Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Goshen College names Florida Keys marine biology facility and develops new partnerships

Those involved in the celebration included: (left to right) Tony Swinehart, associate professor of biology at Hillsdale College and 1992 Goshen College alumnus; Suzanne Bishop, wife of the late Goshen College Professor of Biology Franklin Bishop; President Jim Brenneman; Goshen College Professor Emeritus of Biology Jonathan Roth; Carl Weaver, biology teacher at Goshen High School and 1969 Goshen College alumnus; and Ryan Sensenig, assistant professor of biology at Goshen College.

GOSHEN, Ind. – In a celebration of its marine biology program, Goshen College recently named its Florida Keys facility the J.N. Roth Marine Biology Station, and a lab the C.F. Bishop Marine Biology Laboratory. They are named in honor of former Goshen College biology professors Jonathan Roth and the late Franklin Bishop.

Roth and Bishop are credited with the vision that led to the development of the marine biology program, and later to the founding of the current facility, which provides students with the opportunity to research and learn in Florida. Roth taught at Goshen College from 1962 to 2004, and Bishop taught from 1956 to 1985. Current students can participate in a May Term marine biology course in the Florida Keys.

Though the marine biology program has been around for more than 40 years, the facility, located in Layton, Fla., was dedicated in 1986. Since the retirement of Roth and Bishop, the marine biology program was kept alive by recently retired Professor of Psychology Duane Kauffman, who became fascinated with the study of marine biology as a result of a trip with Roth and Bishop. Kauffman has assisted with the program since 1976.

In a presentation on March 20, President James Brenneman officially announced the new name of the center, following reflections from Carl Weaver, biology teacher at Goshen High School, and Tony Swinehart, associate professor of biology at Hillsdale College. Both Goshen College alumni, Weaver and Swinehart studied with Roth and Bishop in the Keys and credit their own teaching careers to the two influential professors.

Ryan Sensenig, assistant professor of biology at Goshen College, shared his vision for the continued development of the marine biology program. He is pleased about the new relationship between Goshen College and Dr. Mark Butler from Old Dominion University (ODU) in Virginia. "Dr. Butler has been working the Keys for more than 20 years," Sensenig said. Old Dominion's program has installed additions to Goshen College's facility – including a diving deck, an outdoor wet-lab and a re-circulating saltwater tanks for specimen observation – and Butler uses it for his research.

To further collaborate with ODU, Goshen College has introduced a new internship, available to two students who will stay at the J.N. Roth Station for two weeks this summer and help Butler with his research.

Goshen College is also forming a partnership with Goshen High School this year for the first time, through which Weaver and his students can use the college's facility in the Keys. This particular program also includes parents and community members who wish to study with Weaver.

"What is perhaps most unique about our program is not the facility, but the relationships that have been the vehicle for the science," Sensenig said. "From the vision of two biology professors, we now have scholars and teachers committed to rigorous, field-oriented and experiential education that permeates all levels of education."

– By Anna Ruth, Goshen College Record

Editors: For more information about this release, to arrange an interview or request a photo, contact Goshen College News Bureau Director Jodi H. Beyeler at (574) 535-7572 or


Goshen College, established in 1894, is a residential Christian liberal arts college rooted in the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition. The college's Christ-centered core values – passionate learning, global citizenship, compassionate peacemaking and servant-leadership – prepare students as leaders for the church and world. Recognized for its unique Study-Service Term program, Goshen has earned citations of excellence in Barron's Best Buys in Education, "Colleges of Distinction," "Making a Difference College Guide" and U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Colleges" edition, which named Goshen a "least debt college." Visit

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