This article may rely excessively on sources too closely associated with the subject, potentially preventing the article from being verifiable and neutral. Please help improve it by replacing them with more appropriate citations to reliable, independent, third-party sources. (April 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this message)
Goshen College
The Seal of Goshen College
Former names
Elkhart Institute of Science, Industry and the Arts (1894–1903)
MottoCulture for Service
TypePrivate liberal arts college
EstablishedSeptember 21, 1894; 129 years ago (September 21, 1894)[1]
Religious affiliation
Mennonite Church USA
Endowment$149.6 million (2021)[2]
PresidentRebecca Stoltzfus
Academic staff

41°33′49″N 85°49′38″W / 41.5637°N 85.8272°W / 41.5637; -85.8272
CampusLarge town: 135 acres (55 ha), 1,189-acre natural sanctuary Merry Lea[4]
ColorsPurple & White[5]
NicknameMaple Leafs
Sporting affiliations
MascotBlack squirrel (Dash)

Goshen College is a private Mennonite liberal arts college in Goshen, Indiana. It was founded in 1894 as the Elkhart Institute of Science, Industry and the Arts, and is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. The college is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and has an enrollment of 824 students.[4] While Goshen maintains a distinctive liberal Mennonite worldview and Mennonites make up 30 percent of the student body, it admits students of all religions.[4]

Goshen College is home to The Mennonite Quarterly Review and the Mennonite Historical Library, a research library compiling one of the world's most comprehensive collection of Anabaptist and Mennonite primary source material.[6]


"Old" Mennonites started the Elkhart Institute in Elkhart, Indiana, in August 1894, to prepare Mennonite youth for college.[7] H.A. Mumaw, a practicing physician, first led the small operation with a group of 15 "Old" Mennonite ministers and laymen started a corporation that they named the Elkhart Institute association.[8] Lured by businessmen to relocate several miles away to Goshen, Indiana, the Institute moved in September 1903 and added a junior college course list, renaming itself Goshen College.[7] By 1905, the Mennonite Board of Education had taken control of the college, dissolving the Elkhart Institute Association.[9] After 1910, most of Goshen's students were enrolled in college courses. There were attempts at founding a "School of Agriculture" and also a college-prep academy program.

The school was closed during the 1923–1924 school year by the Mennonite Board of Education but reopened the following year.[7] One of many factors in closing the college was denominational tension due to modernist and fundamentalist Christian theologies of the 1920s and their impact on Mennonite theology at the school.[10] In response to this crisis, many of Goshen's faculty and dozens of students, angry with the Mennonite Board of Education's decision, relocated to Bluffton College.

When the institution was reopened, it was marked by the new leadership of president S.C. Yoder and dean Noah Oyer.

The community became known as the "Goshen Historical Renaissance".[11]

During the 1940s, Goshen was one of the Mennonite Central Committee's key places to form a "relief training school" that helped to train volunteers for unpaid jobs in the Civilian Public Service, an alternative to the Army. Many Mennonites chose the civilian service alternative because of their beliefs regarding Biblical pacifism and nonresistance. Young women pacifists volunteered for unpaid Civilian Public Service jobs to demonstrate their patriotism; many worked in mental hospitals.[12] Lois Gunden, a French professor at the college, volunteered for the Mennonite Central Committee and established an orphanage for refuge children of the Spanish Civil War and Jewish children from Rivesaltes internment camp. The children that she rescued were malnourished, in poor health, and had lice. She was awarded the title Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem for her efforts to care for and protect children.[13]

In 1980, the college was granted care of Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center, a 1,150-acre (4.7 km2) nature preserve that now offers Goshen's master's degree in Environmental Science.[citation needed]

In 1993, Harold and Wilma Good, longtime friends of the college, left their estate to Goshen. The estate, said to be worth many millions, consisted of the majority in stock of the J.M. Smucker Company. Wilma was a daughter of the company's founder. The college sold the stock and added the funds to its endowment, more than doubling it.[14]

The campus had a building boom in the late 1990s. The Goshen campus has increased from less than 50 acres (200,000 m2) to 135 acres (0.55 km2) with 18 major buildings.[15]


