The Class of 2022 processes into Commencement on Sunday, May 1.

Retiring history professor encourages the Class of 2022 to live the ‘Good Life’ with love, truth and healing

» Commencement photo album
» Full-text of Commencement Address, “What is the Good Life?” by Dr. John D. Roth
» Academic Department Receptions and Baccalaureate photo album
» Nurses Pinning photo album

During the 124th Goshen College Commencement on Sunday, May 1, Dr. John D. Roth addressed the 214 graduates about the big question, “What is the Good Life?” (read the full text of the speech here) and encouraged them to live with love, truth and healing.

Roth, a 1981 Goshen College graduate and a retiring professor of history from the college, asked graduates to contemplate what is the guiding force in their individual lives.

“What is the ultimate purpose or meaning – what the Greeks called telos – that will give your future a focus; that will make your choices meaningful rather than impulsive or random?” asked Roth. “What understanding of the Good Life will enable you to align your one precious life with what really matters as you seek to close the gap between the world as it is and the world as you yearn for it to be?”

Roth reminded graduates of the nature of the Good Life they were taught while at Goshen College. First, he said, the Good Life is the embrace of God’s unconditional love.

“The Christian language for this love is grace, in which we cannot pretend away all of our imperfections, our flaws, our weaknesses, our anger, our self-loathing, our fears, all of the bad things we’ve done…yet we still are loved,” he said.

Second, he said, the truth sets us free. “Part of the Good Life, in the Goshen College tradition, is the courage to see beneath appearances to a deeper reality, and to name those realities openly and honestly,” he said.

Commencement speaker, Dr. John D. Roth

And third, Roth said, the Good Life offers healing for the wounds of the world. “The Good Life calls us into the world to participate in the healing work of reconciliation and peacemaking,” he said. “Indeed, you can’t fully experience the power of healing in your own life, until you are ready to offer yourself in the healing of others.”

In conclusion, he said, “Know that you are loved, dare to live a transparent life, ready to speak the truth; and do your part to heal a world that is divided and broken.”

Roth has been a professor of history at Goshen College since 1985, where he also served as director of the Mennonite Historical Library and editor of The Mennonite Quarterly Review. He is also the founding director of the Institute for the Study of Global Anabaptism at Goshen College and secretary of the Mennonite World Conference Faith and Life Commission. He has published widely on topics related to Anabaptist-Mennonite history and church life. As he retires from working at Goshen College in June, he will be moving into the role of the project director for MennoMedia’s “Anabaptism at 500” initiative.

The event in the college’s Roman Gingerich Recreation-Fitness Center’s Gunden Gymnasium was the first time in two years in which friends and family members could also be physically present for the important annual ceremony due to the impact of the pandemic.

Faculty retirees: Keith Graber Miller, Randy Horst, Ruth Stoltzfus, John D. Roth

During the commencement ceremony, the college also honored four retiring teaching faculty who have served a combined total of 107 years:

  • Randall Horst, professor of art (17 years);
  • Dr. Keith Graber Miller, professor of Bible, religion and philosophy (32 years);
  • Dr. John D. Roth, professor of history, Mennonite Historical Library director, Mennonite Quarterly Review editor, Institute for the Study of the Global Anabaptism director (36 years);
  • and Dr. Ruth Stoltzfus, professor of nursing, co-director of Doctor of Nursing Practice program (22 years).

Concluding, the faculty lined the main corridor of the Recreation-Fitness Center and applauded the departing seniors as they walked through an “applause tunnel.” This is a tradition which also takes place at the beginning of each academic year to welcome students back to campus.

Class of 2022 by the numbers:

  • Total number of graduates: 214
    • Bachelor of Arts degree recipients: 154
    • Bachelor of Science degree recipients: 5
    • Master of Science in Nursing degree recipients: 21
    • Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree recipients: 27
    • Doctor of Nursing Practice degree recipient: 1
    • Master of Arts in Environmental Education degree recipients: 5
    • Master of Business Administration degree recipient: 1
  • Number of graduates from Indiana: 123
  • Number of states represented in this year’s graduating class: 21
  • Number of countries represented in this year’s graduating class: 12