The business of interaction – President’s perspective

Hesston College President Howard Keim
Hesston College President Howard Keim

This issue of Hesston College Today features the contributions of our Business Department, and I am pleased to be able to add my comments to the articles that follow.

I am especially pleased that we are able to honor Bill Mason, past administrator and current faculty member, with a scholarship that bears his name. The scholarship is funded by a generous donor who is recognizing Bill’s positive influence on the lives of many students who have taken their places in leadership across the country and around the world. David LeVan is a newer face to Hesston College, bringing a strong academic background along with teaching and leadership experience. He is already gaining a reputation as a fine instructor. Along with Bill and David, Vickie Andres as chair of the department and Bob Harder and Lorna Harder as instructors give us a strong, diverse faculty.

Sarah Lederman is one example of a student leader whose entire family has been influenced by their experience at Hesston College. In this academic year, I have met with successful business leaders from Washington to Florida and points between who tell moving stories of their formative experiences here. I often wish I could somehow capture those stories and bring them back in the same form to encourage our faculty.

It is appropriate that we focus our attention on faculty and students, rather than facilities, equipment, or even programs. At its best and most basic, education occurs at the interaction points between teacher and student. At Hesston College, we add the value of personal attention, opportunities for internships and project-based learning, and interactions with people who are active and successful in their fields.

One example may illustrate what I have attempted to share above. In the fall of 2009, eight students, along with Vickie Andres and Bill Mason, attended the Mennonite Economic Development Associates annual convention in San Jose, Calif. They were able to interact with business leaders from all economic sectors and parts of the country, as well as attend fine programs. Each year, MEDA holds a case competition, with entries from Mennonite colleges. At this convention, the winning entry was Eastern Mennonite University, whose entire team was made up of students who transferred to EMU after two years at Hesston College.

Thank you for your interest in the mission and work of Hesston College.