The Mennonite Quarterly Review, Mennonite Historical Library, Mennonite Church USA Archives, including Mennonite Central Committee archives, offices of "The Mennonite", and it has numerous alumni connections with the broader Mennonite Church.[citation needed]


Goshen College offers 41 majors and 47 minors for undergraduates.[16] Some of the most popular programs are nursing, biology, business, communication, education, American Sign Language and environmental science. The college also offers a Master of Arts in Environmental Education, a master's degree in intercultural leadership, and a master's degree in nursing with two tracks: family nurse practitioner and clinical nurse leader.[17] In 2014, Goshen College partnered with Eastern Mennonite University and Bluffton University to launch the Collaborative MBA program.[18]

Study-Service Term

Students either spend a semester abroad or complete an intercultural experience in the United States. Goshen College's Study-Service Term (SST) is a program which approximately 80 percent of students participate in to complete their intercultural study requirement.[19] Service may include working at a hospital, nursing home, kindergarten, or missionary service.[20] The college has in the past also offered a domestic SST to immerse students in the Latino culture and community in northern Indiana.[21]

Student life

This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (April 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this message)

Clubs and organizations

Goshen College intramural volleyball

Goshen College has no official fraternities or sororities; however, many different types of clubs and organizations exist to help facilitate campus life.

International students

The International Students Club (ISC) hosts the Coffeehouse every year, an event during which international students demonstrate their artistic talents. Students are also given the opportunity, through Global Citizenship, to individually talk about their culture, and have it published by the Goshen College newspaper.[22]

Intramural athletics

Intramural athletics are also offered. Throughout the year, students can participate in the coed sports of outdoor soccer, volleyball, sand volleyball, kickball, ping-pong, pickleball, touch football, ultimate frisbee, and wiffleball, as well as basketball, indoor soccer, and 3-on-3 basketball.[23]

Performing arts

The Goshen College Music Center

Goshen College students have a variety of shows to attend in the Music Center's Sauder Concert Hall or Rieth Recital Hall or the Umble Center, Goshen's theater. With the addition of the Music Center to campus, the college has offered a Performing Arts Series of nationally renowned artists from across the country. Previous guests include Garrison Keillor and A Prairie Home Companion, Indigo Girls, The Wailin' Jennys, Nickel Creek, Colm Wilkinson, Chanticleer, Canadian Brass, Tokyo String Quartet, Seraphic Fire, and Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis.[citation needed]

Spiritual life

Although Goshen maintains that people of different faiths are welcome to the college, the school emphasizes Judeo-Christian values in regard to operation, justice, and teaching. Historically, faculty members at the school have been Christian, with a large portion adhering to Mennonite convictions.[citation needed]


The Goshen athletic teams are called the Maple Leafs (chosen due to the city of Goshen being referred to as "The Maple City").[citation needed] The college is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the Crossroads League (formerly known as the Mid-Central College Conference (MCCC) until after the 2011–12 school year)[24] for most of its sports since the 1970–71 academic year; while its men's volleyball competes in the Wolverine–Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC).

Goshen competes in 14 intercollegiate varsity sports: Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, soccer, tennis, track & field, and volleyball; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field and volleyball. Men's and women's bowling will be added in the fall of 2023, bringing the total sports teams to 16.[25]

On October 7, 2022, Goshen College introduced Dash, the first official mascot in school history.[26] The name was decided in a poll amongst faculty and students. [27]

Campus facilities

Goshen College has four dormitories, apartment living, and several small group houses. Outside the original quadrangle, Goshen's current campus has not been the result of a single master plan; rather the campus has evolved eclectically from building to building as the institution grew.[28][29] Four-year residency was typical until the mid-1970s, when a growing student enrollment prompted school officials to forgo building new dormitories and allow upperclassmen to live off campus. In 2005, Goshen College announced its plan to return to four-year residency. With more students on campus, the school has spent over $10 million building and renovating dorms.[citation needed]

The Roman Gingerich Recreation and Fitness Center was constructed in 1994 with three full-sized basketball courts, four racquetball courts, a 200-meter indoor track, swimming pools, climbing wall, and weight room. The fitness center is open to all students and staff, and is used by community members as well.[citation needed]

