The U.S. Department of Education formally designated Goshen College as a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) in January 2023.
What is a Hispanic-Serving Institution? This means that for consecutive years the college has met the criteria of at least 25 percent of its full-time undergraduate students identifying as Hispanic/Latinx, and that it enrolls a high number of students who demonstrate financial need.
- Demographic Change: In 2007, only two percent of the college’s undergraduate students identified as Hispanic/Latinx, compared to 30 percent when the designation was given. In 2023, 55 percent of GC students identify as students of color, Hispanic, indigenous or from other nations.
- Retention & 4-year Graduation Rates: In 2023, Hispanic/Latinx student retention and 4-year graduation rates equal or exceed those of the college’s undergraduate student population as a whole.
“These numbers are a manifestation of a much more important transformation, because the most important word in this designation for me is the word ‘serving.’ We are not only a Hispanic-enrolling college, but a Hispanic-serving college. And along the way, our Hispanic students have taught us how to become more student-serving – for all of our students.” President Rebecca Stoltzfus
Meet a few of our Hispanic/Latinx students, alumni and employees
“I chose Goshen College because students are given several opportunities to get hands-on experience that will help them with their careers.”
“There’s tons of profs, tons of peers, and everyone else I’ve met along the way who have had a huge impact on me.”
“The reason I chose Goshen is because since the first time I was there, everyone made me feel appreciated and I liked how professors and coaches reached out to me to see how I was doing academically and athletically while still figuring out my college choice.”
“One of my valuable experiences was actually being the president of the Goshen College Student Senate, leading the group and really developing my leadership skills while also exposing the things I need to work on. I was able to manage projects that would further enhance the student experience and at the same time be the voice for the students whenever they had an issue.”
“In some of my classes we have the opportunity to consider how faith, spirituality and religion have shaped human history. In seeking new ways to integrate faith and learning, as I go forward, I have been considering how I could make deeper, structural changes that draw on the ways my faith and identity as a Catholic who is teaching at a Mennonite institution informs the deeper roots of each course I teach at GC.”
“GC gave me a world-changing potential to follow my dreams, to make peace with the environment, to fight systematic racism and help refugees all around the world obtain asylum in the United States.”
“If you want to reach the Latino community or bring students, you have to think about the whole family and not just that one student that you want here.”
Latino Student Union (LSU): The Latino Student Union is here to welcome and unite each of our members, by providing support through exploration of our unique heritages.
Commuter student resources: About four out of every 10 Goshen students lives off campus. But that doesn’t keep them from playing sports, singing in the Chamber Choir, eating lunch with their friends, or being just as involved in campus life as any other student. The Commuter Student Association keeps you in-the-know about all campus activities and with opportunities to engage with others who are also commuting.
Academic Success Center: Constantly adapting to meet student needs, the Academic Success Center includes a bilingual academic coach.
Our popular evening Spanish or English language courses for working adults in the community:
College preparation workshops in Spanish for high school students and their parents are provided by the Admissions Office.
- Intercultural Leadership Award
- Leader of Color Award
- Dream Award
- Indiana Latino Institute (ILI) Scholarship
The college’s Center for Community Engagement helps foster relationships between the campus and community that enhance student learning and enrich our region.
- Employee affinity groups (Latinx Conexión and Black Employee Fellowship) are employee-led and facilitated groups formed around backgrounds, identities and common bonds. They can contribute to a greater sense of belonging to the campus community, as well as employees’ ability to bring their whole and authentic selves to their work at Goshen College.
- Committee on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion working groups offer opportunities for employees to be involved in gathering information and making recommendations for needed changes.
Honoring Hispanic/Latinx alumni: In 2016, the college renamed one of the campus residential spaces the Octavio Romero Apartments, in honor of one of the first Mexican citizens to study at the college and then graduate in 1952.
Meet our Latino Advisory Council
Formed in 2022, the Latino Advisory Council engages a diverse group of Latino leaders from Elkhart County who are committed to the development, implementation and coordination of educational programs that serve the educational needs of Latinos in the region and at Goshen College.
Current members include (above, left to right): Manuel Cortez, Dr. Rebecca Hernandez, Marlette Gomez Wengerd ’13, Edgar Saucedo Davila ’11 and ’14 (MBA), Erick Martinez (at right: Goshen College employees Luna Avila and Gilberto Perez Jr.). Current members not pictured: Dr. Rose Gillin ’81, Sandra McMasters ’19, Adriana Bontreger and Jose Chiquito Galvan ’20.
The journey to becoming an HSI
Goshen College has been on an intentional journey toward this designation for almost 20 years with many people contributing towards this goal. It is a meaningful marker of progress in diversity and equity to celebrate.
In the fall of 2006, the college received a $12.5 million grant approved and funded by Lilly Endowment, Inc., for what was first known as the Center for Intercultural Teaching and Learning (CITL) and later as the Center for Intercultural and International Education (CIIE). The grant established this new center with three main goals of:
- making college education more accessible to Hispanic/Latinx students,
- creating an intercultural learning community with curricular changes
- and researching the changing ethnic composition of the community.
Over time, the key functions of those centers were integrated into the college’s structures of academics, student life, enrollment and the Center for Community Engagement. With this generous grant support, Goshen College ramped up recruitment and retention efforts for all students of color — with a particular focus on Hispanic/Latinx students — enhanced by research. The college began to hire more Spanish-speaking faculty and staff, and held Spanish-language workshops for Hispanic/Latinx families at local high schools, answering questions for first-generation students and families who were considering college. And the college set about finding ways to not only reach more Hispanic/Latinx students, but to support them in new ways as they completed their degrees. For example, the college’s English as a New Language program offered in Goshen and Elkhart enrolls about 200 adult learners, and the Spanish language classes enroll about 50-plus native English speakers.
>> Read President Rebecca Stoltzfus’ speech from January 25, 2023, when Goshen College students, staff and community members gathered to celebrate the recent designation of the college as a Hispanic-Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education.
Our local community
In this region, Latinos have faced many challenges and have also made many contributions. Latinos have provided the labor that has powered Elkhart’s manufacturing industries. They have built buildings and put roofs over our heads. They have started businesses that have created jobs. They have filled positions in the services industry that are necessary for our economy to function. They are civic leaders, church leaders, educators and good neighbors. And they have enriched local culture with their various cultures, music, language, food, dance and art.
You have transformed not only our community, but also Goshen College.”
Goshen Community Schools: 55.8% Hispanic/Latino (2020-21)
The 2022 Census data shows that there is a strong local Hispanic/Latinx community in the college’s local region:
City of Goshen: 26.4% Hispanic/Latino
Elkhart County: 17.6% Hispanic/Latino
Cuisine: Goshen is home to people from nearly every continent, but one of the largest cultural representations is Latin American. With a population of this size, it’s no wonder Goshen is proud home to a variety of mouthwatering Mexican restaurants. Here’s a list from the Good of Goshen of 15 delicious local taquerias, each with its own personality.
Hispanic Heritage Festival: For several years, the community of Goshen has celebrated the rich and diverse Hispanic cultures through a big Hispanic Heritage Festival — full of food, music, dance, art and vendors. Learn more here.
Goshen’s Community Relations Commission connects neighbors through honest conversation and seeking to dismantle racism and discrimination, and promote positive engagement for all in the community.