College announces establishment of five endowed scholarships

Hesston College announces establishment of the following endowed scholarships: RD Snyder Life Sciences Scholarship, Janice R. Brubacher Nursing Scholarship, Sherwyn J. Smeltzer Business Management Scholarship, Doris and Harold Hjelmstad Scholarship and Ventura Family Scholarship.

RD Snyder Life Sciences Scholarship

Dr. Ronald Snyder ’54 began his educational journey at Hesston Academy in 1950. The foundations he gained at Hesston College served him throughout this career. “As it turns out, my college experience was the springboard that eventually propelled me onward to a very satisfying career in medicine,” said Snyder.

A college education was not a guarantee for Snyder. “Coming from an agrarian, small farm background, higher education was not a top priority for my future,” he said. “My hope is that this scholarship will be helpful to the recipients toward achieving their goals in one of the many life-science careers.”

This scholarship will be awarded to student(s) in good standing with the college experiencing financial need who are pursuing studies in nursing, medicine or a similarly affiliated life science field.

Janice R. Brubacher Nursing Scholarship

The Janice R. Brubacher Nursing Scholarship will provide funding for students experiencing financial need and pursuing nursing.

For Janice Brubacher, Hesston College has always been part of her life. Her parents worked for the college for twenty years and her home was just down the street. “We lived near the campus so I grew up riding my tricycle and bicycle on the campus sidewalks,” she said.

Her own educational path started at Hesston Academy in 1962 and led her to pursue a career in nursing. Although her life took direction away from nursing into the field of business management, her passion for the field never changed.

“My parents, now both deceased, always taught me the importance of tithing, saving and giving,” said Brubacher. “May God continue to work through your nursing program to carry out His love to many people.”

Sherwyn J. Smeltzer Business Management Scholarship

Students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in management at Hesston College have the opportunity to benefit from the newly established Sherwyn J. Smeltzer Business Management Scholarship.

The scholarship was established in memory of Sherwyn Smeltzer who graduated from Hesston College in 1984 with an Associate of Arts degree. Sherwyn thrived at Hesston College and loved his years as a Hesston College Lark. These years were foundational for him, his career and his life. His natural desire to serve others was nurtured.

After graduating from Hesston College, Sherwyn went on to complete a Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, where he majored in accounting. However, he never forgot his transformational START at Hesston College.

Sherwyn’s varied career path, including positions in accounting, school counseling, special education and financial planning, have a common thread of providing the opportunity to Sherwyn to utilize his passion – serving and helping others.

Sherwyn’s life ended tragically when he was killed in a traffic accident in May of 2020. His widow, Deirdre L. Smeltzer, established this scholarship to honor Sherwyn’s memory in the hope that it provides the opportunity for other students to thrive at Hesston College the way Sherwyn did. Her hope is that a management degree at Hesston College and the nurturing environment experienced by her late husband will provide a way for his deep commitment to serving and helping others to continue.

Doris and Harold Hjelmstad Scholarship

The Hjelmstad family is a Hesston family. Doris attended Hesston College 1939-1940, and then her daughters, Shirely (Hjelmstad) Hostetler, and Sharon (Hjelmstad) Marner, attended 1961-1963. Her son, Richard Hjelmstad, attended 1972-1974. Her son, Kenneth, also attended in 1972.

With 80 years of Hesston College history in the making, this scholarship has been named on behalf of this Lark family to support students pursuing nursing. This scholarship will serve those in particular who are experiencing financial need.

Ventura Family Scholarship

Hesston College has provided an academic, spiritual and foundational influence in the lives of the Ventura family since the 1940s. “We are so appreciative to the many Mennonites who had the vision to establish Hesston Academy and College, which provided a Christ centered education and Christian role models,” said John Ventura.

With the help of lifelong friends Lester Hershey, Esther Rose Buckwalter-Graber, Don Driver and the Snyder family, members of the Ventura family were able to study and be nurtured at Hesston. “We pray that this scholarship will provide financial support to minority students who can experience the rich Christian foundation it has brought the Ventura family,” said Ventura.

“I wanted to honor my father and my mother,” said Ventura. “We have hopes that students of Mexican heritage or Native Americans will benefit from the rich Christian education that it has brought the Ventura family.”