The $24 million Music Center, completed in October 2002, has become regionally renowned for its design and acoustics.[30][31] The Music Center consists of several main sections: Sauder Concert Hall, Rieth Recital Hall, the Art Gallery, and various classrooms, practice rooms and offices. Several highlights are a central recording studio, MIDI labs, and Taylor and Boody Opus 41, a 1600-pipe tracker pipe organ, the first in the world with tempering based on alumnus Bradley Lehman's research of Johann Sebastian Bach's notation.[32] The facility was designed by Mathes Brierre Architects (design architects), Schmidt Associates (architects of record), and TALASKE (acoustics and audio consultants).[33]


In 2007, then Goshen College President Jim Brenneman became a charter signatory to the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment joining with leaders of 175 other higher education institutions that have agreed to neutralize greenhouse gas emissions on their campuses.[citation needed] In 2008, Rieth Village at Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College became the first platinum-rated LEED building in Indiana.[citation needed] In the spring of 2013, the college took the further step of purchasing 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources through the procurement of renewable energy credits. A computerized building temperature regulation system, motion light sensors for indoor and outdoor lighting and open loop ground-source heat pumps further reduce energy consumption on campus. The campus has also converted nearly 20 percent of its lawn space to native plants and prairie restoration.[citation needed] Goshen College students and staff have developed a food composting system, planted a community garden, built a solar hot water collection system and continued to reduce energy consumption campus-wide.[citation needed] In 2014, the college earned a silver rating from the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) report for its sustainability efforts. Through an aggressive energy reduction program and efficiency upgrades, Goshen College has reduced electric consumption by 25 percent and gas consumption by 23 percent since 2007.[citation needed]

Small Group Housing/Intentional Living Communities

Small Group Housing (SGH) and Intentional Living Communities (ILC) are housing options for juniors and seniors on Goshen's campus. Started in the 1970s, SGH/ILC offers students the opportunity to live in a house arrangement, with common kitchen and living spaces. The purpose of SGH/ILC is for students to develop another living experience alternative to dormitory life. This same idea was carried out with the construction of the Apartments. Goshen College maintains that SGH living is a privilege, and students must apply as a group to live in a residence. An application board consisting of resident directors, spiritual life, and physical plant review all potential candidates in the spring for the next school year. Each group must create a housing plan, division of responsibility, show examples of volunteerism, and a commitment to better the Goshen campus, as well as resolve conflict. Other factors considered in the application process include house cumulative GPA, extracurricular involvement, median age of the group, and personal faculty recommendations.[34] Houses are then rewarded to applying groups who exemplify high academic, moral, and volunteer efforts, based on objective and subjective review.[citation needed]

Goshen College students have also lived in local housing not associated with the college.[citation needed]

Satellite facilities

Goshen College maintains Merry Lea Environmental Center in Indiana,[citation needed] and the J.N. Roth Marine Biology Station in Layton, Florida.[35]

Other properties maintained by Goshen College include: Brunk's Cabin, a retreat property complete with a sledding hill in Cass County, Michigan, Witmer Woods,[36] a 13-acre (53,000 m2) arboretum with over 100 native Indiana species, and the adjacent property College Cabin (Reservoir Place),[37] used for special events, along the Elkhart River and millrace.[citation needed]


National anthem

On January 21, 2010, The President's Council announced a change to Goshen's long-standing policy, and thus allowing an instrumental version of the national anthem to be played prior to some college sporting events.[38][39] This decision led to complaints from students, faculty, and alumni. College art professor, John Blosser, was quoted saying, “It’s obviously about a battle. It’s rather violent. It’s about using violence to conquer and that would be something that many people here would have problems with.”[40] In response, Goshen's Board of Directors reversed the President's Council decision after seeking extensive input from the college community.[39]

The incident thrust Goshen College into the national limelight that June when several reports on Fox News publicized the fact that the college refused to play the national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner," at its athletic events. Two Goshen city councilmen publicly criticized the college, with one referring to the decision as "anti-American" and stating that "instead of living here in Goshen, they should go down and live in Cuba or Iran, then have them come back and see if their attitude has changed."[40] The college, loosely affiliated with Mennonite Church USA, which is traditionally a peace church, published an online fact sheet stating that "historically, playing the national anthem has not been among Goshen College's practices because of our Christ-centered core value of compassionate peacemaking seeming to be in conflict with the anthem’s militaristic language."[41][42][43]

