The search for Eastern Mennonite University's ninth president begins with the appointment of a committee, chaired by Evon Bergey, EMU board member. Here, president Loren E. Swartzendruber '76, MDiv '79, is flanked by two of his predecessors, Joseph L. Lapp '66 (left), president from 1987-2003, and Myron Augsburger '55, BTh '58, president from 1965-1980. Swartzendruber, who became EMU's president in 2004, has announced that he will retire June 30, 2016.

Committee selected to begin the search for Eastern Mennonite University’s ninth president

Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) and Mennonite Education Agency (MEA) will begin the search for the ninth EMU president with the first meeting of the search committee set for July 10-11, 2015. The EMU Board of Trustees and the MEA Board of Directors have jointly appointed a Presidential Search Committee that includes board members as well as alumni, professors, students, pastors and church and educational leaders. All are individuals committed to the future of EMU and Mennonite education who will come together from across the campus, the church and the country in order to begin the work of calling a uniquely qualified person to lead the 98-year-old institution.

“One of the most important tasks of the [EMU and MEA] boards is the appointment of a president,” said MEA board chair Judy Miller. “The charge to the committee is to create a presidential position profile informed by multiple perspectives including existing statements of strategic direction for the university. The committee will review the position profile with both the EMU and MEA boards and promote the position in order to generate a broad range of candidates. Committee work will culminate in recommendation of a candidate of choice to the EMU and MEA boards.”

Andy Dula, president of the EMU Board of Trustees, said, “I am grateful for the diversity of life experiences and perspectives represented by this committee. I am confident that the search committee, led by trustee Evon Bergey, will recommend a president ideally suited for leading and expanding EMU’s mission to educate students to serve and lead in the global context.”

The committee includes:

  • Evon Bergey, current EMU board member and chair of the search committee, Perkasie, Pennsylvania. Bergey is Vice President, Operations Public Sector, Magellan Health Services.
  • Shana Peachey Boshart, EMU board member, Wellman, Iowa. Boshart is conference minister for Christian formation, youth ministry, congregational resources and communications for Central Plains Mennonite Conference.
  • Steve Brenneman, founder and CEO of Aluminum Trailer Company, Goshen, Indiana. Brenneman is a graduate of EMU and parent of an incoming EMU student. Brenneman previously served on the board of Bethany Christian Schools and as an EMU associate trustee.
  • Hannah Chappell-Dick, EMU student, Bluffton, Ohio. This fall, Chappell-Dick will be a senior in the EMU Honors Program with a major in biology.
  • Nancy Heisey, PhD., Bible and religion professor at EMU and former academic dean, Harrisonburg, Virginia. Heisey served as president of Mennonite World Conference from 2003-2009.
  • Basil Marin, MEA board member, Harrisonburg, Virginia. Marin is a graduate of Eastern Mennonite Seminary. He serves as a pastor for New Song Anabaptist Fellowship, a member congregation of Virginia Mennonite Conference.
  • Cedric A. Moore, Jr., chief executive officer of the Spectrum Transformation Group, Richmond, Virginia. Moore is an EMU graduate and serves as vice-president of the EMU Alumni Council.
  • J. Richard Thomas, superintendent of Lancaster Mennonite School, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Thomas is a former EMU board member and former moderator for Mennonite Church USA.
  • Mark Sawin, PhD., EMU professor of history, Harrisonburg, Virginia. Sawin is the director of the EMU Honors Program and serves as a member of the Regional Chapters Committee of the American Studies Association.
  • Roy Williams, MEA board member, Tampa, Florida. Williams is a retired bank executive, the pastor of College Hill Mennonite Church and former moderator of Mennonite Church USA.
  • Carlos Romero, executive director of Mennonite Education Agency, Goshen, Indiana. Romero is an ex-officio member of the search committee.

The Presidential Search Committee is responsible to both the EMU board and the MEA board. “The 10 search committee members, selected by MEA and EMU board with faculty and student nominations were selected to ensure a wide representation of the voice of the stakeholders,” said Evon Bergey, chair of the search committee. “The committee will work to discern the leadership needs for Eastern Mennonite University, keeping closely in mind the unique contributions that EMU as a church institution has made – past, present and future – to the church, the local community and the world.”

Carlos Romero, executive director of MEA and ex-officio member of the search committee, said, “I believe the committee is well-equipped to search for and recommend a president for EMU who will help lead the institution into the future. The breadth of experience and deep commitment to EMU and Mennonite Church USA is a precious gift that each of the committee members brings to the endeavor.” Romero noted that at the first meeting in July, the committee will lay the groundwork for the search process and refine the presidential profile.

Editor’s note: Anne Kaufman Weaver ’88 was added to the committee after publication of this article. Weaver is from Brownstown, Pennsylvania, and works as a leadership coach with Coaching Connection. Weaver has served, along with her husband, Dr. Todd Weaver, on the Science Campaign Steering Committee. She will graduate in 2016 with a master’s in divinity from Eastern Mennonite Seminary.