Grant awarded to write college’s story about diversity and inclusion

John D. Roth, professor of history, will lead the project to examine and frame the college’s history, identity and heritage in light of the present context of the GC’s mission and vision.

Goshen College has received a $40,000 NetVUE “Reframing the Institutional Saga” grant to examine and frame the college’s history, identity and heritage in light of the present context of the GC’s mission and vision.

“Our history as a college, especially in the area of diversity and inclusion, is both sobering and inspiring,” said John D. Roth, professor of history, who is leading this project. “I hope that this effort to rightly remember our past can inform the decisions we are making today and enable us to face the future with a greater sense of confidence.”

This project, anticipated to be completed in two years, will result in a book focused primarily on the past 50 years, and will provide a narrative and analysis of this transformation. According to Roth, “the book will argue that “these recent changes are fully consistent with a deeper narrative of Goshen College and should be embraced as a new, creative expression of those values in the 21st century.”

During the past 20 years, Goshen College has undergone a profound demographic, religious and cultural transformation. Between 2000 and 2019 the number of students identifying as other than white U.S. Americans grew from 16 percent to 43 percent, with the largest growth coming from Latinx students, who currently make up 25 percent of the student body. Fewer students today live on-campus than 20 years ago; the percentage of first-generation students has significantly increased; more students are involved in athletics; and a greater percentage qualify for grants from the federal government for families with the largest financial need.

During the same period of time, the religious profile of the campus changed significantly, with a decline in the percentage of students and teaching faculty who are Anabaptist-Mennonite, the religious denomination with which the college is affiliated.

And culturally, in 2015 Goshen College voluntarily withdrew from the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities when the college announced a new hiring policy that would not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

“These changes offer opportunities for revitalization of our campus culture as well as our commitments to social justice and cross-cultural engagement. It is essential to reflect on our own history and to integrate these changes into our institutional story and identity. I am very pleased that Professor Roth is taking on this important writing project,” said President Rebecca Stoltzfus.

Goshen College is among a select group of NetVUE members chosen to receive one of these awards, which are made possible through financial support to the Council of Independent Colleges by Lilly Endowment Inc.