Phil Helmuth has been involved in development for more than 20 years. He served as Coordinator of Development at EMU from 1987-1995. From January 1996-December 2000 Phil worked as a non-profit organizational and development/fundraising consultant for numerous churches and organizations in North America, including serving as the Coordinator of North American Mennonite Relief Sales for Mennonite Central Committee. In January 2001 he joined the EMU Development team as the Director of Seminary Development and Church Relations and in July 2005 was appointed as the Executive Director of Development for the university. Phil is an ordained minister with Mennonite Church USA and has eleven years of pastoral ministry experience. Phil is a member of the Shenandoah Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Susan Landes Beck, MSW, LCSW is Associate Director of Development. She holds a Masters in Social Work from Western Michigan University. Susan has served in various administrative and leadership roles in organizations in the higher education, counseling/medical, marketing, and conflict transformation fields. In each position Susan has held she has enjoyed the challenge of serving in dynamic organizations who develop leaders and strive to match programs and services to meet real needs. She says “We live in an environment in which human needs are huge and escalating, while resources are constrained and shrinking. Organizations have a responsibility to develop sound resource development strategies to effectively meet human need while being conscientious stewards of the organization’s resources, mission and capabilities.” Susan lives in Harrisonburg, VA with her husband and two daughters.
Niles is a Reform rabbi and the award-winning author or editor of ten books, including God at the Edge and Gonzo Judaism. He holds a BA in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania and an MA and rabbinic ordination from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Niles has served on the faculty of New York University, Loyola University, and HUC-JIR, and he has lectured at many universities in North America and abroad. His passion for and experience in interreligious dialogue and engagement is vast and deep, and he recently served as the director of external relations for the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions.
Robyn E. Hill, Esq. is Director of Planned Giving. She also serves as an Associate Director of Development for the territories of Indiana, Michigan and Florida.
Robyn was born in Radford, Virginia but grew up mostly in Oregon and spent the first ten years of her marriage in Seattle, Washington. She returned to Virginia in 1996 with her husband, David, and two sons. The family settled in Lexington for three years while Robyn pursued a law degree at Washington & Lee University. After law school they moved to Richmond, Virginia, where Robyn spent the next seven years practicing law at two large, Richmond-based law firms. Her practice at both firms focused on charitable estate planning and representing non-profit organizations. She then spent several years as a Divisional Planned Giving Director for The Salvation Army with an office in Washington, DC and responsibility for the DC metropolitan area and the state of Virginia.
In each position Robyn enjoyed the opportunity to support people who wanted to make a positive difference for organizations that were important to them. She is delighted to now have the opportunity to work for Eastern Mennonite University, which is a close fit to her own passions for life-long education that also promotes using the gifts God give us to make a real and positive difference in the world.
Robyn now lives in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Her husband is in Richmond, where he is finishing work on a Masters degree before joining her in Harrisonburg. Her two grown sons, Nicholas (25) and Cymrych (22) are also in Richmond.
Jacob grew up in Elsie, Michigan before attending EMU to study psychology. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in May of 2013. Jacob was also a part of the New Zealand cross-cultural trip led by Jim Yoder in the fall of 2012. During his undergraduate years, Jacob worked at the EMU technology help desk as a work-study student. This continued into the summer after graduating in the form of a temp position as a help desk assistant.
Jacob moved to the development department in July of 2013 and currently performs the duties of the development assistant.
He currently lives in Harrisonburg at Beacon Hill Town-homes.
Phoebe Kilby is energized by her opportunity to support the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding through fundraising. She received a graduate certificate from CJP in 2004 and sees her work in the Development Office at EMU as forwarding CJP’s important peacebuilding work around the world. Phoebe brings a business background to her development work, having owned and managed with her husband, Barry, an environmental and land use planning consulting firm for 20 years. She has been a volunteer fundraiser for a number of non-profits, including serving as president of the board for Response, the domestic violence program in Shenandoah County, Virginia.
Dave began his professional career in the alumni office at EMU before moving to Lancaster, PA where he taught elementary and middle school Physical Education, was the athletic director and coached several sports. After receiving his master’s degree, he served as Executive Director at Camp Hebron for five years. In 1991, he was invited to Lancaster Mennonite High School where he served for 14 years as Athletic Director along with various administrative duties, including Middle School Principal. He returned to EMU to carry out his vision for an athletic program of excellence through which Christian character is developed.
Karen came to development work more than 10 years ago from a background in music. She has found that both fields focus on relationships and that is what has made her development work so rewarding. She particularly enjoys the collaborative nature of the work with her colleagues at EMU as well as from other institutions. In addition to her “day job,” Karen sings in a women’s acapella quartet called Finely Tuned and is an obsessive knitter.
Marcia K. Myers earned a bachelors degree in social work from EMU in 1984. After graduating, she worked as an EMU admissions counselor for more than four years. For the next 12 years she worked at home, raising her three daughters. In fall 2000 she returned to EMU as part-time office coordinator for Bible and religion. She enjoys baking, taking walks, cross-stitching, and hiking.
Stuart W. Showalter returned to his native Virginia in 2010 and began working with Eastern Mennonite University, his beloved alma mater, early in 2011. He entered EMU in 1963, majored in English, edited the Weather Vane, and graduated in 1967. Perhaps most significantly, at EMU he met his wife, Shirley Ann Hershey ’70. They are the parents of Anthony, Brooklyn, N.Y., and Kate, Pittsburgh, Pa.
After a first job with Mennonite Board of Missions, Elkhart, Ind., Stuart earned his M.S. in journalism at Ohio University, Athens. Then he was employed by EMU for three years (1969-72) as director of public relations and part-time instructor. Then Shirley and he left to pursue their doctorates at the University of Texas at Austin. From 1976 until 2004, they were on the faculty at Goshen College where they both were engaged in teaching and administration, including development and fund raising at multiple levels.
After working six years as an independent communication consultant, Stuart is delighted to represent his alma mater. His territories are Ohio, most of the South, and the Upper Midwest. He stated, “My college years at Eastern Mennonite were positive and life-changing, and I strongly believe that today’s EMU students also receive a first-rate education infused with Christian values. Our graduates serve lovingly and heroically in a world filled with human need. I’m so impressed by the community of faculty, staff, administrators, and donors and friends who contribute in so many ways to perpetuate the excellence found at EMU.”
Cindy grew up near Cleveland, Ohio and then lived in Lancaster County, Pa. for 15 years following college. Her work experience centers around office management and development for several non-profit agencies, including 8 years with Mennonite Central Committee in Akron, Pa. Cindy finds fulfillment in connecting with donors, churches and students in her current role. She and her family (husband LeVon and son Jeffrey) relocated to Harrisonburg in 2003. In her free time, Cindy enjoys walking, vegetarian cooking and reading.
Tim grew up in Elkhart, IN, attended Bethany Christian H.S., and studied at EMU from 1991-1995. He spent the 95-96 year in three West African countries as a missions intern with Mennonite Mission Network, then returned to EMU to serve in admissions. In 2000 he moved to Silver Spring, MD to work for the Chronicle of Higher Education, in Washington, D.C. In 2002 he assumed his current role at EMU. He married Nicolle Nogueras, an attorney in Washington, in March 2006. Their daughter, Shane Nogueras Swartzendruber, was born on July 31, 2011. Tim is a member of Hyattsville Mennonite Church.
Tim visits with EMU alums and stakeholders living along the I-95 corridor (DC to Boston) and in central and western states such as Colorado, Kansas, California, and Oregon. Tim also relates with alums and donors in Canada.