Senior Leadership

President and Administrative Council

Ross Peterson-Veatch portrait

Dr. Ross Peterson-Veatch, interim president, vice president of academics

Joan Griffing

Joan Griffing, academic dean

Lisa Longacher

Lisa Longacher, director of development, acting vice president of advancement

Grant Myers portrait

Grant Myers, vice president of enrollment management

Michael Smalley portrait

Michael Smalley, vice president of student life


Affiliated with Mennonite Church USA, Hesston College is governed by the Hesston College Board of Directors. Mennonite Education Agency and Hesston College appoint board members collaboratively.

Hesston College Board of Directors

Chair Ken G Kabira, Bartlett, Ill.

Ken G KabiraBoard Term: 2014-18, 2018-22, 2022-26

Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Narita Manufacturing Inc.

Ken (goes by “Kenji” but spells it “Ken G”) currently serves as the EVP & COO of Narita Mfg., the U.S. subsidiary of a Japanese manufacturer that supplies critical parts to the passenger rail car industry. He has been in executive leadership roles for nearly two decades. He has served as a chief marketing officer in all three sectors of the economy – private (McDonald’s Japan), public (Chicago Transit Authority) and nonprofit (National-Louis University and Lions Clubs International). He also serves on the board of directors of Japan America Society of Chicago.

Member of Lombard (Ill.) Mennonite Church

Education:

  • A.A., liberal arts, Hesston College, 1981
  • B.A., behavioral science, The University of Chicago, 1985
  • M.B.A., marketing, The University of Chicago, 1992

Ken G has two children, Joe (b. 1996) and Alice (b. 1999), and is an avid cyclist and a passionate fan of Arsenal Football Club in addition to Hesston Larks.

“As an alumnus of Hesston College, I have benefited enormously from the intellectual, social and spiritual formation I experienced at the college over thirty years ago. It was only for two years, but Hesston was a time and place that gave me a significant growth experience. It may be a small place, but Hesston can give a big experience to young people who are making a critical transition in their lives. I want to help the college continue to thrive as an institution that can provide such a positive experience to future generations.”

Vice chair Anita Stalter, Goshen, Ind.

Anita StalterBoard Term: 2018-22, 2022-26

retired Vice President of Academic Affairs and Academic Dean, Goshen College

Member of College Mennonite Church, Goshen, Ind.

Education:

  • A.A., Sauk Valley Community College (Sterling, Ill.), 1967
  • B.S., Eastern Mennonite College (Harrisonburg, Va.), 1979
  • M.Ed., early childhood education, James Madison University (Harrisonburg, Va.), 1984
  • Ph.d., teaching, curriculum and educational policy, Michigan State University (East Lansing), 1997

Anita has two grown children.

“I was education department chair at Goshen College for 13 years and an administrator there for 14 years. During those years I had the opportunity of seeing Hesston transfers who came to Goshen College with a solid academic background and a commitment to the core values and mission of GC. I also served on the recent Hesston College presidential search committee and through that process learned the value of a Hesston College education.”

Secretary Paula Brunk Kuhns, Portland, Ore.

photo - Paula Brunk KuhnsBoard Term: 2019-23

Retired Teaching Learning Coach, Colorado Springs School District 11
Co-owner of Just Cause, a Fair Trade Store LLC

Paula worked in public elementary schools both as an educator and as an instructional coach. She now enjoys selling fair trade goods through her mobile store, Just Cause. She spent three years with Mennonite Central Committee in Mexico and has served on the leadership board for Mountain States Mennonite Conference, the Mennonite Women USA board, and the Leadership Discernment Committee for Mennonite Church USA.

Member of Portland (Ore.) Mennonite Church

Education:

  • A.A., Hesston College, 1979
  • B.A., University of Colorado Colorado Springs, 1987
  • Elementary teaching license, University of Colorado Colorado Springs, 1989

Paula and her husband, Bruce (Hesston College, 1978), enjoy living close to their son (Hesston College, 2002), daughter-in-law (Hesston College, 2003), and twin grandsons (Hesston College, 2029?).

