Cords of distinction recipients: (left to right) Benjamin Bailey, Brendon Derstine, Brandon Habron, Katie Jantzen, Clothilda Johnson, Katherine Landis, Rebekah Maldonado-Nofziger, Michelle Ramirez and Andrew Richter (not pictured: Grace Engle). Photo by Molly Kraybill.

Graduates Honored for Contributions to Campus, Community

Ten graduating seniors were honored as “Cords of Distinction” recipients in a ceremony held Saturday afternoon, April 28 at Eastern Mennonite University (EMU).

Faculty, staff and fellow students nominated the recipients, who 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.

They wore gold and blue cords as they graduated Sunday, April 29.

Blue represents strength of conviction that one person can help to create a better institution or community. Gold represents the love of spirit and yearning toward creating a better university environment or community.

The recipients are:


  • Benjamin Bailey, Simsbury, Conn., peacebuilding and development, Biblical studies major;
  • Brendon Derstine, Harleysville, Pa., history and social science, secondary education licensure;
  • Grace Engle, Wauseon, Ohio, social work major;
  • Brandon Habron, Fredericksburg, Va., liberal arts major;
  • Katie Jantzen, Plymouth, Neb., environmental sustainability;
  • Clothilda Johnson, Banjul, The Gambia, nursing major;
  • Katherine Landis, Lancaster, Pa., photography, digital media major;
  • Rebekah *[last name omitted on request], Pettisville, Ohio, nursing major;
  • Michelle Ramirez, Harrisonburg, Va., social work major;
  • Andrew Richter, Perkasie, Pa., business administration major.