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  • Robert Dale Hamsher (1936 - 2020)
    Robert was born in Shanesville,Tuscarawas County, OH to Milo and Ollie (Miller) Hamsher and cared for his invalid mother for 22 years after his father passed away. He graduated from Sugarcreek-Shanesvi...
  • Owen J. Yoder (1893 - 1978)
  • Ronald Lee Sommer (1949 - 2018)
    KIDRON — Ronald Lee Sommer, 68, of Kidron, died peacefully at home on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018, after a brief illness. He was born Oct. 30, 1949, in Wooster, to the late Norman and Erma Lou (Miller) Somm...
  • John Wolf Miller (1926 - 2017)
    MILLER, John Wolf Passed away peacefully on Saturday, December 2, at the age of 90, at home surrounded by family. Son of Orie and Elta Miller. Survived by his son, Christopher Miller (Hennie) and daugh...
  • Jennifer "Jenny" Lee Wengerd (1968 - 2015)
    Jennifer “Jenny” Lee Wengerd, 47, of Goshen, passed away Friday afternoon, September 11, 2015. She was born May 11, 1968 in South Korea. On Oct. 16, 1993 she married Doug Wengerd. He survives along wit...


Goshen College (also known as Goshen or GC) is a private liberal arts college in Goshen, Indiana. The institution was founded in 1894 as the Elkhart Institute, and is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. It has an enrollment of around 1,000 students. The college is accredited by North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.

Goshen College maintains a distinctive Christian Mennonite environment, but admits students of all religions. U.S. News and World Reports ranks Goshen as a third-tier liberal arts college.

Goshen is known for its Study-Service Term (SST), a program that takes students to another country for three months. Students' time on SST is split into two sections. For the first half of the semester students study the country's language, history and culture, usually in the capital. In the second half, students live with host families in smaller cities or rural areas where they do service work. Service placements range from teaching English to working on a farm, recording traditional natural remedies to playing with children at a childcare facility. The Study Service program was founded in 1968 before study-abroad programs became widespread. Current SST destination options are Peru, Senegal, Tanzania, China, and Cambodia. The college has also offered a domestic SST to immerse students in the Latino culture and community in northern Indiana.[citation needed]

Goshen College is home to the Mennonite Quarterly Review and the Mennonite Historical Library, a 75,000 volume library compiling the most comprehensive collection of Anabaptist material in the United States.

Goshen tends to maintain a fairly steady 55/45 ratio of women to men. Goshen's student percentage of Mennonite students to other affiliations is approximately 50/50.

The history of Goshen College is intertwined with that of the Mennonite experience in America. Because both histories have been so important to each other, it is necessary to explain Goshen's stories as related to larger American and Mennonite society.

Goshen College is the first Mennonite school of higher education in North America to confer a four-year degree. "Old" Mennonites had traditionally been suspicious of higher education, but by the late 19th century, opinion started to change. Decades earlier, U.S. mainline church denominations had started on a spree of founding colleges across America with hopes of developing well-trained clergy for their congregations. As more "Old" Mennonites sent their children to other Christian colleges, they realized that, without a college of their own, many of their youth would leave the church. Thus, prompted in part as a reaction to mainline Christianity, the "Old" Mennonites started the Elkhart Institute in Elkhart, Indiana in August 1894 to prepare Mennonite youth for college. Because of this vision, even though Goshen today is open to everyone, its historical relationship with the Mennonite Church has had a lasting impact that is still very visible: It is home to the Mennonite Quarterly Review, Mennonite Historical Library, Mennonite Church USA Archives, including Mennonite Central Committee archives, offices of "The Mennonite" and numerous alumni connections with the broader Mennonite Church. H.A. Mumaw, a practicing physician, first led the small operation. In 1894, a group of 15 "Old" Mennonite ministers and laymen started a corporation that they named the Elkhart Institute association. The first diploma was awarded in 1898. Lured by businessmen to relocate several miles away to Goshen, Indiana, the Institute moved in September 1903 and added a junior college course list, renaming itself Goshen College. By 1906, the Mennonite Board of Education took control of the college, dissolving the Elkhart Institute Association. A complete college course was established in 1908 and the first Bachelor of Arts degrees were conferred in 1910. The college-prep academy program of Goshen College was discontinued in 1935. However, after 1910, most of Goshen's students were enrolled in college courses. From 1914 to 1919, partly out of response to its constituents, Goshen College attempted a "School of Agriculture," which sought to prepare Mennonite young people to return to their rural communities. The hope was that such a program would spark a technological revolution among some of the farmers. Unfortunately the program was never a success and, after World War I, the program was cut, five years after it began.

The school was closed during the 1923-1924 school year by the Mennonite Board of Education but reopened the following year. One of many factors in closing the college was denominational tension due to modernist and fundamentalist Christian theologies of the 1920s and their impact on Mennonite theology at the school. In response to this crisis, many of Goshen's faculty and dozens of students, angry with the Mennonite Board of Education's decision, relocated to Bluffton College. As part of the larger ongoing reaction against liberalism through the early 20th century, Hesston College and Eastern Mennonite School were formed among "Old" Mennonites, although staunch traditionalists realized that no higher education was particularly safe.

When the institution was reopened, it was marked by the new leadership of president S.C. Yoder and dean Harold S. Bender, a man whose influence upon the "Old" Mennonites was significant for much of the 20th century. Bender carefully piloted the stormy waters of theology by stating that Mennonitism was not liberalism. Bender later went on to say that fundamentalism also contributed to problems with theology and created The Anabaptist Vision, a "third way" that sought to spell out the direction for the future Mennonite Church. More than arguing doctrine, Bender and a younger group of intellectuals at Goshen College sought to shape the Mennonite faith that was more ideological than institutional. The goal was to articulate a faith that could stand the test of academic scrutiny in broader society while carefully upholding traditional beliefs of the church. Out of this ideology, Bender started the Mennonite Quarterly Review. Throughout this time, Goshen remained the epicenter of "Old" Mennonite theology and higher education, and became known as the "Goshen Historical Renaissance"

During the 1940s, Goshen was one of the Mennonite Central Committee's key places to form a "relief training school" that helped to train volunteers for unpaid jobs in the Civilian Public Service, an alternative to the Army. Many Mennonites chose the civilian service alternative because of their beliefs regarding Biblical pacifism and nonresistance. Although the young women pacifists were not liable to the draft, they volunteered for unpaid Civilian Public Service jobs to demonstrate their patriotism; many worked in mental hospitals.[8]

In 1980, Goshen College was granted care of Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center, a 1,150-acre (4.7 km2) nature preserve that now offers Goshen's Master's degree in Environmental Science. In 1993, Harold and Wilma Good, longtime friends of the college, left their estate to Goshen. The estate was estimated at roughly $28 million, the majority in stock of the J.M. Smucker Company. Wilma was a daughter of the company's founder. The college sold the stock and added the funds to its endowment, more than doubling it.[9] The campus experienced a building boom in the later half of the 1990s through the present, with an estimated $30 million in new or renovated structures on campus. This included the addition of the Roman Gingerich Recreation-Fitness Center, the Music Center, the Connector, and the renovation of all dormitories. The college is currently working on a new campus master plan and strategic plan that will define the college's priorities for the years ahead. Today, more than 20,000 Goshen College alumni have been counted, residing in more than 85 countries. The Goshen campus has flourished from less than 50 acres (200,000 m2) to 135 acres (0.55 km2) with 18 major buildings.