerksen.

EMU and Emmerson: A Recipe for Success

The award-winning food services team at Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) received further acknowledgement of their dedication and willingness to go “above and beyond” at university chapel on Wednesday, Dec. 7.

Daryl Bert, vice president for finance, opened chapel by praising the tireless efforts of Bruce Emmerson, food services director for Pioneer Catering, which operates 52 kitchens nationwide.  Emmerson, who was named Pioneer’s “rookie of the year,” in 2007 and “director of the year,” in 2011, has continuously improved the quality of services that are offered to the students, faculty, staff and visitors of EMU, said Bert.

“I have appreciated how seriously Bruce takes feedback from our community by personally, wittily and publicly responding to feedback cards in the cafeteria,” said Bert. “I am always amazed at how quickly Bruce implements themes from the survey forms into the food service experience in the cafeteria…

“I believe this attention to quality is validated by the large number of faculty and staff that join students in the cafeteria for lunch on a daily basis.”

Byron Peachey, associate campus pastor, said: “Anytime I’ve needed to work with Bruce or Ramona [Lantz] with special catering needs or events, they are adaptable and easy to work with, willing to take on special events such as the Late Night Breakfast… The food is always consistently delicious and varied.”

EMU routinely hosts outside groups, conferences and youth camps over the summer which adds to Emmerson’s schedule. LeDayne McLeese Polaski, program coordinator for the Baptist Peace Fellowship also praised the work of Emmerson and Matthew Hunsberger, Lehman Auditorium facility technician, in a written statement to Bert.

After stating that her Fellowship puts EMU at the top of the list, Polaski added: “I would be remiss if I did not mention the excellent work of Matt Hunsberger and Bruce Emmerson… They are true professionals who go above and beyond the call of duty to provide excellent service.”

Below is a list of students who were honored at the chapel ceremony for academics, athletics and community service.

Fall Season

Men’s Cross Country:

Dan Nafziger: ODAC Athlete of the Week (Sept. 1-5), All-ODAC Second Team, All-South/Southeast Region First Team, NCAA National Championships participant


Field Hockey:

Nicole Bencsik: All-ODAC Second Team

Jenessa Derstine: All-ODAC Third Team

Valerie Landis: ODAC All-Tournament Team, All-ODAC First Team

Adriana Santiago: ODAC All-Tournament Team, All-ODAC First Team


Men’s Soccer:

Barkot Akalu: All-ODAC Third Team

Kevin Chico: ODAC All-Tournament Team, All-ODAC First Team

Ryan Eshleman: ODAC All-Tournament Team, CoSIDA Capital One Academic All-District Team, All-ODAC First Team

Mitchell Leap: ODAC Player of the Week (Sept. 19-25), ODAC Player of the Week (Oct. 3-9), ODAC Player of the Week (Oct. 24-30), All-ODAC First Team

Brent Yoder:    All-ODAC Third Team


Women’s Cross Country:

Katie Eckman: All-ODAC Second Team


Women’s Volleyball:

Tabitha Bowman: CUA Guetle All-Invitational Team

Brittany Childress: EMU Hampton Inn & Sleep Inn All-Invitational Team


Winter Season

Men’s Basketball:

Owen Longacre: Marymount Tip-Off Tournament All-Tournament Team


Women’s Basketball:

Raiven Patterson: EMU Tip-Off Classic Most Outstanding Player

Kala Yoders: All-EMU Tip-Off Classic Team


Intensive English Program

Fanty Polanco

Maria Pena

Jihoo Park


Academic Support Center-Tutors

Stacy Kinkaid

Haleigh Hershberger

Lyubov Slashcheva


Kennedy Center/American College Theater Festival nominations

Elizabeth Gannaway

Julia King

Justin Rittenhouse (alternate)

Jamie Hiner (stage manager)


Pastoral Assistant Recognition

Mitchell Stutzman – 1.5 years as pastoral assistant


Nursing Department Outstanding Service Award

Rebekah [last name omitted on request]


Student Government Association

Hannah Patterson, Senator

Joel Choi, Senator

Louise Babikow, Senator

Brittney Wenger, Senator

Katrina Goering, Senator

Daniel Sigmans, Treasurer

Nels Åkerson, c0-President