Presidential search committee


Trustees announce presidential search committee; consultant selected

The Bluffton University Board of Trustees selected a search committee to find the university’s next president. The committee will vet potential candidates and will recommend qualified individuals for the board’s consideration.

“In appointing the search committee, we are using an almost identical committee structure as was used in 2005. This includes representation from: trustees, faculty, staff, a student, alumni, select church conferences, the Bluffton community and Mennonite Education Agency (MEA)” said Kent Yoder ’78, Bluffton University Board of Trustees chair. The committee will have 14 people including Yoder, as ex-officio. Cheryl Hacker ’81, vice chair of the Board of Trustees, from Columbus, Ohio, will chair the search committee. The committee includes:

Trustee members:

Larry Milan ’73, trustee and chair of the student life committee, from Bloomfield, Conn.

Ernie Thomas ’76, trustee and chair of the fiscal affairs committee, from Richfield, Ohio

Greg Wannemacher ’77, trustee and chair of the enrollment management committee, from Lima, Ohio

Faculty and staff members:

Dr. Perry Bush, professor of history, from Bluffton, Ohio

James Grandey, head baseball coach and associate athletic director for development, from Bluffton, Ohio

Dr. Gayle Trollinger, chair of the education department and professor of education, from Findlay, Ohio

Student representative:

Katey Ebaugh ’18, current student and former student senate president, from Lancaster, Pa.

Alumni representative:

Luke Shipp ’04, President of the Bluffton University Alumni Association, from Haskins, Ohio

Bluffton Community representative:

Laura Voth ’79, MBA ’08, CEO of Mennonite Home Communities, from Bluffton, Ohio

Mennonite Church USA conference representatives:

Dr. Kerry Strayer ’84, Central District Conference, trustee and chair of the academic affairs committee, from Columbus, Ohio

Arnita Yoder ’84, Ohio Conference, from Delphos, Ohio

Mennonite Education Agency appointment:

Dr. Tom Stuckey, member of the Mennonite Education Agency board, from West Unity, Ohio


Robin Bowlus, senior director of advancement operations and public relations at Bluffton, will serve as special assistant to the search committee.

Bluffton’s Board of Trustees will determine who is invited for a campus visit, after candidate recommendations are made by the committee. The Trustees will affirm the appointment of Bluffton’s 10th president.

The Trustees have partnered with TBC Search Consulting from Columbus, Ohio, a qualified search consultant to assist the committee.

“The Board believes that a search consultant is necessary to help develop and facilitate the best process for a national search effort, given the complex landscape of higher education,” said Yoder. “A search consultant will help the committee gather and assess the input from Bluffton’s many constituents and develop a presidential profile that appropriately positions Bluffton’s distinctive mission, needs and vision to attract the best candidates. The goal for the search process is to name a new president in time for a natural transition with President Harder’s June retirement. We value your input and prayers for Bluffton University and its next president.”

Updates on the search progress and biographies of each member of the committee can be found at

Current president, Dr. James Harder, will retire on June 30, 2018.