Ronnie A. Yoder, chief administrative law judge for the U.S. Department of Transportation, will address the graduating students with a speech titled “A Niche for You—Immortality" at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 25 when the 112th class of Goshen College students graduate

According to Goshen College's press release, Yoder, from Alexandria, Va., “has been active in numerous administrative law judges’ associations and in developing, teaching and writing on the administrative judiciary for more than 30 years.”

Yoder holds his B.A. and his Juris Doctor from The University of Virginia and also spent a year studying at Yale Divinity School as a Rockefeller Fellow. Before becoming a judge, Yoder spent 14 years in New York and Washington D.C. in private practice.

In addition to his law career, Yoder spent many years singing professionally. From 1985 to 1996, Yoder performed with the Washington Opera, and from 1991 to 2003, Yoder sang with local churches. Yoder has written and performed four original songs which center on the belief that “a God of Love [is] the philosophical center of religion and self-understanding” as written in a Virginia Christian Theological Seminary (VCTS) press release.

Yoder has four children and eight grandchildren—“one Chinese, three Chinese American, one Japanese American, two English American, and one American American” according to the VCTS press release. Yoder believes strongly in the universality of God’s love and believes that the Biblical scriptures support that all humans are descended from one ancestor, affirming that all humanity are cousins, some are just more closely related than others.

In memory of Yoder’s father, a 1931 Goshen College alumnus, Yoder helped create the art and sculpting Ray Yoder Scholarship. Additionally, Yoder established a scholarship at the Virginia Theological Seminary “to advance the study of love as a unifying philosophical center for Christianity and other world religions,” according to the Goshen release.

To perpetuate Goshen’s core values, graduation candidates are encouraged to sign the graduation pledge of social and environmental responsibility. According to Goshen’s graduation Web page, the pledge reads: "I pledge to take into account the social and environmental consequences of any job I consider and will try to improve these aspects of any organization for which I work.” To show students’ commitment, each signer will receive a green ribbon to wear at graduation. Any seniors wanting to contribute signatures should e-mail Tamara Shantz, campus pastor, at

This year's graduating class has generated a large amount of  candidates, with 280 undergraduate and graduate students, 19 of whom are Master degree candidates.

The class of 2010 is collecting funds for the annual Senior Class Gift, which provides graduating seniors a class project and a way to leave their legacy at Goshen College by enhancing the college. This year’s gift will be given to Student Financial Aid to provide future students with financial assistance.

Tickets are not required for the graduation ceremony, so seating is first-come first-served.


2010 Graduation Schedule:

Saturday, April 24

10:00-11:15 a.m.   Commencement Rehearsal

1:30 p.m.               Nurse's Pinning Ceremony – Church-Chapel

2:00-5:00 p.m.       Departmental Receptions

7:30 p.m.               Senior Class Program – Sauder Concert Hall

8:45-10:30 p.m.    President’s Reception for Graduates and Families– Music Center lobby

Hosted by President James Brenneman and Terri Brenneman

Sunday, April 25

11:00 a.m.               Baccalaureate Worship Service - Church-Chapel

2:15 p.m                 Doors open for seating for graduation

3:00 p.m.                Commencement - Roman Gingerich Recreation-Fitness Center

(No tickets needed)