Dr. Rebecca Stoltzfus announced as candidate of choice for Goshen College’s 18th president
Thursday, May 25, 2017
Posted by: Ann Gilly
May 24, 2017 - The Goshen College Presidential Search Committee announced alumna Dr. Rebecca Stoltzfus as its candidate of choice to become the college’s 18th president during a special all-campus gathering on May 24.
Dr. Stoltzfus is vice provost for undergraduate education at Cornell University, an Ivy League institution in Ithaca, New York. In this role, she oversees initiatives designed to enhance undergraduate instruction and campus efforts to support inclusivity and academic success for all of Cornell’s students. She also has experience cultivating major financial gifts for the university. Since 2011, she has been part of the leadership team of Engaged Cornell, a university-wide public engagement initiative.
Dr. Stoltzfus is also a professor in Cornell’s Division of Nutritional Sciences. Before joining the Cornell faculty in 2002, she taught human nutrition at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (Baltimore, Maryland) — the top-ranked school of public health in the United States. Her research focuses on the causes and consequences of malnutrition in women and children in low-income countries.
In response to being named the presidential candidate of choice, Dr. Stoltzfus said, “The transformative education I received at Goshen College has fundamentally shaped my understanding of the world and my work as a global health researcher, as a teacher and as a leader in higher education. Thus, I am deeply honored by this call to return to my alma mater to serve and lead at this time.”
Dr. Stoltzfus graduated from Goshen College in 1983 with a major in chemistry, and received master’s and doctoral degrees in human nutrition from Cornell University.
Dr. Conrad Clemens, chair of the Goshen College Board of Directors, said, “Speaking for the board, we believe that Rebecca’s extensive leadership experience at two of the top academic institutions in our country as a distinguished professor and administrator will serve her as president and the college very well as we together continue to build on the positive path we are on.”
Faith Penner, chair of the Presidential Search Committee and a GC board member, added, “In addition to being someone who knows how to listen well, ask good questions, solve hard problems and put everyone around her at ease, Rebecca’s passion for and commitment to the college’s Anabaptist-Mennonite core values of compassionate peacemaking and global citizenship exemplify her life and work.”
Dr. Stoltzfus will be formally introduced to the college community when she visits the campus June 14 to 15. The Presidential Search Committee will review feedback received during the visit and present a final recommendation to the GC and Mennonite Education Agency (MEA) boards.
Dr. Stoltzfus graduated from Eastern Mennonite High School(Harrisonburg, Virginia), which honored her with an alumni award in 2009. She also served on the Goshen College Board of Directors from 1998 to 2007.
“I am eager to work with the students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the college to sustain our distinctive mission of ‘Culture for Service,’ and to continue to broaden access to Goshen’s academic excellence through cultivating an inclusive and engaged campus community,” she said. “I look forward to envisioning contemporary ways of living out our Anabaptist-Mennonite faith commitments and core values to address the pressing needs around the world, in our local community and for the broader church.”
“In addition to Rebecca’s remarkable leadership and academic qualifications, I can think of few others who have as deep a love for and commitment to Goshen College as she does,” Clemens said. “As a graduate, recent board member and parent of current students, her returning to Goshen College is truly a coming back home.”Dr. Stoltzfus is married to Kevin W. Miller, a 1985 Goshen College graduate with bachelor’s degrees in biology and nursing, and a master’s degree in public health from The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He is an administrator in their church, and has previously worked as a nurse, a public health practitioner and a community health researcher. They are parents of Lydia Miller, a Goshen College senior majoring in mathematics, and Gabe Miller, a Goshen College sophomore majoring in environmental science. Her parents are alums Victor and Marie Stoltzfus of Goshen, and her father was president of Goshen College from 1984 to 1996.
The search process is a joint effort of the Goshen College Board of Directors and the MEA Board of Directors. MEA is the education agency of Mennonite Church USA that supports six higher education institutions, including GC. It provides counsel and staff support in presidential transitions.
“We are grateful for Rebecca’s deep commitment to Anabaptist values and how they have instructed her daily life,” said Dr. Judith Miller, chair of the MEA Board of Directors. “It is a gift she will bring to the GC community.”
“I am grateful for the careful, thoughtful and rigorous work of the search committee members throughout this process,” said MEA Executive Director Carlos Romero, who has been an ex-officio member of the Presidential Search Committee. “The diligent work of the committee and its recommendation of Dr. Stoltzfus will serve Goshen College well.” The Presidential Search Committee, which began its work in October 2016, includes board members, as well as college alumni, faculty, students, church and educational leaders, and community members.
Goshen’s provost, Dr. Ken Newbold, will serve as interim president beginning July 1 until Dr. Stoltzfus takes office in early November.
A joint release of Goshen College and Mennonite Education Agency