“Mary Oyer’s passionate quest and openness to expanding the musical canon, the ‘sound pool,’ of the Mennonite church and of Goshen College to be more than mere perfect imitation will prove to be, in my estimation, one of her greatest legacies.”
Though it was well known in her family, community and college that Lois Mary Gunden Clemens ’36 (Goshen College French professor 1939-41, 1944-58) had served in southern France during World War II with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), helped many children and had been a prisoner of war for a year, the extent to which she risked her own safety and played a critical role in helping to save Jewish children’s lives during the Holocaust recently came to light with the research of her niece Mary Jean Gunden ’77.
When Isaac Steiner, 7, died on March 6, 2013, after a 21-month struggle with brain cancer, his parents, Rob and Sarah Steiner ’98, were devastated. Though the experience of Isaac’s illness was agonizing, the Steiners found that having meaningful nursing care made a difference. As a tribute to their son and his nurses, they recently established a scholarship for Goshen College nursing students in the hope that recipients will provide the same kind of compassionate care that Isaac received.
The day of March 29, 1921 found Vesta Zook (Slagel), a 1915 graduate, and Vinora Weaver (Salzman), a 1918 graduate, in the New York City harbor boarding the SS Regina d’Italia ship for a 19-day voyage to Constantinople. Three months earlier they had gotten the call to become the first “lady workers” with the fledgling relief organization Mennonite Central Committee (MCC).
Just weeks after the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami devastated 300 miles of Japan’s coastline on March 11, 2011, Amya Miller ’98 returned to the country, where she was born and spent her childhood, in order to volunteer as an interpreter for a relief organization. More than two years later, Miller is still working to ensure that the needs of disaster victims are not forgotten.