Eastern Mennonite University

Fall/Winter 2008

Year in Review 2007-08

July 2007

Twenty-seven teenagers, most from the U.S., spent three weeks in LEAP (Learning, Exploring and Participating). The seminary program introduces young people to others their age from different backgrounds.

The seminary’s 2008 School for Leadership Training focused on "Embodying Sexual Wholeness in a Broken World." Participants heard sermons and plenary discussions led by a pastor, a theologian and a counselor.

Doug Graber-Neufeld, EMU prof of biology
Doug Graber-Neufeld, associate professor of biology at EMU

Professor Doug Neufeld his wife, Cristina, and their sons, Alex, 5, and Evan, 3, spent the past two years in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, returning to the U.S. in July. Neufeld and his spouse reported that Cambodia was a nation nursing old wounds while harboring new hope. Neufeld, an associate professor of biology and chairman of the biology and chemistry departments, used a long-awaited sabbatical and a leave of absence for this stint overseas.

August 2007

Christine Nafziger, a 2006 seminary alumna, released a compact disc of piano music and a prayer booklet that began as a project for a class. The result was a booklet and CD with 12 songs and lessons on prayer entitled, "Music as Prayer: Gateway to the Soul."

Forty-two bikers, including 14 alumni, from seven states and Ontario, Canada, left EMU on Aug. 5 and traveled some 292 miles in the Shenandoah Valley before returning to EMU the afternoon of Aug. 9. The trip's purpose: exercise, fellowship and fund raising for Mennonite Central Committee.

September 2007

Peace Fellowship held a 24-hour prayer vigil for the Iraqi people and the war afflicting them. A prayer "tent" was erected on the front campus near Northlawn Residence Hall, and persons were invited to pray in half-hour time blocks from midnight to midnight. Passersby were invited to offer their own prayers and to tie prayer flags around the vigil site.

October 2007

Eastern Mennonite
Before Jacob Shenk began to pour resources into the school, Eastern Mennonite was a barren place. Read more of EMU's history in the 90th anniversary issue of Crossroads

The university officially turned 90 years old on Oct. 15, 2007. Eastern Mennonite School (as it was called then) began its first classes with six students enrolled on Oct. 15, 1917. Read the 90th anniversary edition of Crossroads...

Dr. Ingida Asfaw ’62, chief of cardiovascular surgery at Sinai-Grace Hospital, Detroit, Mich., spoke Oct. 13 on "Heart and Soul: The Evolution of Cardiovascular Medicine and the Importance of Spirituality in Healing the Cardiac Patient." He was EMU’s "Alumnus of the Year."

The Menno Simons Historical Library received a gift of book printed in 1539 on a printing press owned by Margaret and Balthaser Beck, early Anabaptists who ran a printing business in what is now Strasbourg. Germany. Elwood Yoder ’81, who teaches at Eastern Mennonite High School, passed along the book to the library. The book is a translation from the Latin of Flavius Josephus's "A History of the Jews" by Lutheran preacher Caspar Hedio. The book was a gift from Bruno Weber in Switzerland, conveyed via Yoder. Yoder knows of only five other copies of this book with the same date - one at Yale University library, another Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, and three at locations in Europe.

EMU prof visits Vatican
Nancy Heisey, chair of EMU's Bible and religion department, presents a framed image of Anabaptist martyr Dirk Willems of Asperen, the Netherlands, to Pope Benedict XVI. Read more... (Photo Credit: Servizio Fotograpfico de L'.O.R., Citta del Vaticano)

Mennonites from 10 countries spent five days with Catholic Church leaders in Vatican City. The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity invited and hosted the Mennonite World Conference (MWC) delegation, which included MWC president and EMU professor Nancy Heisey, MDiv ’94.

"Take Back the Night," a rally uniting men and women against sexual violence, was held to build greater awareness of issues related to sexual violence, to provide safe settings to talk about the problem, and to provide help to victims of sexual harassment and violence. Guest speaker for the event was Nicole Braddock Bromley, author of the book, Hush: Moving from Silence to Healing after Childhood Sexual Abuse.

