Citing her exemplary leadership in guiding the university into its second century, the Eastern Mennonite University Board of Trustees has unanimously appointed President Susan Schultz Huxman to a second five-year term, effective Oct. 1, 2020, through Sept. 30, 2025.
The board’s resolution of affirmation notes “Dr. Huxman’s strategic and unwavering leadership, advocacy of EMU’s mission and core values, commitment to Mennonite higher education, and steely resolve in facing the challenges of higher education.”
Additionally, board chair Kay Nussbaum highlighted Huxman’s support of greater institutional commitments around diversity, equity and inclusion and ability to build relationships with external and internal constituencies as “tremendous gifts for EMU and the broader community in these challenging times.”
“We are profoundly grateful that President Huxman has accepted the call of a second term as EMU’s ninth president,” said Nussbaum. “We offer to her our unequivocal support and prayers, as we work together to fulfill EMU’s mission and bold vision. May God, who has called President Huxman to this task, provide her with strength and joy in it.”
Huxman, who began her first term Jan. 1, 2017, said she is “honored and humbled” by the reappointment and its affirmation of her service to the university.
“I am truly blessed to work side-by-side with such a forward-thinking, fully engaged board of trustees and to be surrounded by a strong executive leadership team and cabinet that position EMU to listen, learn and ‘Lead Together’ around the vital academic, social, spiritual and moral issues of our day. It brings me great joy to serve our exceptional community of learners — students, faculty and staff who live into our noble mission every day — and to champion their successes to so many other stakeholders far and wide.”
The reappointment was the result of a comprehensive assessment of presidential and board leadership, completed in the spring of 2020 by an ad hoc committee, chaired by board member Charlotte Hunsberger, and with the services of a third-party consultant firm.
Among an extensive list of accomplishments, Nussbaum pointed to Huxman’s leadership on a new strategic plan, as well as a new vision statement and revitalized brand launch. “These three key organizational contributions have strengthened and prepared EMU for current and future challenges,” she said. “Even now, during a time of global uncertainty, we’ve witnessed ongoing growth, innovative response and expansion of EMU’s mission.”
Huxman’s stewardship has led to increased fiscal health, literacy and transparency, including the preservation of positive margin for two consecutive years, Nussbaum said. Huxman has also worked with passion and energy, in concert with advancement division staff, to build investment in EMU’s endowment and to support other significant fundraising initiatives, including the completion of Suter Science West renovations.
EMU has benefited from Huxman’s leadership in strengthening relationships and increasing visibility within Mennonite Church USA and other denominations, as well as with the City of Harrisonburg, Rockingham County, alumni, business leaders and peer professional organizations, Nussbaum said.
The reappointment brought affirmation from the Mennonite Education Agency (MEA). “The university is fortunate to have Susan Schultz Huxman as its president,” said interim director Thomas Stuckey, who is the organization’s representative on EMU’s Board of Trustees. “She is a person of integrity, a visionary leader, and a person very interested in maintaining close relationships with students, staff and faculty, the Harrisonburg community and the Mennonite Church. MEA staff and board members will continue to hold EMU in our prayers.”
Huxman expressed thanks for the support of MEA and the broader church as she embarks on a second term at EMU. “Serving an Anabaptist university is kingdom work,” she said. “I’m thankful for my family’s support, especially that of my husband, to this call and I pray that God guides me and all of us ‘while we run this race.’”
Huxman has served for more than 25 years in higher education in a variety of administrative and academic leadership roles. She has served as Eastern Mennonite University’s ninth president since Jan. 1, 2017.
A graduate of Bethel College, Huxman holds an MA and PhD in communication studies from University of Kansas. She has earned the rank of full professor.