Connecting to our past, living in today, changing with the future – Alumni Director’s perspective

Dallas StutzmanThe 2016-17 school year marks my 32nd year at Hesston College in various capacities: student, admissions, financial aid, teaching, church relations, alumni relations, special events and advancement. I’m grateful for the wonderful opportunities the college has provided me. I’m blessed in many ways with relationships developed over the years. The Hesston College family is simply an amazing group, and we are all connected to and tied together through the Hesston Experience — that subjective feeling that transcends time, unique in definition to each of us, and sometimes hard to define and quantify.

We hosted two significant events this summer that gave alumni an opportunity to reconnect with their Hesston Experience. The first in Lancaster, Pa., honored former President Laban Peachy, and the second in Goshen, Ind., honored former faculty and staff member Bill Mason, both of whom are enjoying life in their 80s. What a wonderful opportunity for them to interact with alumni, former students and friends and share out of their current context!

This issue of Today simultaneously brings joy and sadness. What a joyous group of new graduates who have contributed so much to Hesston College! We celebrated with two outstanding nursing faculty members as they entered retirement after many contributions to students, the college and their profession. Then we grieved the tragedy of lives cut far too short upon losing student Justin Velazquez ’17 soon after spring term ended, and alumna Sheralynn Neff ’11, who died as the result of a skydiving accident in Oklahoma shortly before Today went to print. We continue to offer prayers for their families in the days and months ahead.

Now we look with anticipation to the coming year under the leadership of Interim President Ben Sprunger as we create new definitions of the Hesston Experience. We hope to see many of you for Homecoming 2016: Home Sweet Hesston, which will bring alumni from across the globe to celebrate a collaborative Hesston community homecoming event. We look forward to integrating this broader community homecoming effort to future Hesston College homecomings!

Dallas L. Stutzman ’76, Alumni and Church Relations Director