College features new programs and expanded opportunities for participation amidst global pandemic

Students play water balloon volleyball during Mod Olympics, Opening Weekend 2020.

Students play water balloon volleyball during Mod Olympics, Opening Weekend 2020.

Hesston College welcomed 177 new students to the campus community for the 2020-21 year. A decline in international student enrollment, largely caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic, was offset by steady domestic student enrollment numbers.

Official enrollment numbers released following the 20th day of classes show a total student enrollment of 363 from 28 U.S. states and territories and 23 countries. The domestic student population includes 51 percent from Kansas and 35 percent from other U.S. states and territories. International students comprise 13 percent of the population. The percentage of domestic minority students continues to climb, rising from 25 percent of the total student population in Fall 2019 to 28 percent this year.

“The 2020-21 school year has brought with it much newness, uncertainty and promise,” said President Joseph A. Manickam. “Many international students who had planned to attend Hesston in person were unable to do so because of our current global reality. We look forward to welcoming those students to campus in the near future. We’re happy to report that many of those students are attending Hesston through online coursework, which is a first for our college. A vibrant culture of learning and growth continues here at Hesston.”

Hesston’s Center for Anabaptist Leadership and Learning (or CALL), a hybrid ministry program focused on disciple-making, launched this fall with its first cohort. The online/in-person hybrid program welcomed students from all walks of life, including ministers, farmers, nurses and teachers enrolled in classes aimed at building a missional Church. Students can earn a Missional Leadership Certificate at the completion of the CALL curriculum.

Junior and senior students continue their studies in nursing and aviation, with the first four-year professional pilot degrees to be awarded this academic year. Hesston students can also take advantage of expanded extracurricular options. A DECA Emerging Leadership Team provides opportunities for entrepreneurial-minded students who want to improve their leadership skills through experiential learning, including business-related DECA competitive events.

“Our campus continues to innovate, grow and change in positive new ways during a world-historical pandemic. It is a testament to the resilience of the Hesston College community,” said Manickam.