Jim BrennemanDr. James E. Brenneman

B.A., Goshen College
M.Div., Fuller Theological Seminary
M.A., Claremont Graduate University
Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University
(574) 535-7501

Educator, biblical theologian and church leader, Dr. James E. Brenneman became the 16th president of Goshen College in 2006.

As a Goshen College student, Brenneman pursued an interdisciplinary degree, combining Bible, biology and natural science, and graduated in 1977. He went on to attend Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary and completed a master of divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary. At Claremont Graduate University, he earned a master of arts degree in religious studies and a doctorate, with a focus in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament studies.

Brenneman was the founding lead pastor of Pasadena (Calif.) Mennonite Church, and spent 26 years there. Ordained in 1986, he is a credentialed minister of Mennonite Church USA. He also served on the faculty at Episcopal Theological School at Claremont (Calif.) in Old Testament scholarship. Brenneman authored “On Jordan’s Stormy Banks: Lessons from the Book of Deuteronomy” (Herald Press, 2004) and “Canons in Conflict: Negotiating Texts in True and False Prophesy” (Oxford University Press, 1997), and has written numerous book chapters and articles on theological and church-related themes. An experienced public speaker, he has delivered dozens of lectures and presentations on a variety of topics related to his scholarly interests and pastorate.

As president of Goshen College, Brenneman’s vision for the Christian college includes it becoming more diverse, more sustainable and more known for the ways it is “healing the world, peace by peace.” He launched the Center for Intercultural Teaching and Learning (now the Center for Intercultural & International Education) in 2006 upon receiving a $12.5 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. Since becoming president, the percent of traditional undergraduates who are Hispanic grew from 5 percent (2006-07) to 15 percent (2014-15). Brenneman became the second Indiana college president to sign the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment to work toward a carbon neutral campus in 2007. The college has added its first master’s degree programs: M.S. in Nursing (2007), M.A. in Environmental Education (2008), M.A. in Intercultural Leadership (2013) and the Collaborative MBA (2014). In 2011, Brenneman helped launch three institutes on campus:the Institute for the Study of Global Anabaptism, the Institute for Ecological Regeneration and the Institute for Latino Educational Achievement. The general education program was overhauled and the Goshen Core was launched in 2012. Brenneman was reappointed for his second term in 2010 and for his third term in 2014.

Brenneman’s wife Dr. Terri J. Plank Brenneman is a clinical psychologist and also a 1977 Goshen College alumnus. They are the parents of son Quinn.


“Dawning lights” — April 26, 2015, Baccalaureate sermon
“Listening to the World: The First Commandment of a Global Citizen” — Feb. 4, 2015, convocation
“Citizens of Earth and Sky”
— Aug. 27, 2014, fall opening convocation
“Footprints: Evidence of History and the Promise of Future” — April 27, 2014, Baccalaureate sermon
“God and Ted Talk About Science: Ideas Worth Spreading” — March 14, 2014, chapel
“Sowing Compassion! On Becoming Compassionate Peacemakers” — Sept. 4, 2013, fall opening convocation
“Love in the Clouds of Unknowing”
— April 28, 2013, Baccalaureate sermon
“Expanding the sound pool” — April 20, 2013, celebrating Professor Emerita of Music Mary Oyer’s 90th birthday
“On Becoming a Passionate Learner” — Sept. 5, 2012, fall opening convocation
“5 Core Diplomats” — April 22, 2012, Baccalaureate sermon
“Metamorphosis: Identity Transformed” — March 16, 2012, college chapel sermon
“Culture for Service Leadership: A Paradox Worth Living” — Aug. 31, 2011, fall opening convocation
“The Courageous Bow” — May 1, 2011, Baccalaureate
“Christ, the Core” — Sept. 1, 2010, fall opening convocation
“Finding Education’s Sweetness: On the State of Goshen College” — Aug. 20, 2010, all-employee brunch
“Fireflies, Laser and Lamps: A Vocation in Lights” — April 26, 2010, Baccalaureate
“Getting to Yes and Amen! The New GC ‘School of Thought’”
— Jan. 15, 2010
“Healing the World: Peace by Peace”
— Sept. 2, 2009, fall opening convocation
“Leaping in Faith, Landing in Hope”
— April 27, 2009, Baccalaureate
“Living the Core”
— Sept. 3, 2008, fall opening convocation
“Out of the Whirlwind”
– April 27, 2008, Baccalaureate
“Choice Points”
— Jan. 11, 2008
“This We Believe…” — Aug. 29, 2007, fall opening convocation
“Wake-Up, Goshen” — Feb. 7, 2007, Goshen Chamber of Commerce breakfast
Story about Jan. 11, 2007 opening convocation speech
Inaugural address: “Growing Wisdom & Wonder” — Sept. 9, 2006
Story about Aug. 30, 2006 opening convocation speech
Acceptance speech: “The world needs Goshen College” — Nov. 18, 2005

Articles about President Brenneman:

“Goshen College president grateful for leadership role” — in the Goshen News, March 31, 2013

The Bulletin (alumni magazine) columns:

“Fiat lux!” — Spring/Summer 2015
“Citizens of earth and sky” — Fall/Winter 2014
“The tree of life that is Goshen College” — Spring 2014
“Sowing compassion”
— Fall 2013
“The birds and the bees and passionate…learning” — Winter 2012-13
“Diplomacy as a radical calling”
— Summer 2012
“Healing the world, peace by peace”
— Fall/Winter 2009-10
“Let unconquerable gladness dwell amid unprecedented times” — Spring/Summer 2009
“Maple seeds and other miracles of hope” — Fall/Winter 2008
“Bridging gaps between nations and faiths” — Spring/Summer 2008
“Seeking the welfare of the city” — Autumn/Winter 2007
“The nature of change” — Summer 2007
“A world house of learning” — Winter/Spring 2007
“Human instruments of God’s grace” — Autumn 2006
“In Christ, ‘all things hold together'” — Summer 2006