Dr. Joseph Manickam named ninth president

Joe and Wanda (Wyse) ’88 Manickam with Mark Landes, vice president of Finance and Auxiliary Services, during the Manickam's campus visit in November.

Joe and Wanda (Wyse) ’88 Manickam with Mark Landes, vice president of Finance and Auxiliary Services, during the Manickam's campus visit in November.

Dr. Joseph Manickam ’87 has been appointed the ninth president of Hesston College following a unanimous vote from the Hesston College Board of Directors and the Mennonite Education Agency (MEA) board. He will assume office July 1, 2017.

Currently director of the Institute of Religion, Culture and Peace and faculty member for peace studies at Payap University in Chiang Mai, Thailand, Manickam previously served in Thailand for three years with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Canada as director of the Central-Southern and Northeast Asia Program. Earlier in his career, he was director of the MCC Asia Program and associate director of the Center for Anabaptist Leadership in California. He also served five years as associate director of admissions at Hesston.

“The search committee is delighted that Dr. Manickam received a very strong affirmation from Hesston College’s campus community,” said Ken G Kabira ’81, Hesston College Board of Directors vice chair and chair of the presidential search committee. “As his predecessors have done, we are convinced that Dr. Manickam will strengthen Hesston College’s Christ-centered Anabaptist education. We are thankful for the Lord who has led us to this outcome.”

Manickam had been announced in late October as the college’s candidate of choice for its presidency. He visited the campus Nov. 7 and 8, meeting with faculty, staff, students, board members and local church and community leaders. The search committee gathered feedback from the various groups following the visit before making its final recommendation.

Manickam succeeds Dr. Howard Keim ’72, who concluded more than 11 years as president in June. Dr. Benjamin E. Sprunger has been serving as interim president for the 2016-17 academic year.

Manickam earned a bachelor’s in communications from Goshen (Ind.) College and an M.A. and Ph.D. in intercultural studies from Fuller Theological Seminary (Pasadena, Calif.). He has also previously served on the boards of The Mennonite and Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (Elkhart, Ind.).

The search committee praised Manickam’s relational abilities and his strong intercultural competency, which have been common threads in his work.

“Hesston College has evolved during these past 30 years since I graduated while remaining true to its core values—values that strive to shape students, staff and faculty into fluent translators of Christ’s love,” Manickam noted. “It is for this reason that I am excited about my return to Hesston College. I am truly humbled and grateful for the trust the board of directors has expressed in inviting me to this position.”