Highlights from the President’s Desk

What do people say about EMU? 

  • When I answered the call to serve Eastern Mennonite University in January of 2017, my peacebuilding colleagues in Canada said: Oh, that’s the university that has established an international reputation in restorative justice, the place where an African president and other dignitaries have been trained, and the first Anabaptist college to graduate a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
  • I was introduced in the Virginia statehouse as president of the first college in the state to admit an African-American student in 1948—significant for a Southern university.
  • In the Council of Independent Colleges of Virginia (CICV), EMU is recognized for trailblazing creation care initiatives that include recycling, bicycling, LEED certified residence halls, community gardens, and the first to build a micro-grid to power our campus independently of local utilities if needed.
  • EMU alumni say with great regularity that the most compelling part of their academic experience is the “life-changing” cross cultural requirement. For 38 years EMU has taken students to 60 countries outside the U.S. and 20 different locations in the U.S. We’ve been named #10 in the Top Colleges to Study Abroad in Best Choice Schools rankings.
  • This year, even Forbes magazine had something to say about us: We are ranked among Best Return-On-Investment schools in the country for the high number of alums who were satisfied with their education and gave back to their alma mater at twice the national average.
  • Of course, not all accounts are glowing. For a wide variety of commentary, I invite you to delve into our colorful centennial saga, EMU: A Century of Countercultural Education (Penn State Univ. Press, 2017)  by Donald Kraybill. He tells the story of a Mennonite school that arguably began in the most conservative and protective of theological soil to later bloom perennially on tough issues of diversity and social justice, blooms that jolted and alarmed some constituencies. As he notes: a reputable university press only agreed to publish the book because it was not so predictably honorific as most coffee-table centennial books. Slings and arrows share space with cheers and warm embrace.

These highlights are provided for readers of the president’s column in The Mennonite.

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