Church Relations Newsletter – Summer 2014

Commencement 2014

The 158 graduates of the Hesston College Class of 2014 were encouraged to take the Hesston College values of Christian community, diverse cultures, caring and joy with them as they go everywhere during Commencement exercises May 11. Speakers Joyce Huber, nursing faculty, and Marelby Mosquera, natural science faculty, presented the address “Passport for Your Dream: From Here to Everywhere.” Student speakers were Nathan Peters (North Liberty, Iowa) and Hannah Weaver (Inola, Okla.). Special ceremonies on May 10 honored five disaster management graduates, 52 nursing graduates, two pastoral ministries graduates and 15 aviation and air traffic control graduates.

Graduate Overcomes Barriers

Class of 2014 graduate Simon Zehr (Tiskilwa, Ill.) accomplished something he didn’t always think would be possible when he received his Hesston College diploma at Commencement May 11. Zehr has Williams syndrome, a genetic condition characterized by learning disabilities and developmental delays among other challenges. The support of Hesston College faculty, staff and students helped him overcome his would-be roadblocks, balance his social and academic life and achieve success. Zehr was among five graduates honored for completing the Disaster Management Program on May 10. This summer, he is completing an eight-week field experience requirement working with Mennonite Disaster Service in High River, Alberta, Canada. At the annual LarkFest Awards May 2, he was one of three students honored with the Service Leader Award for more than 60 service hours logged during the academic year.

Students commissioned for summer service

During Hesston College chapel April 30, 40 students were commissioned for Christian ministry and service for summer and fall placements by Campus Pastor Todd Lehman. The students will serve around the world in positions from camp counselor to supervisor at disaster sites. “These students are going to make a difference in someone’s life because they are willing to join with and participate in Jesus’ ministry that is already taking place in all of these different settings,” said Lehman.

Spring break 2014

Travel for continued learning was a popular student option during spring break March 8 to 16. A group of 11 nursing students traveled to Chiluvuru, India, where they observed and assisted doctors at Menno-Clinic, India. Nine nursing students traveled to Russia where they participated in several healthcare discussions and conferences. Serving with Mennonite Disaster Service in Duluth, Minn., were 14 students, and eight education students spent the week studying pedagogy at two Mennonite schools in Puerto Rico.

Conference reveals Bible’s eternal truths

The 190 participants at Hesston College’s Anabaptist Vision and Discipleship Series (AVDS) explored the relevance of the Bible in the contemporary age during the weekend conference Feb. 21 to 23. The weekend’s theme, “Reading the Bible in an Instagram World,” featured the college’s Biblical Literature curriculum, which intentionally looks at the Bible in its historical context instead of reading stories from a modern understanding. Presenters were Hesston College Bible and Ministry faculty Marion Bontrager and Michele Hershberger, well-known theologian and actor Ted Swartz and music-leader Jeremy Kempf.

Becoming one with the Bible through ink

Hesston College’s Biblical Literature course was so transformational for one student, he had it tattooed on his arm. The Heilsgeschichte timeline is the chronological story of the people of God and the cornerstone to the Bib Lit course. For Nathanael Ressler, a 2014 graduate studying Bible from Mount Vernon, Ill., it is now a permanent reminder that the biblical story is also his story and identity. “The tattoo is one of the greatest decisions I’ve made because it reflects who I am, and it’s a new way for me to talk about Jesus and the Bible.”

Renovation project underway

Hesston College was selected as a recipient of a $500,000 grant from the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation in Tulsa, Okla., for the impending construction of a new campus entrance and renovation of Northlawn, the college’s performing arts building. The total cost of the project is $3.8 million. Large lead gift commitments totaling $1.52 million were given by Excel Industries, Inc. (Hesston, Kan.) and Jayco, Inc. (Middlebury, Ind.), as well as other donors. Construction will begin in late 2014 and will be completed in August 2015 in time for the 2015-16 academic year.