After several months of discussion, President Stoltzfus has released a new mission statement for the college.
The new statement reads: “Goshen College transforms local and global communities through courageous, creative and compassionate leaders. Shaped by Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition, we integrate academic excellence and real-world experience with active love for God and neighbor.”
The process of creating a new mission statement began in May of 2018. The committee involved in the process included all employees, student senate, the alumni council, president’s cabinet and Board of Directors. The statement was approved by both the GC Board of Directors and the Board of the Mennonite Education Agency.
When President Stoltzfus began her term, the Board of Directors asked her if it was time for a new mission statement. She said,“I did a lot of listening to faculty, staff and students, and specifically asked them about our current mission statement. People were not enthused about it, so we decided to take it on.”
One adjustment made was length. At only two sentences, the new statement is shorter than the previous one, which was a paragraph long. It reflects answers to the remarks people made during discussions about what people wanted from the statement.
“I love the boldness of the first sentence, which truly states what we are about in the long term: transforming communities,” said President Stoltzfus. “This statement commits us to act as leaders and to educate for leadership with qualities that are badly needed in today’s world. And it feels authentic.”
She continued to say that she encounters courage, creativity and compassion on the GC campus. “I also love the key ingredients in the second sentence: academic excellence, real-world learning and active love for God and neighbor,” said President Stoltzfus. “We do this extremely well, in ways that are distinctively Goshen.”
During the discussions, some people wanted to note that a part of GC’s distinctiveness is that it is an Anabaptist and Mennonite institution. Others wanted to ensure that the college welcomes and includes people from outside the Mennonite tradition.
The new statement emphasizes leaders that possess Christian qualities, whereas the previous statement said that the college educates Christians. This new emphasis reflects the student body, which is more diverse and interfaith than before.
Other requests included using plain English in the statement, being clear about the outcome and not just the process, letting the college’s excellence shine and making sure the statement felt like Goshen.
As higher education becomes more generic, the hope is that this new statement will showcase the distinctive mission of GC.