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Thanksgiving

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Giving Thanks at EMU

Psalm 107:1 O give thanks to the Lord, for God is good; for God's steadfast love endures forever.

As we move into the Thanksgiving season in the United States, we pause to express gratitude. EMU continues to be a place of service, leadership and transformation. We are thankful for the thousands of people who have been part of the EMU story - and those who will shape it in the future.

We invited EMU students, faculty, staff, and friends to share what they are thankful for at this moment in time. Please enjoy their comments in the slideshow below.

I am thankful for the help from my admissions counselor in making my decision to come to EMU easy and helping make it smooth transition.

Mariana Acosta – First-Year

I am thankful for my family and the chance to achieve my goals in life!

Kaitlyn Anderson – Sophomore

I am thankful for the people God has put in my life. As an introvert, I struggle sometimes to maintain and appreciate relationships, but I'm coming to realize that they are pillars He has given me to support me.

Elizabeth Baber – High School Student Taking Gen Ed Classes

I am thankful for clean facilities and beautiful grounds. Thank you, EMU cleaning and grounds staff, for creating a beautiful place for us to live and learn.

Sarah Bascom – Junior

I am thankful for my amazing housemates at Redmond and my Cedarwood folk!

Zach Bauman – Junior

I am thankful for my friends and the EMU community that make me smile!

Lexi Beard – Senior

I am thankful for friends in the group houses that I get to do life with this year.

Asha Beck – Senior

I am thankful for my friends, family, EMU community, and coffee.

Ani Beitzel – Sophomore

I am thankful for my family, as my parents celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary and our grandson Loam became (very) verbal. Whenever we gather with Loam and his parents for dinner he asks each of us by name, "What are you gwateful for?" It's a weekly reminder that we have much for which to be thankful.

David Brubaker – Dean and Professor

I am thankful that I get to start graduate school in person.

Anna Cahill – MA in Counseling, Financial Aid Assistant

I am thankful for vaccines, "the single most life-saving innovation ever in the history of medicine"! (Mark Davis, Stanford Immunologist)

A. Kate Clark – Assistant Professor of Nursing

I am thankful for the connections I have made with my classmates and faculty in my program. I am truly coming into the person I always wanted to be with their support. It is the best decision I have ever made for myself to pursue this degree, and I am grateful to have the opportunity now to develop myself for a career I am excited to start!

Coral Collins – MA in Counseling Student

I am thankful for Julie Weaver.

Laura Craft – Sophomore

I am thankful for discernment and the grace to not get in its way! EMS, here I come...

Stuart Davis – First-Year

I am thankful for time spent with family - at home, Smith Mountain Lake, or other places special to us. I am grateful for the memories we have made together.

Vanessa Derrow – Health Services

I am thankful for the many people who provide services in our community. These include the bank teller, the grocery cashier, the drug store aide, the post office clerk, among many, many others. Recently, I’ve become deliberate about meeting their eyes as we conduct our transactions, smiling, wishing them a blessed day. In these joyful moments, I feel the spark of being fully alive with them, fully human together, and I’m grateful to be part of this earth in November 2021.

Vi Dutcher – Academic Success Center Director

I am thankful for cloudy nights, wearing a warm sweater, and seeing the stars and the moon peek through.

Elizabeth Eby – Senior

I am thankful for the sustaining presence of a community of faith that generously offers love, support, and prayer.

Cathy Smeltzer Erb – Teacher Education Faculty

I am thankful for new friends and first-time experiences as we experience a "normal" school year here at EMU.

Thomas Erickson – Sophomore

I am thankful for all the friendly community members and community cats who spend time on campus.

Laurel Evans – Sophomore

I am thankful for professors who are excited to be teaching about their fields of study. I am thankful for their hard work, understanding, and genuine nature in and out of the classroom.

Abigail Forrest – First-Year

I am thankful for a loving and supportive family.

Grace Fravel – First-Year

I am thankful for wonderful colleagues, especially in my department, who share joys and sorrows and good work.

Marci Frederick – Director of Libraries

I am thankful for my family and coworkers here at EMU.

Vincena Good – Auxiliary Services

I am thankful for wifi and good conversationalists.

Jill Heine – MA in Restorative Justice '23

I am thankful for curious, energetic, and thoughtful students!

Nancy Heisey – Seminary Faculty

I am thankful that Pennsylvania is such a pretty place to live. I'm grateful I get to live in a state with mountains and rivers. I'm grateful for the view when flying.

Ella Hickey – First-Year

I am thankful for the opportunity to give and receive hugs once again.

Alyssa Himsey – Senior

I am thankful for the theater department's dedication to building a community of care, supporting students through their education and into their professional careers, and their constant energy exerted into community outreach and wellbeing.

