Hesston College’s annual Homecoming celebration Sept. 22 to 24, will be one for the history books as it will also mark the inauguration of the college’s ninth president, Dr. Joseph A. Manickam.
The special weekend for alumni, friends and the wider community will carry the theme “Grounded in Community, Globally Engaged,” which speaks to the tradition of a strong campus community, the college’s role in the larger Hesston community, and the global perspectives and connections Dr. Manickam brings to the role of president.
Manickam understands the need for global vision well as his work and life have taken him across the world and into different cultures and traditions. Most recently, he served as director of the Institute of Religion, Culture and Peace and faculty member for peace studies at Payap University in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It’s a perspective that serves as a strong guide as he leads the college into a context that reaches beyond local boundaries.
“Community is an important part of what we do here,” said Manickam. “But it’s also a concept that goes beyond what is local. It’s beyond campus, beyond the city limits and stretches to all parts of the world. We want our students to be global citizens who are able to understand others’ points of view, have respectful dialogue with those whom they disagree, and develop their own informed opinions and ideas.”
Manickam’s inauguration will be at 3 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 23, at Hesston Mennonite Church.
Guests from across the country and around the world, including all four living former presidents, Laban Peachey (1968-80), Kirk Alliman (1981-92), Loren Swartzendruber (1993-03) and Howard Keim (2005-16), are expected on campus for the weekend’s events and to help celebrate the college’s community and international reach.