Goshen College says goodbye to five faculty members

GOSHEN, Ind. – As the 2009-2010 academic year gets underway, Goshen College is without five long-serving, respected professors. Associate Professor of Nursing Fern Brunner, Professor of Physics Carl Helrich, Professor of Psychology Vic Koop, Professor of Mathematics Ron Milne and Associate Professor of Art Judy Wenig-Horswell retired at the end of last school year. Together, they dedicated 138 years of service to the college and its students.


Fern Brunner

Fern Brunnerretired as associate professor of nursing. She joined the faculty in 1989 and served the campus community for 20 years. She taught courses in psychiatric/mental health nursing, nursing leadership and introduction to professional nursing, and was instrumental in shaping curriculum.Brunner graduated from Goshen College in 1962 with a bachelor of science in nursing degree. She spent several years working in pediatric nursing in Ohio and Pennsylvania before doing a Mennonite Central Committee assignment in public health in Kentucky. “That was the point at which I really came to value working with the community and being in persons’ homes,” she said.

Brunner moved to southwestern Ontario to work in a rural community health center, which led her to do graduate study at the University of Western Ontario from 1979 to 1982 in nursing administration. She received her master of science in nursing degree from Indiana University in 1990 with a focus in psychiatric nursing.

When Brunner was invited to join the team of nursing faculty at Goshen, she was delighted because of her prior opportunities to teach and supervise students. She found faculty members who communicated well with each other and were supportive of one another.

Brunner has played a key role in the development of the nursing curriculum at Goshen, serving as the chair of the curriculum committee for the department and as the curriculum coordinator for the RN-BSN program. “In spite of many changes over the years in the program and the curriculum, I always felt like we were moving forward,” she said. “I really enjoyed working with the students, and thriving on the clinical supervision in psychiatric nursing. I hope I am remembered as being a teacher who was fair, open to changes and a person of integrity.”

Now that she is retired, Brunner is taking some time to determine her next steps. “I am intentionally using this year to decide and plan for what I want to do, rather than moving quickly into a busy schedule,” she said. “I appreciate the time now to focus on family and other interests, but I anticipate another period of service to the broader community in some form.”

Brunner attends College Mennonite Church and has three adult children, Wendy ’87, Marta ’89 and Daryl.


Carl Helrich

Carl Helrichretired as professor of physics. He joined the faculty in 1985, led an SST unit in Germany and served the campus community for 24 years. He taught such courses as physical world, thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, classical field theory and senior seminar.In 1963, Helrich earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering science from Case Institute of Technology, and received a doctorate in mechanical engineering astronautical sciences in 1969.

Helrich spent two years teaching at Tennessee Space Institute, three years as an employee of the German government at the research laboratory in Juelich, Germany, two years building barns at Plow Creek Fellowship, and nine years teaching at Bethel College in Kansas before coming to Goshen.

Helrich’s 24 years at GC were full of innovation and success. Helrich created two significant ongoing programs at GC: the Maple Scholars summer research program and the annual Religion and Science conference. Helrich designed an upper level sequence of courses and a respected research program in biophysics, which involves undergraduates at all levels.

Helrich also began the class “Physical World,” the general education course he says is “unusual” because students role-play in the creation of the atomic bomb. Helrich started the class in the late 1980s to show students how science has impacted society.

Retiring made sense to Helrich; “I decided long ago that I would not stand in the way of the department,” Helrich said. “I wanted to give up my position when it was good for the department.”

Though officially retired, Helrich will still maintain an office on campus, continue to work with students in research, be involved in Maple Scholars, direct the Religion and Science Conference and work on an advanced laboratory for the department.

Helrich and his wife, Betty Jane Weaver, attend East Goshen Mennonite Church and have two adult sons, Carl and David.


Vic Koop

Vic Koopretired as professor of psychology. Koop joined the faculty in 1982 and served the campus community for 27 years. He taught such courses as general psychology, developmental psychology, abnormal psychology, personality theory and contemporary viewpoints.Koop earned a bachelor’s degree from Tabor College before obtaining a master’s of applied science degree in industrial organizational psychology as well as one in the area of counseling psychology from the University of Waterloo. He then earned a doctorate in psychology from the University of Toronto that opened the door to clinical practice.

Prior to coming to Goshen College, Koop and his family lived in Ontario, Canada, but sought a closer connection to their Anabaptist roots. While the Mennonite Church affiliation was endearing, Koop said “professional work as a psychologist was becoming less satisfying.” Koop realized he belonged in a more academic setting rather than the professional world, therefore choose to come to Goshen.

“Without a doubt my greatest joy at GC was found in the classroom where I could promote, expect and even demand critical thought from students,” said Koop.

Despite the suggestion made by older colleagues that the classroom was not a place for entertainment, Koop learned “that creating an atmosphere for excitement in the classroom was conducive to learning,” he said. “I learned that students appreciated some ‘fire in the belly.'”

Koop says he is leaving Goshen College with many fond memories and friendships. “When I cross paths with former students, I usually sense a warm friend,” he said. “Upon retirement nothing was more satisfying then getting kind notes from former students.”

“I will miss most standing in front of a packed lecture hall,” Koop said. “What can be better than digging up exciting ideas and dispensing them to a captive audience?”

While Koop will be out of the classroom, he does not plan to stop serving others as he plans for significant involvement in some kind of service work. “Nothing is certain yet, but the idea of something new is exiting,” Koop said.

