On September 30, 2016, friends and colleagues of Susan Schultz Huxman paid tribute to her time as president of Conrad Grebel University College. She has accepted the presidency of Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) in Harrisonburg, Va.
The appointment of Schultz Huxman at Conrad Grebel University College in 2011 represented the first time a second-generation family member served as president of a Mennonite college. Harold Schultz, Huxman’s father, served as president at Bethel College in Kansas for 20 years, 1971–1991.
Schultz, who was from Kitchener, Ont., noted that “Susan grew up on a Mennonite college campus and experienced first-hand the challenges of sustainability, as well as the impact and unique benefits of such an education, knowing how it indelibly challenged her mind and spirit. That is why she felt so much at home, I believe, as an advocate of Grebel’s mission to seek wisdom, nurture faith, and pursue peace and justice in service to church and society.”
Susan Schultz Huxman’s half-decade of leadership at Grebel came at a pivotal time for enhancing the school’s visibility and advancing its unique mission in a time of rapid change. Under her leadership, the college experienced tremendous growth in people (10 academics hired), programs (three new programs launched), and facilities (the Next Chapter Campaign for academic expansion—the largest campaign in the college’s history). Additional highlights included celebrating Grebel’s 50th anniversary in 2013, which involved hosting 50 events throughout the year and implementing a new all-college strategic plan, “Extending the Grebel Table: 2015-2020.”
Board chair Geraldine Balzer said of Huxman’s departure, “We are obviously saddened by this news, however, we understand the possibilities that EMU offers her.”
When Schultz retired from Bethel in 1991, Huxman wrote an article in the college newspaper called “Life in the White House.” It included many observations on the lighter side of the president’s family: “a marathon refers to a speaking schedule not a running event,” “recycled sermons can work,” “know the North Newton police chief will be a frequent caller,” “treat prospective donors like next-of-kin.”
Huxman also wrote: “On a more serious note, we also learned Dad’s credo:
- Always accent the positive
- Don’t be afraid to dream new dreams
- Don't be afraid to make unpopular decisions
- Maintain a sense of humor
- Understand the value of personal contact
- Don’t lose sight of your own fallibilities
- Listen well
- Act decisively
- Believe deeply in your cause.”
Reflecting back, Schultz noted that “in many ways Susan also assimilated these administrative habits and practices, and added others uniquely hers, as I observed her years at Grebel.” He also observed that “there are many college models that succeed. But I must admit that my year as a visiting professor of history at Oxford University, where Susan also attended grammar school that year, sold me on the Oxford model of many colleges, yet one university—which Grebel replicates to a large extent. It is indeed the best of both worlds, both large and small, a world-class public university and also a community-centered and church related liberal arts college.”
Susan Schultz Huxman completed her role at Grebel on October 1 and transitions to her new role as president of Eastern Mennonite University on January 1, 2017.