Since the last academic year, two administration positions have been updated: Goshen College President and Dean of Students. These roles have been filled by Ken Newbold and Gilberto Perez, Jr.
Newbold’s term as Goshen College president began on June 1 and will continue until the end of October, when Dr. Rebecca Stoltzfus will come into office on Nov. 1, 2017.
So far during Newbold’s time as president, he’s traveled to Orlando, Florida for the Mennonite Church USA Convention where he met with prospective, incoming and previous students. He also got the opportunity to engage with the other presidents of Mennonite colleges, such as Eastern Mennonite University and Hesston College.
“Before we knew it, it was new student orientation days…it’s been very energizing to have everyone back. It was a good feeling to know that we’re all here and classes are underway,” said Newbold.
President Newbold said he had a handful of goals for his term, despite it only being five months long. His first goal was to open Goshen College for yet another year of school and welcome the new and returning students. He also hopes to help during a time of transition: he’s fulfilling the role of president while Dr. Stoltzfus prepares to take over the position.
“My goals are stability in transition and leadership and vision to get the year started,” Newbold said.
Newbold is excited about focusing on compassionate peacemaking as Goshen College rolls into the incoming year.
“We’re at this place in time and history where it seems like we need a lot of people working on peace in the world,” Newbold said. “I think [compassionate peacemaking] can really make a difference for us as a community and beyond.”
Newbold went on to say how excited he was to work alongside Perez, as well as students in hopes of making Goshen College a better place to live. He then specifically mentioned President Donald Trump’s decision to end DACA and how he and Perez planned on helping “more vulnerable” students.
“Right now we must show our solidarity with the most vulnerable in our community…having staff that know how to engage with this population is important. Having students obtain more knowledge on how to interact and intervene with the most vulnerable is also important to me,” he said.
“We want to just continue to make campus an inclusive place for everyone,” Newbold said.
Perez, who began his term as dean of students in July, also has plans to create a safe environment for all students through working alongside faculty and staff.
“I’m inviting staff to attend suicide prevention training, racial justice conferences, leadership conferences and sexual violence conferences,” he said.
With a focus on leadership, one of Perez’s biggest goals is to make sure GC students can experience what it’s like to work in administration and service.
He also wants to give students a platform “to connect with business leaders, local leaders, state and federal legislators.”
“I firmly believe that students possess all of the gifts necessary to lead,” Perez said.
Another important goal Perez is focused on is creating a campus that is accepting and understanding of differences.
He plans on creating an “Inclusion Council” that works with faculty and students to establish an accepting campus.
Both Newbold and Perez agree that “[they] can build a stronger and more vibrant GC community.”
“We’ve made progress but there’s a long way to go on a host of things,” Newbold said.
“There’s an openness and welcoming invitation for dialogue and conversation with any member in our community.”