Retiring professor to give EMU’s 101st commencement address
“In my travels to meet alums and seek support for the college, Judy’s name comes up again and again as one of the most impactful faculty in their lives,” said President Susan Schultz Huxman. “For 32 years, Professor Mullet has engaged, challenged and inspired EMU students in psychology courses, the MA in Education program, the honors program and many advising, mentoring and writing spaces – formal and informal.”
Mullet, who retires this year, earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from EMU in 1973, a master’s in education degree in school psychology from James Madison University, and a PhD in special education from Kent State University.
In addition to teaching psychology and teacher education at EMU, she directed the Honors program, and co-founded and co-led Student Kairos Place, a week-long gathering of EMU undergraduate writers.
She has facilitated workshops on multiple topics across the United States, was a consultant to school districts on a variety of topics, and co-authored The Little Book of Restorative Discipline for Schools: Teaching Responsibility; Creating Caring Environments (Good Books, 2005) with Lorraine Stutzman-Amstutz. Her recent works have appeared in Children & Schools and Adult Learning, and her works on children’s peace literature and inclusive worship have been published by agencies of Mennonite Church USA.
She is a member of Lindale Mennonite Church, where she has been a worship leader, has taught Sunday school since 1993, and is currently an elder.
“In this her last year before retirement, we are blessed to be her ‘students’ of sorts as she addresses the graduating class of 2019,” Huxman said. “Given her dynamic storytelling abilities, I know we are in for a treat.”
But don’t take just Huxman’s word for it; following are comments from Mullet’s former students:
- “Sitting in Dr. Mullet’s classes and in conversations with her outside of class, I began the lifelong process of developing, refining, scrapping, examining and redefining my philosophies of education,” said Jennifer Stutzman Brda ‘04, who is now a behavior facilitator in the Special School District in St. Louis, Missouri. “Judy’s influence in my career is impossible to quantify; her words, ideas, and ideals have found their way into conversations with administrators, colleagues, student teachers, and my own students. Most importantly, she always made space for me to believe that what I do IS the most important job in the world, which is what makes a great teacher truly great.”
- “Judy Mullet is one of the kindest, and without doubt the most affirming, persons I have ever known,” said Joshua Kanagy ‘13, a mental health counselor at Morrison Child and Family Services in Portland, Oregon. “I was honored by her mentorship throughout my college career, and her impact on my personal and professional life has been profound. Judy has a remarkable knack for recognizing and encouraging her students’ talents, and she was instrumental in my own decision to become a counselor. I am a gentler, more vulnerable, and more hopeful human being because of her.”
- “Judy Mullet was famous for her high-quality, authentic teaching long before I began working on my master’s degree at EMU Lancaster,” said Wynn Kinder MA ‘07, author of Mindful Choices: A Mindful, Social Emotional Learning Curriculum for Grades 6-8 (CreateSpace 2017). “I was a teacher in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and remember hearing others speak so highly of the course they had taken during the summer – a profound professional experience that inspired them to integrate peace into their classrooms and also into the chaotic moments of their own lives. … Judy’s approach and genuine modeling of the practices encouraged true connection between students, as so many of us are still friends so many years later. She epitomizes Parker Palmer’s sentiment, ‘We Teach Who We Are.’ … I deeply honor Judy Mullet’s impact on all she touched with love and peace.”
- “I met Judy as a student in her social psychology class,” said Elisabeth Wilder ‘17, who works with Mennonite Central Committee in Cochabamba, Bolivia. “My advisor was adamant that I take her class, even though it was full and wasn’t required for me to graduate. Within several class periods, it became clear why my supervisor had advocated for me to take Judy’s class, as her lessons were not only dynamic and engaging, but she clearly had a passion for helping her students grow as students and people. As her student I couldn’t get enough of Judy’s wisdom, and sought her out as a mentor and friend. Judy is hands down one of the kindest and most brilliant people I know. She embodies Christ’s love in ways that are so profound and beautiful, yet so simple. Everyone who knows Judy can’t help but become their best, truest version of themselves due to her gentle encouragement, thoughtful questions, and cunning intellect. I will always cherish the moments Judy spent with me in her office telling me about a book she read or actively listening to what I was thinking about at the time. Judy is a stunning example of someone who has honed her gifts to build peace where ever she stands.”
For more information on EMU commencement, please visit emu.edu/commencement.
Story by Christopher Clymer Kurtz