The steering committee for the 100th anniversary celebration of Eastern Mennonite University in 2017-18 will be chaired by Louise Otto Hostetter, a 1979 graduate who has served on many boards in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
“We are delighted that Louise is willing to share her people skills, organizational gifts, eye for detail and enthusiasm with EMU at this important time in our history,” said Andrea Wenger, EMU’s director of marketing and communications.
Hostetter will work with those giving leadership to various aspects of the year’s celebrations, including large-venue events involving music, theater and art; alumni gatherings; worship services; academic department gatherings; storytelling; and displays. She will oversee the master schedule and manage the centennial budget.
“EMU began with the vision of relatively few people and has grown over the past 100 years to a global community,” said Hostetter. “With the resources of those who are currently involved with EMU as well as those with past connections, we can explore and honor the history of EMU with a variety of events in 2017-18 as well as celebrate the vision going forward.”
Hostetter also serves on: the advisory boards for Sentara RMH Medical Center Foundation and the Forbes Center arts complex at James Madison University; the church council of Community Mennonite Church; and the board of Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival.
In 2011-13 she co-chaired the capital campaign for the RMH Funkhouser Women’s Center and in 2010-11 she was president of the EMU Alumni Council. From 1999 to 2012 she was an intensive individualized instructor at Eastern Mennonite School.
Coming to EMU from Arcola, Ill., Hostetter majored in English education and met her future husband, Alden Hostetter ’79, a pathologist. All three of their sons have attended EMU.
A 10-member planning task force began meeting in 2008 “to plan for a centennial plan,” said Wenger. The task force commissioned a history of EMU by Donald Kraybill, a 1967 graduate who is the nation’s best-known writer on Amish and Mennonite culture. A sociologist by training, he is a professor at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania and the author of dozens of publications.
A page on the EMU website, emu.edu/centennial, invites submissions of stories and photographs for centennial celebration use and ideas for the centennial committee to consider.
The centennial celebrations will last throughout the academic year of 2017-18. The biggest gathering will likely be during Homecoming & Parents Weekend in October. A worship service on Oct. 19 will mark exactly 100 years since the start of classes in 1917.