November 2007

A Tunnel of Oppression was set up in EMU’s University Commons as part of the Dialogue on Race program. It gave students and faculty members the opportunity to learn and experience the issues of oppression in today’s society.

Nick Stoddard, EMU student
Nicholas L. (Nick) Stoddard, a senior biblical studies major

EMU senior Nicholas (Nick) L. Stoddard received first prize in the bi-national C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest. His oration focused on developing a mindset that sees how one's actions have a direct effect on other people, even those at great geographic distance.

During a chapel service EMU paused to quietly celebrate 25 years of "life-changing experiences." EMU made cross-cultural study, either stateside or abroad, a required part of its general education curriculum in 1982.

The EMU Chamber Singers, University Chorale and EMU orchestra joined forces for a musical celebration of the Christmas season on Nov. 17 in Lehman Auditorium.

The Shenandoah Valley Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Shenandoah Valley Children's Choir presented a joint concert Nov. 18 in Lehman Auditorium. The 30-member youth symphony, part of EMU's Preparatory Music program, performed "Violin Concerto No. 1" by J.B. Accolay, "Russian Sailors' Dance" by R. Gliere, "Spanish Dance" by M. De Falla and three dances from Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite."

December 2007


EMU reusable shopping bags are now available for purchase in Common Grounds coffeehouse thanks to work from the Creation Care Council.

EMU's fast-growing Creation Care Council began selling EMU-branded cloth shopping bags for only $7. The sturdy bags, made from 80 percent recycled cotton and 20 percent recycled plastic bottles, sold out quickly.

Kacie Ruark (Baltimore, Md./Western) was honored by the Virginia State Sports Information Directors Association, which named her to the All-State women’s soccer team.

Katie Lamm (Newmanstown, Pa./Eastern Lebanon Co.) was named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-Region (South) Third Team.

Twenty-four students returned from their fall semester on a cross-cultural seminar in South Africa. The group, led by faculty members Harlan de Brun and Audra Baker, divided their time among Soweto, Lesotho and Cape Town in language study and learning the history and experiencing the culture of the regions.

January 2008

Museum of Natural History
Jim Yoder, museum curator and associate professor of biology at EMU, involves a visiting class of students in a nature exhibit.

The Suter Science Center natural history museum ushered in the new year with popular hands-on workshops and a circular classroom in what was previously a planetarium. Biology professor Jim Yoder ’94 worked with museum education director Christine Hill ’71, former curator Dr. Clair Mellinger ’64 and EMU biology students to overhaul the museum education program and update the museum displays and marketing materials, while also keeping the museum and the animal head room open.

Benjamin J. Myers ’05, who earned a bachelor of science degree in art with concentration in photography, presented "Behind Closed Doors: An Insider's Look at the Nation's Capitol," which featured photos of prominent senators, such as Barack Obama, and artist-quality shots of the halls of Congress.

Leonard M. Dow ’87, pastor of a growing, multi-ethnic congregation in Philadelphia, visited campus to interact with students and faculty, as well as to be a resource speaker for Martin Luther King Jr. Day observances.

This magazine, Crossroads, won a major award from the southeast district of the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. Competing against magazines produced by mostly larger institutions, Crossroads received a "special merit award" in the category of "magazine publishing improvement."

A group of 30 students left campus Jan. 11 as part of the Middle East cross-cultural program, led by Linford L. Stutzman, associate professor of culture and mission at Eastern Mennonite Seminary, and Janet M. Stutzman, former director of alumni/parent relations at EMU. Until April, the group lived and studied in Israel and the West Bank, immersing themselves in the ancient/modern world of Jews, Christians and Muslims. They studied in Jerusalem and worked in an Israeli kibbutz and at Nazareth Village, a recreation of first century village at the time of Jesus.

February 2008

Rev. Graylan Scott Hagler, senior minister of Plymouth Congregational Church in the nation's capitol, spoke in Friday chapel on the current treatment of immigrants in Virginia and in the U.S. in general in the context of the history of struggles for racial justice.

