At an all-campus meeting April 13 for Eastern Mennonite University faculty, staff and students, the institution’s Presidential Search Committee announced Susan Schultz Huxman, Ph.D., as candidate of choice for EMU’s ninth president.
“I am keenly attracted to the many innovative ways in which EMU has blazed the trail for what a premier liberal arts and Anabaptist faith-informed comprehensive university education can and should look like,” Huxman said. “I am honored and eager to embrace this precious opportunity to serve and lead Eastern Mennonite University.”
Later this month, Huxman will visit EMU’s Harrisonburg campus and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, site to participate in campus forums, interviews and meetings with administrators, faculty, staff and students.
The Presidential Search Committee will review feedback received during the visits and present a final recommendation to the EMU and Mennonite Education Agency (MEA) boards by the end of April.
“Dr. Huxman is deeply rooted in the Anabaptist faith and committed to advancing Mennonite higher education,” said Evon L. Bergey, chair of the Presidential Search Committee and an EMU board member. “She brings a blend of scholarship, presidential experience and a passion for innovative approaches to educating students to serve and lead in a global context.”
“She is a visionary, collaborative leader with proven academic, administrative and scholarly capabilities and is uniquely qualified to lead EMU in this period of our history,” adds Kay Nussbaum, chair of the EMU Board of Trustees. “We are pleased she has answered the call to engage with our campus community.”
Currently president of Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario, Huxman has served for more than 25 years in higher education in a variety of roles. Prior to her appointment at Conrad Grebel, she was director of the Elliott School of Communication at Wichita (Kansas) State University.
She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in communication studies from the University of Kansas. Her involvements in Mennonite education include serving on the board of MEA from 2001 to 2007, and on the board of Western District Conference of Mennonite Church USA. She graduated from Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas.
“Her educational background, teaching, scholarly work and deep commitment to the Mennonite church is a precious gift that will serve EMU, the church and the broader community,” said Judy Miller, Ph.D., MEA Board Chair.
The search is a joint effort of the EMU Board of Trustees, chaired by Nussbaum, and the MEA Board of Directors, led by Miller. MEA is the education agency of Mennonite Church USA that supports six higher education institutions including EMU. Miller and Nussbaum provided counsel throughout the search process, and MEA provided staff support.
The Presidential Search Committee includes representatives from the EMU Board, faculty, staff, students and alumni, MEA Board and Mennonite Church USA.
“The Presidential Search Committee has followed a process that is rigorous and thoughtful,” says MEA Executive Director Carlos Romero, who has been an ex-officio member of the Presidential Search Committee.“As we take this next step, we look forward to the successful completion of the process leading to the ninth president of EMU assuming office on January 1, 2017.”
The search process began in July 2015. Throughout the fall, the committee collected input from the campus community, alumni and the broader church to create the profile of an ideal candidate.
“The EMU Presidential Search Committee is deeply grateful for the quality of candidates interested in serving as the next president of Eastern Mennonite University in this exciting time in its history,” Bergey said.
Both Bergey and Nussbaum expressed appreciation to the Presidential Search Committee, EMU Board of Trustees and MEA Board of Directors for their discernment and leadership throughout the process.