I had some pressing questions for Rebecca Stoltzfus, president of Goshen College, so we sat down for a chat. Her responses have been lightly edited.What are some of your biggest pet peeves?
Stinky dish rags. And another one, although I’ve come to love it and feel affectionate about it, is when I load the dishwasher and then Kevin reloads it because he doesn’t think I loaded it right.
Are you down to try to define some slang from the youth?
Slang from the youth?
Yeah, how would you define “spilling tea”?
I’m a tea drinker, so I understand this one. It’s when I knock the tea on the floor.
And what about “rizz”?
Rizz? I think Rizz was a character in the movie “Greece.”
Okay, what about “slay”? People say “oh, slayyy.”
Yes, I have heard that. I’m not sure what it means.
What about “high key” or “low key”? If I say “I’m low-key nervous about my interview with Becky,” how would you define it?
It means that you are mildly nervous.
That’s basically right!
Awesome! And my answers to the first two were sarcastic.
So, moving on to my next question. Do you have any particularly embarrassing moments from your childhood that you’d be comfortable sharing?
Well, one that was embarrassing to me was our family went on a trip somewhere, and we went on one of those cave tours where you go through the caverns and that sort of thing.
I was quite a fearful child, so I got scared partway through and decided that I needed to hold somebody’s hand. I held on really tight to my mom’s hand all the way through the cave, and then we got back out into the light, and it wasn’t my mom.
That’s a good one!
And I had a lot of other embarrassing moments.
I grew up in a city in Illinois that didn’t have a Mennonite congregation, so my parents offered my older sister and me the opportunity to go to Eastern Mennonite High School and be dorm students there. Going from the Midwest to Virginia, a large public school to a small Mennonite school, was just really culturally confusing to me.
I broke so many rules, mostly related to dress code. It was largely unintentional, but doggone if I didn’t get sent home. Like, they called me to the principal’s office in the middle of the morning, saying, “You have to go home because your skirt is too short,” or “your neckline is too low,” or “your shirt is too tight,” or whatever. It was just embarrassing to have to go home and change clothes in the middle of the day.
I bet! My next question is, do you enjoy any weird food combinations? If so, what are they?
One weird food combination that I’ve learned to like that I adopted from my husband’s family is a peanut butter pickle sandwich.
What are some weird/funny encounters that you might’ve experienced as president?
I went to my class’s 40th homecoming reunion.
I was on the fence about whether to go or not, because it’s sort of weird to go to your class reunion when you’re the president of the school.
I walked in the door and there was a woman from my class whom I vaguely recognized. She introduced herself. Then she introduced me to the man beside her, who is not a Goshen College alum, and she said to him, “she’s the president of Goshen College,” and his face just registered shock, and he said, “that is so [expletive] cool.”
I don’t know whether you can print that.