Hailey Holcomb – Seminary Graduate Student

I am thankful that I live close to family so that I can see them more often. I am also thankful for the best roommate anyone could ask for and amazing friends who accept me for me.

Karla Hostetter – Senior

I am thankful for the opportunity to bring everyone back together after almost two years of engaging at a distance, good coffee, and the fall colors.

Paige Hurley – Senior

I am thankful for the creativity and cooperation that has kept our school open and thriving through a difficult time.

Carol Hurst – Social Work Faculty

I am thankful for the people in my life that support and love me for who I am.

Ashley Iscoa – First-Year

I am thankful to live in this beautiful piece of land that they call the Shenandoah Valley and blessed to walk alongside my family, friends, students, and colleagues on my journey.

Roger Mast – Associate Professor and Men's Soccer Head Coach

I am thankful for the inclusive pronoun policy at EMU. It helps us to show respect to all students, faculty, and staff and to allow them to maintain their dignity.

Melissa May – IEP Faculty

I am thankful for the opportunity to work remotely from my hometown in El Paso, Texas. Being in arms' reach of my family in these times of need is truly one of the best feelings, especially after living in Virginia for the past 7 years.

Cerrie Mendoza – Associate Director of Undergrad Admissions

I am thankful for my roommate, Jordan, for being the sweetest and best roommate ever and making college so fun.

Kayana Mingo – First-Year

I am thankful for my family, friends, and co-workers.

Cheryl Montgomery – Director of Auxiliary Services

I am thankful for fuzzy blankets, warm drinks, creative collaboration for social change, and building relationships face to face with my coworkers, current students, and EMU's class of 2026 (we're so excited to welcome y'all here)!

Luke Mullet – Admissions Counselor

I am thankful for vaccines which are allowing us to continue to learn together at EMU!

Audrey Myers – Nursing Faculty

I am thankful for so many things, but most of all that virtually all of my family is healthy and happy. Prayers for one of my sisters, Diane, who is battling some health issues.

Holly Pederson – Nursing Department Assistant

I am thankful for a team that makes me feel like I belong here, that I can rely on, and that makes life better every single day.

Sarah Regan – Auxiliary Services Staff

I am thankful for the ability to walk as often and as much as I want. My mother has horrible mobility issues and it limits her enjoyment of life.

Robin Ruleman – Adjunct in Business and Leadership

I am thankful for my family and friends.

Katie Russo – Head Women's Lacrosse Coach

I am thankful for the folks that I work with. It's so refreshing to be able to balance the hard work with supportive colleagues who are always ready to share a laugh.

Matt Ruth – Director of Undergrad Admissions

I am thankful for the many 18-22 year-olds that I get to work with. They are energetic, engaged, and able to think and talk with each other in a spirit of curiosity and good-will.

Mark Sawin – Professor of History

I am thankful for most of my tuition being paid for by my place of employment.

Colleen Simpson – Graduate Student

I am thankful for SFI free produce for students.

Hailey Smith – First-Year

I am thankful for God's love.

Edward Steele – Senior

I am thankful for beautiful fall hikes with amazing views, dogs, and friends.

Halie – First-Year

I am so thankful for the generosity of the Class of 1970 during this pandemic, giving an incredible $1-million as a class for the good of all of us in the EMU community. Their excitement about EMU's impact in our world is contagious!

Tim Swartzendruber – Advancement Staff

I am thankful for EMU co-workers, family, and friends. The generosity of our community to support those in need. The views from my office window reflecting the beauty of each new day.

Jennifer Ulrich – Technical Services Librarain

I am thankful for my bestie, Laura Craft.

Julie Weaver – Sophomore

I am thankful for family and friends who are able to survive the pandemic and remain healthy. I am thankful for everyone who is able that has received vaccines, boosters, and wear their masks to help us survive this surreal event.

Barbara Wheatley – Assistant Professor of Education

I am thankful for the people I’ve met while in college.

Tyler Williams – First-Year

I am thankful for my nephew and the people I have met at EMU - especially my pod.

Danielle Woody – First-Year

I am thankful for a learning community where faculty care about each other and students. I am also thankful for the wonderful connections with Developmental Psychology Case Study "buddies" that my son has had!

Paul Yoder – Teacher Education Faculty

I am thankful for the opportunity to work at EMU and support seminary students and current and future church leaders.

Aidan Yoder – First-Year

I am thankful for the opportunity to hear and read students' stories.

Mary Ann Zehr – Writing Instructor

I am thankful for the opportunity to work here at EMU. For once I can proudly say I love my job and it makes me happy!

Nina Zhang – First-Year Advisor

Next Back

Several podcasts of Dr. Walter Brueggemann on gratitude from a past School for Leadership Training at Eastern Mennonite Seminary may be of interest. 

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