Maynard Sauder, longtime supporter of the Goshen College community, passed away on Aug. 28, in his hometown of Archbold, Ohio. Sauder and his wife, Carolyn, were instrumental in the construction of the Goshen College Music Center, donating a substantial amount of the $22 million project.

Sauder Hall is named in their honor. 

In memory of Sauder, Goshen College produced a tribute video in September as a personal response to Carolyn and the Sauder family. The video consists of several of Maynard Sauder’s favorite hymns sung by the Goshen College Chamber Choir in Sauder Hall. 

Todd Yoder, vice president for institutional advancement, remembers Sauder as a “charismatic leader” and a “wonderful mentor to friends and family.” 

“To put it real simple, he was just a great guy,” Yoder said. 

Over the years, Sauder and his wife, Carolyn, have deeply impacted the Goshen College community, especially through their role in the creation of the campus music center. As members of the steering committee that brought the Music Center into being, the Sauders not only funded the building process, but also committed to raising an endowment to support the construction of the facility. 

Dr. Scott Hochstetler, professor of music, attributes much of the music department’s reputation today to Sauder’s support. 

“What he and Carolyn were able to do for the college… has profoundly impacted a whole generation of music makers,” he said. “And beyond the music makers, [there are] audience members who have come here from around the country who would not necessarily have set foot on the Goshen College campus [otherwise].” 

Brian Mast, executive director of the Music Center, said that the Music Center has the “ability to expand the regional footprint of Goshen College” through community outreach, such as the Community School of the Arts and the Performing Arts Series. 

“The Music Center has become even more than what [the Sauders] initially thought it could be,” he said. “That’s part of the mission of the Music Center, and an amazing outgrowth of that generous legacy gift.” 

Sauder’s natural sense of leadership inspired many people to contribute to or become involved in the construction of the Music Center. 

Yoder recalls the story of how the Music Center project was initiated in part by Sauder during a hymn sing at a Goshen College donors’ retreat in Colorado in 1997.

“I’ve talked to people who were there,” Yoder said. “I’ve heard it told in really dramatic fashion, and I’ve heard it told in a more even tone, but I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle. The theme was that [Maynard] got up and [asked]: ‘President Showalter, isn’t it true that Goshen College’s highest priority is to create a music center?’”

“And the answer was yes,” Yoder said. “He turned to his peers and said, ‘We should make that happen.’”

The grand opening of the Music Center came soon after in the fall of 2002.

Sauder loved music, and he was particularly passionate about the Mennonite tradition of hymn singing. 

“We were honored to be asked to pay homage to Maynard through his love of hymn singing,” Hochstetler said. “It was especially poignant for me because we haven’t been able to sing and worship together through hymn-singing [for a long time], so for us to be able to do that in that space that they helped bring about was very, very special.”

Sauder is survived by his wife Carolyn, who has been equally instrumental in supporting Goshen College over the years. 

“As I talk about Maynard as a donor and a supporter,” Yoder said, “I always talk about Carolyn and Maynard, and Maynard and Carolyn, because they were such a great team.”

“Carolyn continues to support the Music Center at a high level,” Mast said, “and her generosity is really humbling.”