Event: President’s farewell address: “Back to the Future: Reflections on Being GC’s 16th President”
Date & Time: Friday, April 21, at 10 a.m.
Location: Goshen College Church-Chapel
Cost: Free and open to the public
Goshen College President Jim Brenneman will deliver a farewell address on Friday, April 21, at 10 a.m. in the Goshen College Church-Chapel, titled “Back to the Future: Reflections on Being GC’s 16th President.” The public is warmly invited and a reception will follow.
This will be Brenneman’s final address to the campus as president. At the end of the 2016-17 academic year in May, President Brenneman will step down from his role as the 16th president of Goshen College, concluding 11 1/2 years of service to the college.
Brenneman said he believes it’s the right time for him to step aside to allow new leadership to advance Goshen College to the next level of success, building on what has been accomplished. “I truly believe, by God’s grace and blessing, the best days of Goshen College are still to come,” he said.
Changes at the college over Brenneman’s tenure have reflected his vision for the institution to become a “World House of Learning” that would reflect the intercultural diversity of the worldwide Anabaptist body of believers and the intercultural makeup of the communities the college serves, locally and globally.
Brenneman launched the Center for Intercultural & International Education in 2006 and three campus institutes in 2011: the Institute for the Study of Global Anabaptism, the Institute for Ecological Regeneration and the Institute for Intercultural Leadership. The total percent of international and intercultural students at GC has since grown from 18 percent (2006-07) to 33 percent (2015-16), and Goshen College’s Latino student body has increased from 5 percent to 16 percent during the same period of time.
Under Brenneman’s direction, GC’s general education program — the Goshen Core — was redesigned in 2012 to focus on intercultural, international, interdisciplinary and integrated learning. Online classes and e-portfolios made their debut on campus, and the college 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). Additionally, under Brenneman’s leadership, despite the global financial crisis of 2007-09, contributions of nearly $70 million above tuition were raised in support of Goshen’s program, most notably providing increased scholarships to make college more affordable and accessible.
“We are more interculturally diverse in our makeup, more interculturally competent in our teaching practices and more confident in realizing our vision than ever before in the history of Goshen College,” Brenneman reflected. “There is no turning back, since this vision has been woven into the very fabric of Goshen College since our first president, Noah Byers, coined the motto, ‘Culture for Service.’”
A centerpiece of Brenneman’s vision included Goshen College’s full embrace as an anchor institution in the city, state and region.
Brenneman earned a Bachelor of Arts from Goshen College in 1977. He attended Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana, and completed a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. He continued his studies at Claremont (California) Graduate University, earning a Master of Arts in religious studies and a Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament studies.
An ordained minister in Mennonite Church USA, Brenneman was the founding lead pastor of Pasadena Mennonite Church, where he served for 20 years. He also served on the faculty at Episcopal Theological School at Claremont in Old Testament scholarship for 15 years.
Brenneman and his wife, Dr. Terri J. Plank Brenneman, a clinical psychologist and also a 1977 Goshen College alumnus, are the parents of a son, Quinn, who also attended GC.