(Mennonite Education Agency) — Five Mennonite colleges — known to compete in the past — are joining forces to  highlight how strong academics and affordability prepare their graduates for successful outcomes. The colleges and universities — Bethel College (Newton, Kansas), Bluffton (Ohio) University, Eastern Mennonite University (Harrisonburg, Virginia), Goshen (Indiana) College and Hesston (Kansas) College — are launching the collaborative effort at the Mennonite Church USA Convention in Orlando (July 4-8).

“Students and families are increasingly looking for a college experience that includes academic excellence, affordability and outcomes all in a value-driven Christian context,” said Jim Smucker, vice president for enrollment at Eastern Mennonite University. “Our colleges do an outstanding job on delivering on these expectations. In the past we have not always communicated this effectively to our Mennonite students. Together we can communicate better than any one college can do on its own.”


‘Lead your way’

With the launch happening at the Mennonite Church USA Convention in Orlando, for the first time, the colleges will partner on one large booth space, instead of five separate booths, introducing a new logo and tagline: “Lead your way.”

“‘Lead your way’ is about how we offer many unique paths for discovery and learning through our various academic programs, study abroad opportunities, service learning experiences, and hands-on learning in and out of the classroom beginning as early as the first year,” said Dominique Burgunder-Johnson, director of marketing at Goshen College. “Students get to try a lot of different things, which sets them on a path to provide their own unique brand of leadership, no matter what they decide to pursue personally or professionally.”


 Academic excellence

While the five schools are each unique, their commonalities are much greater. All of the schools offer rigorous academic programs coupled with Anabaptist values, including 83 total majors among them — from accounting to nursing to youth ministry.

“The five Mennonite colleges and universities offer nationally-acclaimed academic programs within a values-based community, preparing graduates for fulfilling lives and careers,” said Lori L. Livengood, vice president for marketing and communications at Bethel College.


Outstanding outcomes

The schools all record outstanding graduate outcomes. For example, 97 percent of job-seeking alumni were employed within one year after graduation, on average. Also, included among the tens of thousands of alumni of the five schools are a Nobel Peace Laureate, a cancer researcher named to TIME Magazine’s list of the “most influential people in the world,” a Broadway star, Ohio’s “most influential and powerful woman” and a National Football League assistant coach.

“Outcomes are so important to consider when choosing a college and our alumni speak for themselves. Research shows that our alumni valued their educations at our schools and were prepared well for where their paths led them afterwards: into a career, to graduate school or into voluntary service,” said Erin Burkholder, director of admissions at Bluffton University.



And, all of the schools offer this values-driven education at an accessible price. On average, 99 percent of students receive some form of financial aid and the average financial aid package for a first-year, full-time student is $25,928.

“We recognize that college is a big — but worthwhile — investment for families and we strive to make our education accessible to all who desire this transformative education,” said Rachel Swartzendruber Miller, vice president of admissions and financial aid at Hesston College.


 Anabaptist values

Anabaptist values are the foundation of all five schools and are what set them apart from other Christian and secular liberal arts colleges and universities.

“The Anabaptist values of faith formation, service, social justice, peacemaking and community-building that are woven into each of the Mennonite colleges and universities are what makes us uniquely qualified to prepare a generation of leaders with strong ethics, team-building and organizational skills that our world needs to serve the common good,” said Carlos Romero, executive director of Mennonite Education Agency. "I strongly affirm the ways that Mennonite higher ed institutions are working together — their collaborative spirit is good not only for our schools, but also for the church and our shared mission.”


To learn more about the five Mennonite colleges and universities, visit www.mennonitecolleges.org.



Contributed by Mennonite Church USA/MEA Staff  –  6/29/2017