Search committee announced for Hesston College president

Elkhart, Ind. – Hesston College and Mennonite Education Agency (MEA) will begin the search for the ninth Hesston College president with the first meeting of the search committee set for January 2016 on the college campus. The Hesston College Board of Directors and the MEA Board of Directors have jointly appointed a Presidential Search Committee that includes board members as well as alumni, professors, students, pastors and church and educational leaders. All are individuals, committed to the future of Hesston College and Mennonite education, who will come together from across the campus, the church and the country to begin the work of calling a uniquely qualified person to lead the 106-year-old institution.

“Selecting the president of an institution is one of the most important responsibilities of both the Hesston College and Mennonite Education Agency Board of Directors,” said MEA board chair Judy Miller. “The Hesston College search committee will be charged to create a presidential profile. The committee is expected to take time to listen to the multiple perspectives of Hesston College stakeholders and be informed by the strategic plan of the institution. They will be responsible for promoting the position in order to generate a list of possible candidates. Their work will culminate in recommendation of a candidate of choice to both the Hesston and MEA boards.”

Kelvin Friesen, chair of the Hesston College Board of Directors, said, “We have assembled a search committee that represents an abundance of professional, geographic, and ethnic diversity, with a common appreciation of and commitment to Mennonite higher education. Led by Hesston College board member Ken G Kabira, the search committee is eager to begin their work. We are thankful for their commitment and enthusiasm, and look forward to their recommendation of the person who will lead the Hesston College community where each student is educated and nurtured academically, socially and spiritually.”

The committee includes:

  • Addie Banks, Bronx, New York, current MEA board member. Banks is founder and executive director of The Groundswell Group and pastor of King of Glory Tabernacle, a Mennonite Church USA congregation.
  • Lynette Bontrager, Archbold, Ohio, current MEA board member. Bontrager has served on many boards and has a strong commitment to Mennonite education.
  • Tony Brown, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, retired Hesston College artist-in-residence, faculty member and campus counselor. Brown is an internationally acclaimed baritone.
  • Kendra Burkey, North Newton, Kansas, Hesston College professor of communication and an alumna of Hesston College.
  • Barth Hague, Newton, Kansas, CEO of Mirror, Inc. Hague is city commissioner for Newton and an alumnus of Hesston College. He also serves as chair of the board for The Mennonite.
  • Ramiro Hernandez, Washington, Iowa, current MEA board member. Hernandez is a church planter and Hispanic coordinator for Central Plains Mennonite Conference. He served on Howard Keim’s mid-term review.
  • Ken G Kabira, Naperville, Illinois, chair of the search committee and current Hesston College board member. Kabira is associate executive director of Water Quality Association and an alumnus of Hesston College.
  • Marie Morris, Anderson, Indiana, current Hesston College Board member. Morris is provost at Anderson University and an alumna of Hesston College.
  • Luke Roth-Mullet, Hesston, Kansas, current Hesston College board member. Roth-Mullet is vice president of operations at Excel Industries and an alumnus of Hesston College.
  • Chuck Neufeld, North Newton, Kansas, retired conference minister of the Illinois Mennonite Conference and pastor emeritus of Community Mennonite Church. Neufeld is also a folksinger, songwriter and storyteller.
  • Carlota Ponds, Hesston, Kansas, staff for Hesston College Alumni/Church Relations.
  • Carlos Romero, Goshen, Indiana, executive director of Mennonite Education Agency. Romero is an ex-officio member of the search committee.

The Presidential Search Committee is responsible to both the Hesston College board and the MEA board. Search Committee chair Ken G Kabira said “Hesston College is small but it gives a big experience to students. Thousands of students have been transformed by Hesston’s Christ-centered environment and quality education. God has provided the college with capable and faithful leaders for over 100 years. The committee will carefully discern God’s will for the college’s future, and I ask everyone to pray for Hesston College and our committee.”

Carlos Romero, executive director of MEA and ex-officio member of the search committee, said, “Hesston College plays an important role in the life and ministry of Mennonite Church USA. The institution has had a significant impact in the denomination and beyond. The commitment and experience that search committee members bring is a special blessing to Hesston College, Mennonite Church USA and the broader community.”