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2006 Alumni Awards:
Culture for Service Awards and the Decade of Servant Leadership Award

During Goshen College’s Homecoming Weekend 2006, the college honored three alumni with Culture for Service Awards, named for the college’s motto, and one recent alumna with its second annual Decade of Servant Leadership Award, which recognizes young alumni who are making significant contributions to their communities, church and world.

Awarded by the Goshen College Alumni Board, the 2006 Culture for Service Awards were presented to Ed Metzler ’52 and Ethel Yake Metzler ’46 and Glen E. Miller ’57, all of Goshen. Lisa Koop ’99, a lawyer at the National Immigrant Justice Center in Chicago, Ill., received the second annual 2006 Decade of Servant Leadership Award.

Edgar Metzler ’52 and Ethel Yake Metzler ’46 – Culture for Service Awardees
jim brenneman as a college student In the spirit of the Scripture James 2:38: “I will show you my faith by what I do,” Edgar Metzler and Ethel Yake Metzler have devoted their active, extraordinary lives to being servant leaders – traveling extensively all over the world to wherever they feel led.

Ethel graduated from Goshen in 1946 with a double major in chemistry and religion, and Edgar graduated from Goshen six years later with a degree in psychology. Edgar went on to earn a master’s of divinity degree and Ethel earned a master’s degree in counseling therapy. Their life of world service and leadership together began in 1957 when Edgar was pastor at First Mennonite Church in Kitchener, Ontario, for five years.

A compassionate leader, “Ed has given a lifetime of service to the church and its mission in the world. This has included pastoral ministry and social justice program administration in Canada, United States, Afghanistan, Nepal and indirectly in 70-plus countries,” said Ronald J.R. Mathies, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) executive director emeritus.

In 1968 the Metzlers left for India, Iran, Thailand and Nepal where Edgar was director of the Peace Corps, and Ethel helped train volunteers, as well as teaching at international schools in Calcutta and Kathmandu.

After further pursuing psychology and therapy, Ethel applied her skills abroad by providing cross-cultural counseling, particularly for Nepali women. “[Ethel] engages others with sincere interest; she leans forward with eyes wide open and an open, inviting facial expression that draws both pain and joy from those she encounters … she is passionate in her belief that Christ wants us to embrace the poor, the marginalized and those who are powerless,” said family friend Ron Yoder.

After moving back to Goshen in 1974, Edgar taught political science and economic development at Goshen College, as well as being a director at Oaklawn Psychiatric Center and continuing to work for the Mennonite Church. Ethel worked for Family Services, Inc., in Elkhart.

Staying longer in the United States then they had originally planned, the Metzlers returned to Kathmandu, Nepal, in 1989, as Edgar became the executive director of United Mission, a Christian international nongovernmental organization that provides services for the Nepali people. The Metzlers retired to Goshen in 2004, where they are very active in their community and attend Assembly Mennonite Church. They have four adult children.

Glen E. Miller ’57 – Culture for Service Awardee
jim brenneman as a college student Traveling abroad many times for MCC during the beginning of his medical career, Glen Miller gained plenty of exposure to poverty, which left a powerful impression. After 29 years of medical practice and at the height of his earning power as medical director at Mary Rutan Hospital in Bellefontaine, Ohio, Miller chose an alternative path – to retire from medicine at age 55 so he and his wife, Marilyn, could live modestly and devote their lives to service.

Miller graduated from Goshen College in 1957 with a bachelor’s degree in biology. He met Marilyn, who graduated from Goshen in 1954, in Aurora, Ohio, during his two years in alternative service during the Korean War.

“My motivation to leave the practice of medicine did not come from dissatisfaction. I did not experience a strong push to get out of medicine. However, I did feel the pull to do something different that affirmed that there was more to life than the practice of medicine,” said Miller.

When the opportunity came to go to Calcutta, India, for MCC India, “It felt right. It felt like the natural thing to do,” Miller said.

During their time in Calcutta, Miller served as the director of MCC India and Marilyn served as a country representative for Self-Help Crafts. Although they originally intended to stay only two years, the couple extended their term three times for a total of seven years. Miller had the privilege of developing a friendship with Mother Teresa, who he worked with on several occasions. When he suffered a heart attack towards the end of his final term, she sent him a get-well card while he was in the hospital.

The Millers also had the opportunity to serve as hosts for the 1997 Mennonite World Conference in India. Following their time in India, the Millers were invited to serve short terms with Cambodia MCC as interim co-director and co-host of the London Mennonite Center. Returning to the United States, Miller studied to receive a master’s degree in theological study at the Methodist Theological School of Ohio in 2003.

“The world is and has been Glen and Marilyn’s parish,” said Paul Gingrich, former director of church relations at GC, who has known the Millers for over 35 years. “Their lifestyle has always been to care for creation in as many ways as possible in an affluent society.”

Today Miller is an ambassador for Goshen College as well as recently appointed to lead Mennonite Church USA’s response to the Charlotte 2005 Delegate Assembly resolution to promote healthcare and healthcare access. The Millers attend Assembly Mennonite Church in Goshen, and have four grown children, all GC graduates.

Lisa Koop ’99 – Decade of Servant Leadership Awardee
jim brenneman as a college student As one who has always held an interest in social justice issues, after earning her law degree Lisa Koop has since devoted herself to public service. After graduating from Goshen College seven years ago, Koop has worked primarily with organizations that work at social justice issues, especially immigration.

Koop, who is from Goshen, graduated from Goshen College in 1999 with double majors in English and psychology. Though she considered pursuing further studies in psychology, two years serving with Mennonite Voluntary Service (MVS) in Texas along the border with Mexico as a paralegal in an immigration-assistance program made her realize her heart was elsewhere.

“[In MVS] I had to grapple with what it meant to be a North American, and I came to the realization that I need to use that privilege in some way to improve the circumstances of people coming from different situations,” said Koop.

She went on to attend Indiana University (IU) School of Law where she focused on immigration law, and after graduating, earned a prestigious two-year fellowship with the Notre Dame Immigration Clinic.

“We have been very fortunate that Lisa has continued to work in Indiana, and is teaching and inspiring students, advocates and community leaders,” said Florence Wagman Roisman, Michael D. McCormick Professor of Law. “Lisa has been, is now and will continue to be a model and an inspiration to many. I am certain that she will be a leader in public service throughout the world.”

A driven student, Koop was also engaged in much community work during her time in law school. While at IU, Koop taught “Street Law” to high school students once a week through their chapter of the Equal Justice Works program, of which Koop was president. She also performed over 200 hours of public service.

At Notre Dame she supervised several students in their casework and taught classes at the clinic, in addition to meeting with clients. For her efforts, Koop received Indiana’s Governor’s Award for Tomorrow’s Leaders in 2005.

Today Koop works as a staff attorney at the North Chicago office of the National Immigrant Justice Center, providing deportation defense and administrative representation to low-income and impoverished immigrants. She is married to R. Breck Herber, who also graduated from IU law school in 2004. They attend College Mennonite Church in Goshen.


– By Megan Blank ’07

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