The college's then president, Dr. James E. Brenneman, announced on August 19, 2011, that as an alternative, "America the Beautiful" would be played before select athletic events.[39][44]

Same-sex marriage

Goshen, along with sister school Eastern Mennonite University (EMU), created a stir within the Christian college community in July 2015, when the two became the first Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) member schools to add "sexual orientation" to their anti-discrimination policy, clearing the way for the hiring of openly gay employees. The decision created a rift in the CCCU, which lobbies, among other things, on behalf of the rights of Christian schools to hire employees who adhere to orthodox Christian teachings on marriage.[45] Two CCCU member-schools – Union University and Oklahoma Wesleyan University (OKWU) – had already resigned from the organization in protest, and up to forty other member schools were poised to follow the lead of Union and OKWU, before Goshen and EMU voluntarily withdrew their membership from the organization.[45][46]

Notable people

Main article: List of Goshen College people

Goshen's motto, "Culture for Service" is evident in many graduates and faculty. Below is a partial list of notable people who have been associated with the college:

Center for Intercultural Teaching and Learning

On October 25, 2006, Goshen College announced that it was the recipient of a $12.5 million Lilly grant to create the Center for Intercultural Teaching and Learning (CITL).[48][49] The purpose of this grant was to research challenges that come with changing demographics in rural towns with small colleges. Goshen College is located in Elkhart County which had a large and rapidly growing Latino population at the time (12.6 percent of the population in 2006).[49] Despite growing minority populations, Indiana's minority enrollment in its colleges and universities has only increased two percent.[49]


College seal

Goshen College seal signifies the book that all alumni have signed since graduation, and the lamp signifies the enlightenment that comes with education. As a Christian school, the book also signifies the importance of word, as well as God's call for his people to be "light to the world."[51]



