Rebecca Stoltzfus

President, Goshen College
Current Residence: Goshen, Indiana

I have lived in many places in my life. I came to Goshen for the first time to go to Goshen College, where I went for four years. My parents moved here and took jobs at the college. I can never remember anything but feeling loved and cherished from my parents. My father was an academic. My mother taught me how to cook, make bread, and make handicrafts of different sorts. Both my parents grew up on farms. We lived out in the country and had a lot of land with very big garden. For a period of time, all I wanted in life was to live in a big stone farmhouse with a dog and bake pies. That’s my most vivid memory of what I wanted to be when I grew up.

My husband and I moved to Goshen from Ithaca, New York, where I was on the faculty at Cornell University for 15 years. I was very honored when Goshen College approached me. I had had other institutions invite me onto the faculty, but I had to choose Goshen because it has been such a big part of my life. Even decades later, I am still reaping the harvest of my experience here and the relationships I built. There’s a part of me that was kind of longing for this context.

In the city of Goshen and at Goshen College, there’s a sense of intimacy –– knowing your neighbors and colleagues –– more than I’ve ever experienced before. It is so fun to be part of a city that has that community, along with new things happening all the time. It’s a place where people are not afraid to try ventures and are even encouraged to do so.

The thing that I am most passionate about is creating environments where people thrive. I hope that I will be remembered as somebody who contributed to this dynamic and lively environment where people can grow up and be educated. The world is a very dynamic place, so things are going to adapt and change, and I am eager to be a part of that. I really feel that there is a special fit for me here, right now. It feels like a calling to be here.

Editor • Liz Shenk
Interview + Photography • Ashley Ganger

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