“My years at Hesston College set a trajectory for my life through academic and spiritual growth as well as lasting relationships. I was encouraged to be actively engaged in the world, and I value that the college has continued growing into an academic community with global impact. I am honored to serve on this board and look forward to discerning new directions as Hesston enriches the hearts and minds of its current and future students.”

Treasurer Ivannia Graber, Goshen, Ind.

Ivannia Graber

Board Term: 2022-26

Audit Manager at Blazek & Vetterling, Houston, Texas
Ivannia is a CPA and has been working in public accounting for over 15 years. She has experience working with many different industries but currently focuses and specializes in tax-exempt organizations.

Member of East Goshen Mennonite Church

Education:

  • B.A., Goshen (Ind.) College, 2008

Ivannia and Ben Graber have three young children: Lucas, Sebastian and Isabella.

“I really value and support Christian higher education and so I am honored to serve on the board of directors of Hesston College. I have already felt so welcomed and look forward to continuing to meet everyone in this community.”

Scott Barge, Harrisonburg, Va.

Board Term: 2023-27

Associate Vice President, Institutional Data Analytics, Georgetown University
Scott leads the Office of Assessment and Decision Support in providing strategic coordination in data collection, analysis, institutional research and assessment in support of university planning and continuous improvement of educational programs. Scott has more than 20 years of experience in higher education settings, with more than a decade of service to Mennonite higher education. He was previously the vice president for institutional strategy and chief information officer at Eastern Mennonite University (EMU). Prior to that position, he held roles as vice president for institutional effectiveness and strategic planning and director of institutional research and effectiveness at EMU. His main areas of responsibility were strategic planning, assessment, institutional research, accreditation, analytics and oversight of campus technology. Scott has also served as the director of assessment and institutional research and the interim vice president for enrollment and marketing at Goshen College. He gained early experience in institutional research (IR) serving in a variety of roles including research analyst over five years in the IR office at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In addition, Scott served on the board of LCC International University in Klaipeda, Lithuania, from 2011 through 2023. He and his wife Nessa Stoltzfus Barge attend Community Mennonite Church in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Education:

  • B.A., Goshen (Ind.) College, 1999
  • Ed.M., higher education, Harvard University (Cambridge, Mass.), 2006
  • Ed.D., higher education, Harvard University, 2011

“My time at Hesston College was formative, giving me the opportunity to be part of a wonderfully warm academic community and preparing me well for my further studies. I continue to believe that Mennonite colleges and universities have an important role to play in offering a distinctive model of higher education for students from all backgrounds that is grounded in our counter-cultural Anabaptist-Mennonite values.”

Dwight Gingerich, Kalona, Iowa

Dwight GingerichBoard Term: 2017-21, 2021-25

Principal and Boys Basketball Coach, Hillcrest Academy

Member of First Mennonite Church, Iowa City

Education:

  • B.S., Eastern Mennonite University (Harrisonburg, Va.), 1981
  • M.A., counselor education, University of Iowa (Iowa City), 1986
  • administrative endorsement, Morningside College (Sioux City, Iowa)

Dwight and Mo Rhodes (Hesston class of 1983) Gingerich are the parents of two college students and one in high school.

“I have heard so many good things about Hesston from Mo, as she had a terrific experience there. In my role as counselor, I’ve had a number of opportunities to be on campus, and have seen many of our students go there. It is very rare to find someone who hasn’t felt really blessed by their time at Hesston. Hesston strikes me as a nurturing environment, a place highly committed to infusing Christian faith with learning. I am excited to serve in this way!”

Val Gleason, Newton, Kan.

Val GleasonBoard Term: 2020-24

Chief Executive Officer, Newton Medical CenterEducation:

  • diploma, Firestone School of Nursing at Akron (Ohio) City Hospital, 1975
  • B.S., business, Kansas Newman College (Wichita), 1991
  • M.B.A., Baker University (Baldwin City, Kan.), 1999

Val and Monty are the parents of four adult children.