Rocks in the Road at EMU
A poster created for the "Rocks in the Road" presentation at EMU.

The post-election crisis in Kenya was discussed in open forum under the heading of "Rocks in the Road." The discussion was led by Janice M. Jenner, MA ’99, director of EMU’s Practice and Training Institute, who has lived and worked in Kenya as an MCC representative. She was assisted by undergraduate and graduate students from Kenya.

March 2008

Seven EMU field hockey players were named to the National Field Hockey Coaches Association Division III National Academic Team: Alyssa Derstine (Telford, Pa./Christopher Dock), Lisa King (Lancaster, Pa./Lancaster Mennonite), Kristina Landis (Harleysville, Pa./Christopher Dock), Vanessa Landis (Quakertown, Pa./Quakertown Community), Hailee Rittle (Jonestown, Pa./Northern Lebanon), Sarah Roth (Lancaster, Pa./Lancaster Mennonite), and Karissa Sauder (Lancaster, Pa./Lancaster Mennonite).

Four groups of EMU students spent their mid-semester break the first week of March doing service projects under the auspices of the Young People's Christian Association.

April 2008

In the annual C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest, Anna Engle, a freshman history and social science education major with a TESL endorsement from Streetsboro, Ohio, won the grand prize award of $250 with her speech, "Called to True Pacifism."

Sue Blauch, EMU grad
Sue Blauch, 43, of Harrisonburg, was selected to be the only women's basketball referee from the United States to work the Beijing Olympics. Blauch brings the competitive drive of a player to her officiating duties. (Photo by Nikki Fox of the Daily News-Record)s

Sue Blauch ’86 was one of about a dozen women's basketball referees selected from an international pool to officiate in the the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Blauch was the only American referee for the women's games.

Provost Beryl H. Brubaker ’64, who retired from full-time employment in this summer after 37 years of service, gave the commencement address, "A Metaphor for Remembering." She called the graduates to go out into the world as "bridge builders," whatever their pursuits. See photos and listen to podcasts of commencement...

In a chapel April 21, the 19 students in a semester-long Guatemala and U.S/Mexico Border seminar reflected on "early culture shock" as they hit the ground running, quickly immersing themselves in intense language study. Led by associate campus pastor Byron J. Peachey and faculty member Deanna Durham, the group also spent 10 days on the Mexico-Arizona border, talking with persons working on all sides of the immigration issue.

May 2008

The preparatory music program celebrated its 20th anniversary with a group concert on May 11 in Lehman Auditorium.

Mike Zucconi ’05 was named the 2007-08 Old Dominion Athletic Conference Sports Information Director of the Year, as voted by the league's sports information professionals.

EMU's recycling coordinator Jonathan Lantz-Trissel
EMU's Recycling Coordinator Jonathan Lantz-Trissel, who quietly entered the Recyclemania competition but told no one on campus, is pictured next to shis bicycle-powered recyclables collector.

EMU placed ahead of larger universities - like Yale, Portland State University and University of Colorado at Boulder - in a national recycling competition. "Recyclemania" is an annual competition across the country to determine which school can reduce, reuse and recycle the most campus waste during a 10-week period from January 27 to April 5. The Washington, D.C.-based non-profit wrapped up its 2008 college recycling contest this year with more than 58 million pounds of recyclables and organics recovered from 400 colleges and universities across the country. EMU placed 11th in the "waste minimization" category and 18th in the "grand champion" category. EMU’s recycling coordinator is Jonathan Lantz-Trissel '00.

June 2008

Sophomore Michelle Leaman (Broadway, Va./Broadway) was named to ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District women's track & field/cross country team.

The distance between South Korea and Harrisonburg seemed to shrink as EMU’s leaders met with the leadership of Bell International School in Nonsan City, Chungcheongnam-do, Korea, to sign an agreement that encourages student exchanges and other efforts to strengthen relational ties.

Who did what in 2007-08 »

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