Brenda Srof of the nursing department and Doug Caskey of the theater department will retire at the end of June after both making the announcements before the start of the semester. 

The pair both graduated in the GC class of 1982 and have both served as chairs of their respective departments.

In Strof’s 31 years at GC, she has witnessed a shift from a predominantly Mennonite campus to a more diverse one. Strof is excited about the change. “I think we have more of a stake in the community that we live in and in the region, so those are good things,” she said. 

Srof said she has especially appreciated the College’s liberal arts mission and commitment to interdisciplinary collaboration. “I love every conversation that I’ve had that’s broader than nursing,” she said. 

Students and faculty who know Srof also appreciate her interdisciplinary approach. 

Annelise Weibe, a senior nursing major, said Srof has fostered a “culture in the nursing department where it is important to be not just a nurse who thinks critically and is proficient in skills, but also one who thinks holistically and is compassionate toward all patients.”

After this year, Srof and her husband plan to move to Kalamazoo, Michigan, where her two daughters and four grandchildren live. 

Caskey, who has taught and directed mainstage performances for the past 28 years, has been thinking about retirement for the last two or three.

Caskey explained that he’s loved teaching and directing at Goshen College and that he’ll especially miss “the vitality of the students.” 

However, Caskey credits part of his decision to retire as burnout. “It’s taxing to be teaching and directing every year,” he said.

Next year, Caskey said he plans to take what he is calling a “personal sabbatical.” For him, that means traveling around the U.S. to visit his former students. “I’m going to see what they’re doing with their Goshen education,” he said. 

Beyond his year of travel, Caskey said he would like to publish an anthology of the winning plays from the biennial Goshen College Peace Play competition.

Caskey acknowledged that some of his colleagues have not had the luxury of retiring on their own terms. In recent years, the president’s cabinet directed a number of department chairs to make cuts in their departments to reconcile the budget. 

“While I am personally thrilled and excited about what’s next or not knowing what’s next, I recognize that that’s a privilege to be in that position,” Caskey said.