Tim Penner, Harper, Kan.

Tim PennerBoard Term: 2019-23

President and CEO, Harper Industries

Tim is the president and board chair of Harper Industries, a manufacturer of bale handling, hydraulic and lawn and turf equipment in Harper, Kan. He is a past chair of the the Mennonite Economic Development Associates board and has served Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in several roles including as agricultural extensionist and community development worker in Bolivia, country director for Bolivia and interim director for Latin America.

Member of Pleasant View Mennonite Church, Harper, Kan.

Education:

  • B.S., Goshen (Ind.) College
  • M.B.A., Eastern College (St. David’s, Pa.)

Tim and Faith Hershberger Penner (Hesston College, 1974) have adult children and a daughter in law.

Luanne Southern, Austin, Texas

photo - Luanne SouthernBoard Term: 2023-27

Executive Director, Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium, University of Texas System

Luanne, a native of Yoder, Kan., has many years of national, state and local experience in health and human services in the governmental, academic, philanthropic and non-profit sectors. She currently serves as the executive director of the Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium, created by the Texas legislature to leverage the expertise of the state’s 12 academic health related institutions of higher education to address urgent mental health challenges and improve access to the pediatric mental health care system. The focus of her work has been to improve the lives of children and youth with mental health needs.

Education:

  • A.A., Hesston College
  • B.S.W., Goshen (Ind.) College
  • M.S.W., University of Texas at Austin

My two years at Hesston were foundational, and set the course for the rest of my personal and professional life. I have lifelong friends I met at Hesston, friends who are there to celebrate the joys of life and who are there to pick me up and help carry me through the hard times. The pre-social work courses at Hesston and cross-cultural interterm experiences provided invaluable insights and learning that I carry with me to this day. There is a saying, “the best thing we can give our children are roots and wings” – as a member of the board, my hope is that Hesston College can be a place that provides students with the opportunity to continue to grow academically, spiritually and socially as they spread their wings and fly.

Amanuel Wondimu, Dallas, Texas

photo - Amanuel WondimuBoard Term: 2023-27

Stress Engineer for Boeing 737 NG/Max, Kaleidoscope Innovation and Product Design

Amanuel is a structural analysis engineer with multiple years of experience within customer support engineering, flight test center and military programs. He has served on the Hesston College Engineering Advisory Board and the Alumni Advisory Council and as a cultural ambassador of Wichita State University. He was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. During his free time, Amanuel enjoys playing soccer and traveling to new places.

Member of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church

Education

  • A.S., Hesston College, 2016
  • B.S., Wichita (Kan.) State Universtiy, 2019
  • M.S., Wichita State University, 2023

My time in Hesston College has taught me several lessons. Most of all, to serve the community that gives you everything when you need it the most is the valuable one. It is an honor and a blessing to get the opportunity to give back to the HC community as HC helped to shape my career path and live a Christ centered life. It is my wish and goal to help create, support and pass along the very good experiences I had in HC to the community, institution and future generations. Thank you!

Roger Yoder, Goshen, Ind.

Roger YoderBoard Term: 2013-17, 2017-21, 2021-25

Captain retired, American Airlines, and co-owner, New Horizons Aviation, Goshen, Ind.

Member of East Goshen (Ind.) Mennonite Church

Has worked with East Goshen’s youth and young adult groups and served as an elder, fellowship commission chair, as well as various other positions in the church.

Education:

  • A.A., Hesston College, 1979

Roger and Rhonda have two adult children, a daughter-in-law and two granddaughters.

“Hesston College gave me wings many years ago as well as life long friends, a career that I love, and a wife that I love even more. Our children both attended Hesston College and I would like my granddaughters to attend some day. It is my desire to see Hesston College further the work of the kingdom and I am happy to do my small part in making that happen.”