On Monday, President Stoltzfus announced that Goshen College had hired both Jim Alvarez as the chief financial officer (CFO), and, in an unexpected turn of events, Ben Bontrager as the vice president for operations – a position that previously did not exist at Goshen College. 

A search for a new chief financial officer began after Deanna Risser, an employee of Goshen College since 1999, transitioned to the role of vice president of finance at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary. 

At GC, Risser had previously worked as administrative assistant, manager of business operations/budget analyst, assistant director of institutional research and budget and financial reporting manager. She also led a Study-Service Term unit to Nicaragua in 2012. 

While the search committee managed the hiring process, Tom Stucky, a former college president and professor, served as interim CFO. The search committee consisted of Ann Vendrely, Dominique Burgunder-Johnson, Andrew Hartzler, Brian Mast, Kathy Meyer Reimer and Todd Yoder. 

Both Alvarez and Bontrager had applied for the open position. Alvarez had been senior vice president and CFO at Everence since 2006, and Bontrager had been CFO of Goshen Health since 2018. Before working at Goshen Health, Bontrager had been CFO and later vice president of operations at LeMaster Steel Erectors. Both men have degrees from Goshen College: Alvarez graduated in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in economics, and Bontrager graduated from the Master of Business Administration program in 2019. 

In an email to all Goshen College employees, Stoltzfus wrote that, as she “spent time with them and considered our challenges and also the many positive initiatives we have in motion, I determined that hiring both of them would move us forward in important ways.” 

She wrote that Goshen College is in a solid financial position, and that she believes it will be important to focus on growth in the coming years. As chief operating officer, Bontrager will supervise facilities, the events office and Information Technology Services, and will oversee sustainability, capital projects and strategic plan implementation. His first day in office will be Jan. 10.

As CFO, Alvarez will oversee the accounting office, and will begin on Mar. 1. Both men will also be taking their years of experience to the classroom, where they will be supporting the business department with teaching, planning and advising.