Until the details are settled, Koop will continue spending time woodworking, golfing, cycling and spending time with family. “My greatest joy is my family,” he said, “My wife, Irene, and I have more time to visit them and to watch as they launch their careers.”

Koop and his wife, Irene, have three adult children – Jennifer ’97, Lisa ’99 and Gregory ’06.


Ron Milne

Ron Milneretired as professor of mathematics. Milne joined the faculty in 1976 and served the campus community for 33 years. He and his wife, Reference and Instruction Librarian Sally Jo – who is also retiring this year after 25 years of service to the college – have led Study-Service Term (SST) units in Haiti, Ivory Coast and Indonesia, and will lead one to Senegal in 2010.Milne, a Goshen High School graduate, earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Goshen College in 1967. After graduation, Milne served six years with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in Kenya (1967-1970) and Malawi (1973-1976). During this time he earned a master’s degree in mathematics from Michigan State University in 1972.

In 1976, Milne found his way back to Goshen College and filled in for Professor Lester Zimmerman, who was on sabbatical. In 1978, Milne and Sally Jo led three SST units in Haiti. Following that, Milne filled in for another professor before pursuing a doctorate at Indiana University. In 1983, Milne returned to GC for a permanent position as a professor of mathematics.

During the 33 years Milne worked at GC, he especially appreciated the global emphasis of the college. “I have enjoyed the opportunities for continued international and intercultural involvement,” he said. “I enjoyed the SST assignments because, in addition to learning about other cultures, I was able to relate to students in a broader way than simply in a class focused on a single discipline.”

Milne taught courses throughout the mathematics curriculum with a focus on students who would become elementary teachers and secondary teachers of mathematics. He was involved in the introduction of computers into the mathematics curriculum in the 1990s.

Milne was also involved in many campus-wide committees, which “provided opportunities to interact with faculty, and sometimes students, from a variety of disciplines to address issues of concern to the entire campus,” Milne said. He served as chair of the general education program review panels in 1987.

While retirement to some professors means leaving the job completely behind, Milne said he does not feel like he is leaving Goshen. “GC is much more than a job; it is a relationship,” he said. “I am retiring from many responsibilities but I am not terminating my relationship to GC.”

Retirement does mean leaving the classroom, which Milne will miss. “I have always learned a lot and have been energized by my interactions with students and I will miss the classroom,” Milne said.

Milne has plans to go traveling, hiking and biking. “I also want to be available for short-term assignments with Goshen College or with church agencies,” Milne said. “I can see myself doing some voluntary tutoring locally at some point.”

Milne and his wife Sally Jo attend College Mennonite Church and have three adult children – Michelle ’94, Jessica ’00 and Andrea ’02.


Judy Wenig-Horswell

Judy Wenig-Horswell, who retired as associate professor of art after 34 years, taught courses in jewelry making, drawing, design, humanities and art history, and helped lead arts in London for many years. She created the presidential medal worn by Goshen College presidents on special ceremonial occasions.Wenig-Horswell, who grew up on a farm near Haskins, Ohio, and graduated from Otsego High School, says that her love of art began well before her high school years.

After graduating from Bowling Green University with a bachelor of fine arts degree, she went on to earn a master’s of fine arts degree in 1970. For several years, Wenig-Horswell taught art at Northridge High School in Middlebury, Ind. In 1973, while at Northridge, she started teaching evening studio classes at Goshen College before teaching full time as a sabbatical replacement for Professor Emeritus of Art Abner Hershberger in 1976.

Many of her drawings, which Wenig-Horswell considers her foundational medium, revolve around nature – a theme that she explains can be traced back to her childhood growing up on a farm surrounded by nature. Her drawings were also heavily influenced by her world travels to Africa, Europe, Japan and Central America. The influences of nature and travels abroad can also be seen in her sculpture and jewelry pieces.

Throughout her educational career, Wenig-Horswell participated in several workshops and art studies including ceramics workshops in Colorado and Japan, jewelry workshops in Denmark and Tennessee and art study in the Ivory Coast.

Wenig-Horswell said she is not leaving Goshen College empty handed but with significant friendships with faculty and students as well as a sense of contribution to the Art Department over the years. “[I have] an appreciation for the opportunities that have come my way as a GC faulty member,” Wenig-Horswell said. “I have an appreciation for the opportunity to reflect upon my thoughts and beliefs as they are similar and different from Mennonite concepts.”

While Wenig-Horswell is looking forward to spending many hours is her studio, she will miss “working with students daily and being of some assistance to their evolution as young artists,” she said. “I will also miss the day-today interaction with colleagues in the Art Department and other departments.”

As for retirement, Wenig-Horswell plans on spending countless hours in her studio in Elkhart. “My dream is that artist friends will visit and work with me in the studio,” she said.

Wenig-Horswell is married to Charles Horswell.

–Julie Weirich

Editors: For more information about this release, to arrange an interview or request a photo, contact Goshen College News Bureau Director Jodi H. Beyeler at (574) 535-7572 or jodihb@goshen.edu.

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Goshen College, established in 1894, is a residential Christian liberal arts college rooted in the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition. The college’s Christ-centered core values – passionate learning, global citizenship, compassionate peacemaking and servant-leadership – prepare students as leaders for the church and world. Recognized for its unique Study-Service Term program, Goshen has earned citations of excellence in Barron’s Best Buys in Education, “Colleges of Distinction,” “Making a Difference College Guide” and U.S. News & World Report‘s “America’s Best Colleges” edition, which named Goshen a “least debt college.” Visit www.goshen.edu.

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