GOSHEN, Ind. – In times of change, there is both challenge and opportunity, said Virgil Miller, chair of the Goshen College Board of Directors. Taking on an immediate challenge, the Board’s Executive Committee and Goshen College President’s Council, with the support of Mennonite Education Agency, have been working together to plan for the college’s presidential transition following the resignation of President Shirley H. Showalter.
Under the authorization of the college’s Board of Directors, plans have been made for providing direction and managing campus affairs while the search for a new president takes place, Miller said. He announced that John D. Yordy has accepted the invitation to serve as Goshen College’s interim president.
The Goshen College Board of Directors met Wednesday, Aug. 18, to confirm the appointment of Yordy, GC Provost and Executive Vice President since 1997, as interim president. In consultation with MEA, the Board also continued to work on establishing a search process, which will include forming a search committee, and affirmed the plan of the President’s Council for working to distribute responsibilities for seamless leadership.
“We are confident that John Yordy, who is a well-respected administrator and is known for his commitment to the Mennonite Church, will continue to serve Goshen College well in leading the President’s Council and, by extension, the entire institution,” said Miller. “There is excellent support within the President’s Council, which is a strong group of professionals. This interim leadership structure will carry the vision of the college forward, addressing immediately issues and moving ahead in positive ways.”
Showalter named Yordy as provost for Goshen College prior to her inauguration as president of the 110-year-old institution. Yordy’s duties included overseeing and coordinating the offices of the academic dean and dean of students as well as supervising the college budget offices and information technology and managing strategic planning processes. As provost, he also served as chief executive officer in the absence of the president.
A 1967 Goshen College graduate, Yordy worked as an industry research chemist and received his doctorate in organic chemistry from Michigan State University in 1974. He belongs to numerous state and national academic and scientific organizations. He is the recipient of a Sears and Roebuck award for excellence in teaching. Yordy has spent significant time abroad, working for Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) and Heifer Project International for two years in Mexico, and teaching in Nigeria, from 1967 to 1970. During a teaching sabbatical, he was a visiting professor of chemistry at the University of Nairobi, Kenya. With his wife, Winnie, he has led Study-Service Term units in Honduras and the Dominican Republic. They are parents of three adult sons, all GC graduates, and are members of College Mennonite Church.
Miller said that the interim leadership team, led by Yordy, evolved out of the current leadership structure – a process that went “very smoothly.” The President’s Council includes Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students William J. Born; Vice President for Institutional Advancement Andrea Cook; Vice President for Finance Jim Histand; and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Academic Dean Anita Stalter. Miller noted that all members of the President’s Council are experienced in their positions and already have key roles in administrative leadership.
“There is excellent support within the President’s Council, which is a strong group of professionals,” said Miller. “They will carry the vision of the college forward in this interim time, moving ahead in positive ways.”
Yordy, who has served on the Goshen College faculty since 1977, said, “I am confident that this leadership team, which had been assembled by President Showalter, will continue to work collaboratively with the campus community and constituents in our mutual commitment to educate students for leadership and service in the church and the world.”
He expressed appreciation for President Showalter’s leadership and for the skills and abilities of each President’s Council member.
Miller said announcements will be made soon in regards to events to publicly thank President Showalter for her nearly eight years of service to the college, which will include a farewell event on Sept. 20. Showalter will officially end her term by the end of September; she will join Fetzer Institute of Kalamazoo, Mich., as vice president for programs.