the Goshen College Bulletin | Alumni magazine since 1956

Former Faculty Profiles

Photo of Carl KreiderCarl Kreider '36

The former professor of economics, long-time dean and acting president said he was one of those students tapped on the shoulder by faculty members – several of whom asked him to return, in a few years, to teach at his alma mater. He returned the favor many times, encouraging students to follow their individual callings and ensuring that they had the tools they needed to succeed. One of the students he tapped was Elaine Sommers Rich ’47, instructor of English at Goshen from 1947 to 1953, who, in a Mennonite Weekly Review column, said Kreider encouraged her to attend graduate school and reassured her of her talents as a young professor during times when she doubted her path. Kreider also pushed her to edit the Maple Leaf and become one of the few female debaters on campus. –Ryan Miller

photo of Roy UmbleRoy Umble '35

Myron Yoder and Roy Umble both had grand visions for improving communications – Yoder began the ASL major in 2002, Umble planted his seed much earlier by starting Goshen's communication program. A Goshen professor for 36 years, Umble helped found campus radio station WGCS-FM, organized the Intercollegiate Peace Oratorical Contest and was a leader in introducing theater to the Mennonite Church, directing plays ranging from Shakespeare's "As You Like It" to Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" at GC. Although he encountered some early resistance about the "worldly" enterprise of theater, Umble said that he was willing to make compromises because "you love your audience." The John S. Umble Center, built in 1978, is named after Roy's father, who taught English and speech at Goshen College. –Jessica Yoder '02

photo of Norma Jean WeldyNorma Jean Weldy '54

While Brenda Srof sees Norma Jean Weldy as a role model in nursing, Weldy had heroes of her own. During a civil service appointment in 1956 with the National Institutes of Health, Weldy was impressed by a head nurse who believed call lights were on to be answered, and would respond to them herself if no one did promptly. "I tried to be that kind of head nurse later," recalled Weldy in a Goshen News article. Weldy taught nursing at Goshen College for 33 years, during which time she published Body Fluids and Electrolytes, started the first CPR courses in the area and began the Stephen Ministry program at her church. But Weldy, who retired in 1995, is most remembered for combining holistic medical practices with a deep sense of compassion. –Jessica Yoder '02

photo of Robert Buschert Robert Buschert '48

Using X-ray crystallography in his graduate school science lab, Dan Smith probably didn't know he was tinkering with the life work of former Professor of Physics Robert Buschert. A member of the science faculty for over 30 years, Buschert developed the Turner Precision X-ray crystallographer, which measures the bulk and surface properties of crystals. Though Buschert's brainchild had lucrative implications for industry, he preferred using crystallography research projects to mentor students. Buschert found research with undergraduates exciting and he didn't discard faith when he pulled on his lab coat. Known for the religion and science course he team-taught with Marlin Jeschke, professor emeritus of philosophy and religion, Buschert challenged students to integrate their faith with science, realms sometimes perceived as irreconcilable. –Jessica Yoder '02

photo of Kathryn ShererKathryn Sherer '54

As associate professor of music, Kathryn Sherer was the hands-on head of the piano preparatory department that began in 1966. Amy Kauffman, who took lessons from Sherer from ages 8 to 13, lauded Sherer's patience and creativity, the latter exemplified in one piano preparatory recital where each student played selections from Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker, while the others danced around in little leotards. Kauffman played the Sugar Plum Fairy, wearing a purple tutu and holding a make-shift wand – an experience of the expression and enjoyment found in music that Kauffman, now a violinist with the Metropolitan Opera orchestra in New York City, will never forget. Sherer and her husband, Lon, professor of music, retired in the late 1990s. –Jessica Yoder '02

photo of Mary OyerMary Oyer '45

While Dean Rhodes became "Latinized," Mary Oyer became "Africanized." After studying music in Kenya, the professor of music underwent a transformation from an ardent classicalist to a more eclectic musician. "I was so much a classical musician," said Oyer, who served as executive secretary of the Mennonite Hymnal and at one time spoke out against the Beatles. Yet she calls her experience overseas an "eye-opener" and began incorporating ethnic music into her Fine Arts class at GC and hymn sings, eventually teaching a course in African Arts. "I have never been the same," said Oyer. –Jessica Yoder '02

photo of Willard SmithWillard Smith '28

Jan Bender Shetler traveled across Africa and the Caribbean, but Willard Smith earlier made his home on the range. A professor of U.S. history at GC for 42 years, Smith often sang "Home on the Range" in his rich baritone voice as part of his lectures about the American West. Like Bender Shetler, who collected stories in Tanzania to understand changes in social identity, Smith and his wife, Verna Graber Smith '28, professor of Spanish at GC for 40 years, initiated a scholarship in U.S. studies to encourage GC history students to "study our history and institutions objectively, critically and constructively, both our strengths and weaknesses." Smith hoped that through an understanding of history and story, students could see how faith shaped their lives and expressed itself in the world. –Jessica Yoder '02

Ezra Hershberger '34

While Merrill Krabill sees the infinite possibilities in clay or canvas, former Professor of Art Ezra Hershberger saw countless artistic opportunities in the sky. The first night after Hershberger enrolled at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1944, he walked outside, looked up at the stars and said, "Rembrandt, here I am," according to a South Bend Tribune article. A landscape painter with an impressionistic flair, Hershberger became the college's first full-time art professor and laid the foundation for an art department that in 2002 has 38 majors and five instructors. And, like Krabill, Hershberger worked with all sorts of media and relished teaching students in classes as diverse as painting, drawing and art education.
–Jessica Yoder '02

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