Saying Goodbye

Known for his passion of Robert’s Rules of Order, Professor Emeritus of Communication Al Albrecht passes away

Professor Emeritus of Communication Al Albrecht ’50 passed away on June 23 in the hospital after a lengthy illness at the age of 84. He taught at the college for 23 years, from 1964 to 1987.

Upon hearing the news, former Professor of Communication Stuart Showalter, who was a colleague of Albrecht, said, “Al Albrecht was one of the faculty founders of the Communication Department at Goshen College, helping to broaden its focus from speech and oratory to include the many modes of communication that we associate with the field today. He provided steady leadership for the department during a time of unprecedented enrollment growth and ferment in the field.

“Al’s kind manner and academic interests in debate, persuasion, oral interpretation, parliamentary procedure and politics encouraged many students to consider graduate programs and careers in law, ministry, education and business. Years later, his former students continue to serve church and society effectively in many different professional roles.”

Albrecht was a 1950 graduate of Goshen College, and then received a master’s degree at Purdue University in 1958 and a doctorate degree at Indiana University in 1965. In addition to teaching at Goshen, he taught for four years previously at Indiana University and three years at the University of Vermont.

In his role at Goshen as professor of communication, he directed forensics, chaired the department and was executive secretary for the Intercollegiate Peace Speech Association. He taught speech and parliamentary procedure in AFL-CIO leadership training institutes, United Steel Workers institutes and local unions. And he was a member of the National Speech Communications Association, the Central States Speech Association and the Indiana State Speech Association.

Current chair of the Communication Department and Associate Professor of Communication Duane Stoltzfus had Albrecht as a professor while he was a student at the college between 1977 and 1981. “He was a master at instilling confidence, and giving students the tools they needed to finish the job,” said Stoltzfus. “I wish that we would have had a chance to teach as colleagues, but when I arrived in Goshen in 2000, Al was retired. Still, he remained eager to contribute. In ways spoken and unspoken, then, his legacy lives on.”

Albrecht was the first president of Aux Chandelles (ADEC) in 1964. He was a former board member of Elcose Credit Union, Elkhart, and he co-founded the Pennsylvania Deitsch Society. He was a parliamentarian for many years for Mennonite General Assembly sessions.

Recently Albrecht had completed a book, A Preacher’s Preacher: The Life and Preaching of John Henry Mosemann (1907-1989) (Evangel Press, 2008), which is a biography with description of Mosemann’s personal style and analysis of his sermons, plus sermon texts.

Albrecht was born Jan. 22, 1924, in Middlebury, Ind., and on June 10, 1951, he married Miriam Sutter ’50. They had two children Trish Yoder, of Goshen, and Jamie Albrecht, of Goshen, as well as four grandchildren. Albrecht was a member of College Mennonite Church in Goshen.

An expert of the drosophila, Research Professor Emeritus of Biology Merle E. Jacobs dies

Research Professor Emeritus of Biology Merle E. Jacobs ’48 passed away on April 9 from pneumonia at the age of 89, though he had Multiple Myeloma since 2002. He taught at Goshen from 1953-54 and 1964-85.

Jacobs served in Civilian Public Service at Jasper Pulaski Game Preserve near Medaryville, Ind., and at Howard, R.I. He received a doctorate in zoology, and did postdoctoral studies and teaching at Duke University from 1954 until 1957. He then taught at Bethany College in West Virginia, Eastern Mennonite College in Harrisonburg, Va., before returning to Goshen.

During this time span of 30 years, Jacobs was also doing research sponsored by the National Institutes of Health in the area of biochemical genetics of melanin pigmentation relative to adaptation, which had implications for aging and other health related issues. Students helped with research as he received grants from the National Institutes of Health.

Jacobs’ research began as he studied the relationships between living things such as insects, birds, fish and the natural world. He was an avid researcher in animal behavior. He particularly studied dragonflies, fruit flies (drosophila), fish and birds. With the help of his video photography, he spent many years teaching in environmental education, both in the community and in camp settings. He always had a deep concern for the wise use and conservation of natural resources. The objective of his research for the National Institutes of Health and for environmental education was to help promote quality of life for all living things. In 1999, Naturebooks published his book, Mr. Darwin Misread Miss Peacock’s Mind, which critiqued Charles Darwin’s idea that female animals select mates on the basis of beauty for the sake of beauty.

Professor Emeritus of Biology Jonathan Roth worked with Jacobs throughout his career at Goshen, and remembers him fondly. “Merle always made sure that the confines of Science Hall were liberally stocked with fruit flies. So that if you left the remains of fruit in your trash, you would soon have visitors,” he said. “He was a very bright guy. In his research, he was searching for new insights and information that might contribute to the overall body of science, and I think he contributed very well in that way.”

Jacobs was born November 30, 1918, in Johnstown, Pa., and married Elizabeth Beyeler on June 7, 1959. They resided in Smithville, Ohio, since 2001, and prior lived in Goshen.