  1. ^ Fisher Miller, Susan (1994). Culture for Service : A History of Goshen College, 1894–1994. Goshen, IN: Goshen College. p. 11.
  2. ^ As of June 30, 2021. Goshen College Annual Report 2020-2021 (Report). Goshen College. December 13, 2021. Retrieved April 8, 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d "College Navigator – Goshen College". National Center for Education Statistics. June 2016. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c "Quick Facts – About Goshen College". Goshen College. June 2016. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  5. ^ "Graphic Standards–A quick reference" (PDF). Goshen College. 2015. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  6. ^ "Mennonite Historical Library". American Historical Association Archives Wiki. American Historical Association. 2013-05-17.[dead link]
  7. ^ a b c Randall Herbert Balmer, Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism: Revised and expanded edition, Baylor University Press, USA, 2004, p. 294
  8. ^ Schlabach, Theron F: Peace, Faith, Nation: Mennonites and Amish in Nineteenth Century America, page 300, Herald Press, 1988
  9. ^ Richard Thomas Hughes, William B. Adrian, Models for Christian Higher Education: Strategies for Survival and Success in the Twenty-first Century, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, USA, 1997, p. 202
  10. ^ Juhnke, James C: Vision, Doctrine, War: Mennonite Identity and Organization in America 1890–1930, page 128. Herald Press, 1989
  11. ^ Toews, Paul: Mennonites in American Society, 1930–1970: Modernity and the Persistence of Religious Community, page 88. Herald Press, 1996
  12. ^ Rachel Waltner Goossen, Women Against the Good War: Conscientious Objection and Gender on the American Home Front, 1941–1947 (1997) pp 98-111
  13. ^ Bartrop, Paul R.; Grimm, Eve E. (2020-10-19). Children of the Holocaust. ABC-CLIO. pp. 103–104. ISBN 978-1-4408-6853-5.
  14. ^ "Mennonite college endowments lag behind". Mennonite Weekly Review. 2006. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2008-03-24.[dead link]
  15. ^ "History of Goshen College". Goshen College. Archived from the original on 2007-09-26. Retrieved 2008-03-24.
  16. ^ "Majors and Minors". Goshen College. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  17. ^ "Goshen College to launch first master's degree program, in environmental education". 2006-10-11. Retrieved 2016-04-22.
  18. ^ "Unique Collaborative MBA program launched from platform of three Mennonite institutions – EMU News | Eastern Mennonite University". 2014-03-12. Retrieved 2016-04-22.
  19. ^ "Study-Service Term – Intercultural Requirement". Goshen College. Retrieved August 19, 2016.
  20. ^ "Study-Service Term – What is SST?". Goshen College. Retrieved August 19, 2016.[dead link]
  21. ^ "Study-Service Term – Destinations". Goshen College. Retrieved August 19, 2016.[dead link]
  22. ^ "Proud to be Senegalese".
  23. ^ "Intramurals". Goshen College. Goshen College. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  24. ^ "Name and Logo". Crossroads League. Crossroads League. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  25. ^ "". Goshen College Athletics. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  26. ^ "". The Record. Retrieved October 19, 2022.
  27. ^ [citation needed]
  28. ^ "The Council of Independent Colleges: Historic Campus Architecture Project". Archived from the original on July 24, 2011. Retrieved December 18, 2008.
  29. ^ "Residence life". Archived from the original on August 7, 2009.
  30. ^ "Goshen College Music Center". GC Music Center. 2014-06-20. Retrieved 2016-04-22.
  31. ^ Construction Archived September 28, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  32. ^ "Goshen College Music Center: Opus 41 Pipe Organ". Archived from the original on February 8, 2007. Retrieved February 9, 2007.[dead link]
  33. ^ Goshen College Music Center website Archived July 31, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  34. ^ "Small Group Housing". Goshen College. Archived from the original on September 26, 2007. Retrieved 2008-04-18.
  35. ^ "J.N. Roth Marine Biology Station – Facilities – Goshen College". Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  36. ^ "Witmer Wood's Goshen College website". Archived from the original on May 28, 2010.
  37. ^ "The Council of Independent Colleges: Historic Campus Architecture Project". Archived from the original on July 24, 2011. Retrieved August 22, 2008.
  38. ^ Eyder Peralta (June 7, 2011). "Goshen College Bans National Anthem At Sporting Events : The Two-Way". NPR. Retrieved April 22, 2016.
  39. ^ a b c "National Anthem at Goshen College | News & Events | GC". Retrieved April 22, 2016.
  40. ^ a b Starnes, Todd (June 7, 2011). "National Anthem Banned at Mennonite College's Sporting Events, Sparking Outcry". Fox News.
  41. ^ "National Anthem Banned at Mennonite College's Sporting Events, Sparking Outcry". Fox News. June 7, 2011. Retrieved April 22, 2016.
  42. ^ "College Bans 'Too Violent' National Anthem – National Anthem – Fox Nation". Fox News. August 26, 2011.
  43. ^ Starnes, Todd. "College Bans National Anthem". Fox News Radio. Retrieved March 22, 2012.
  44. ^ Oppenheimer, Mark (September 16, 2011). "Pacifist Goshen College Reconsiders the National Anthem". The New York Times.
  45. ^ a b Smietana, Bob; Lee, Morgan; Zylstra, Sarah Eekhoff (July 20, 2015). "Two CCCU Colleges to Allow Same-Sex Married Faculty". No. online. Christianity Today. Retrieved August 19, 2016.
  46. ^ Weber, Jeremy (September 21, 2015). "Peace Church Out: Mennonite Schools Leave CCCU to Avoid Same-Sex Marriage Split". Christianity Today. Retrieved August 19, 2016.
  47. ^ "Goshen College alum, David Waltner-Toews". Goshen College. 6 July 2022.
  48. ^ "Center for Intercultural Teaching and Learning". Archived from the original on 2012-07-08. Retrieved 2007-12-25.[dead link]
  49. ^ a b c Aguirre, Richard: "Access, Transformation & Research", Bulletin: The magazine of Goshen College, Winter/Spring 2007, pp. 11-12
  50. ^ "Journal of College and Character". Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved April 6, 2007.
  51. ^ "One remarkable year: 1903–1904". Goshen College. 2003. Retrieved 2008-07-18.