There’s not much that Glenn Gilbert can’t do.
In June, the jack-of-all-trades will add one more thing to his decorated resume: retirement.
Following his 35th year at Goshen College, Gilbert will retire as the longest serving employee currently on GC’s campus.
In 1985, Gilbert started as an electronics technician, working in a small room in the science building. On the side, Gilbert was also the chief engineer for the WGCS radio station. Later, he transitioned into computer maintenance for the six PCs on campus at the time, he says.
Gilbert eventually moved into the physical plant shortly after as utilities manager, where he spent most of his 35 years at GC before moving into his current role as director of facilities.
Gilbert has also dipped his foot into teaching, leading a few Goshen Core classes as well as taking the lead on the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program following Carolyn Schrock-Shenk’s passing.
Along with his ever-changing titles at the college, Gilbert has taken on countless positions on committees and campus initiative teams with a goal of strengthening the justice-oriented identity of GC.
“One of the things I love about Goshen College is my ability to move freely in areas that aren’t physical plant-related,” Gilbert said.
Gilbert was on the first anti-racism team at GC in 1996. Around the same time, he was the faculty advisor for the LGBTQ support club now known as PRISM. In 2008, he answered the call for climate commitment from former GC President James Brenneman, as he dedicated his time to reducing the carbon emissions of the college.
All of these experiences proved to be formative for Gilbert as he continued many of the initiatives he set foot in.
The sustainability commitment has been seen through by Gilbert, most recently in the 2018 report highlighting the lowest year of energy consumption at GC in the last 25 years. Sustainability efforts have been Gilbert’s forte, something he has been known for around campus.
The 924 solar panels found on top of the Rec-Fitness Center are there today in large part, because of Gilbert.
Two faculty members started at GC just a few months after Gilbert in 1985. John Roth, professor of history and Joe Springer, curator for the Mennonite Historical Library, have been able to see Gilbert’s impact on the GC community over the years.
“Glenn is a person of amazing ability,” Springer said. “He has used his skills and lots of creativity and common sense to keep GC moving forward in many good ways.”
Gilbert’s passion and dedication for green solutions is the engine to the car moving the college forward.
“My guess is that he has returned his salary to the college many times over in cost savings he has implemented,” Springer said.
In many ways, Gilbert is somebody who many on campus look up to.
“When we worked on developing the five Goshen College core values, I think we probably had Glenn in mind as the model,” Roth said. “For me, he captures the spirit of Goshen College. It's hard to imagine the campus without his smiling presence, busily at work solving problems big and small.”
When asked why he felt that now was the right time to retire, Gilbert’s explanation was simple, “35 [years] sounds like a nice, round number.”
Gilbert is unsure of his immediate plans following retirement, but could see himself working on sustainability projects, consulting or teaching.