the Goshen College Bulletin | Alumni magazine since 1956
Photo of Rachel Lapp About this issue:

Setting the pace for century of growth

Last summer, when the second and third floors of the Administration Building were once againrenovated for new space and technology needs, the tall, dark wooden doors that opened or closed the wings of the former Assembly Hall were uncovered by Physical Plant personnel who were preparing to reframe a southwest classroom. With other Public Relations staff members, I looked up photos of the space now known as “Ad 29” and realized, not for the first time, that this nearly 100-year-old building has accommodated one of the most revolutionary centuries for human progress – from plumbing, heating and electricity to telephone, cable and Internet wiring – as well as the industrious spirit of faculty and students expanding hearts and minds in the spirit of “Culture for Service.”

In the year that ground was broken among wheat stalks, not maple trees, for the Goshen College Administration Building, Theodore Roosevelt was president of the United States (which was populated by 76 million people living in 48 states); Marie Curie won the Nobel Prize in physics; the Wright brothers flew the world’s first successful airplane; the first baseball World Series was played; India suffered a devastating plague; and the several thousand residents of the City of Goshen got a new neighbor.

That first remarkable year of our campus in Goshen, 1903-1904, perhaps set the particular pace and energy for vision, leadership, innovation, service, creativity, school spirit and growth that has characterized Goshen College through successive generations.

On a tour of Goshen College today – whether in a multimedia experience (see our new online “Virtual GC” feature at to see the campus today) or physical tour of campus – one can glimpse a century of goals made and reached: 18 major buildings surrounded by a campus park of 135 acres where maples stretch high and Frisbee players have green grass on which to play in all seasons. Additions and renovations have created spaces – from new residence halls to science labs, parking lots to multimedia classrooms, performance halls to small group housing – suited to the times and to the needs of students and faculty. A phone system serves every room, and Internet connections reach every building. Today, I can correspond via e mail with alumni from Goshen or Germany, parents from Pennsylvania or Paraguay or SST leaders in Cuba or China.

Yet our facilities and grounds and technology reveal only a fraction of the results of GC productivity sparked by the life of mind and spirit of individuals gathered in an intentional community of faith and learning. On this campus, church leaders have been called; new chemical compounds have been created; hymns have been composed; books have been written; plays have had their debut; postcards have arrived from around the world; and a very special community continues to generate: its unique traditions and tales: when we gathered on the steps of Kulp Hall to kick off renovations to our oldest standing residential building, it was not blueprints that we reviewed, but stories were shared about very early campus pranks (a midnight visit to slumbering female students by confused sheep placed there by a group of males) to courting Kulp style.

This institution has attracted, since its beginnings, individuals who wish to use their gifts not only to further their own studies but also to contribute positively to their campus, church and world. In furthering their knowledge, 19,500 alumni have made this campus an inspiring axis of questions and ideas; in deepening their discipleship, they have continued into lives of service and leadership. Participation and accountability is important here, exampled by faculty and students across time. The spirit that drives Goshen College today was perhaps seeded when a wheat field was cleared 100 years ago.


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