Gilberto Pérez Jr. '94 (seated, middle), vice president for student life at Goshen College, won his bid for a city council seat in Goshen, Indiana, in the Nov. 5 election. He will be the first Latino council member in a city that is 33-34% Latino, according to Goshen Mayor Jeremy Stutsman. Pérez was EMU's 2018 Distinguished Service Award recipient. (Courtesy photo)

EMU Distinguished Service alum awardee gets out the vote in historic council win

In a photo taken after his historic City Council election win Nov. 5, Gilberto Pérez Jr. ’94, GC ’99 is surrounded by beaming supporters. Asked for a caption a few days later, Pérez replied, “Humbled by the support received from the Latinx community from Goshen. Glad to know the road to City Council was with friends and volunteers.”

Gilberto Pérez Jr. is a 1994 alumnus of Eastern Mennonite University. He also earned a graduate certificate in conflict transformation in 1999 and was recognized by his alma mater in 2018 with the Distinguished Service Award. (Courtesy photo)

Public service and community engagement is far from a new endeavor for Pérez, who was recognized by his alma mater with EMU’s 2018 Distinguished Service Award for his many contributions as therapist, social worker, peace evangelist, mental health advocate, social work professor and college administrator. In addition to EMU’s recognition, he has earned awards from the Governor’s Commission on Hispanic/Latino Affairs, Indiana Undocumented Youth Alliance and Elkhart County Schools.

The vice president of student life at Goshen College is now the first Latino member and also the first Goshen College employee to be elected to the council, according to The Record, Goshen College’s newspaper.

The city is “33-34% Latino with more than 50% Latino students in the public schools,” according to Mayor Jeremy Stutsman.

In a 2018 interview in EMU’s Crossroads magazine, Pérez shared that his overarching goal has been simply to follow in Jesus’s footsteps, in his own words “living fully into the work of serving others.”

Now he’ll continue in his service to others as an elected representative.

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