Marbeck Center History

The idea for a building which would serve as a focal center of the campus came in a June 3, 1965 report entitled "Notes on an Architectural Statement for Bluffton". By October of that year, a general location for the building was selected and in June 1966, 40 acres were purchased near the site. A building committee was formed to begin planning for the facility that was to become Marbeck Center. On July 18, 1966, the Board of Trustees selected Jack Hodell as the architect and the Turner Construction Company of New York to build the $1 million facility.

After receiving input from students, faculty and staff it became clear that the new student center should contain many areas of conversation with a great diversity of size, environment and accessibility. The new building would also need to fit in with the natural surroundings of the campus. It was to be the "town square" of campus with the college bookstore, dining services, post office, conversation areas and student organization offices all in one place and all within a four minute walk from any of the residence halls.

This building that would serve so many different needs was to be named Marbeck Center after one of the great early Anabaptist leaders, Pilgram Marbeck (or possibly Marpeck). Pilgram Marbeck was born in Rattenberg on the River in the Tyrol around 1495. He was a member of the city council, and in 1525, a member of the Rattenberg upper council. During this time he still was a practicing Catholic and held a position as a mining clerk. He was removed from office in 1528 when he refused to inform on the Anabaptists. Forced to leave his estate behind, Marbeck fled to Strasbourg and became an Anabaptist.

In Strasbourg, Marbeck served as the city engineer and was responsible for the construction of the town water system. In religious matters, he was tactful, yet tenacious. He was saved from prison, but asked to leave Strasbourg in 1532.

Marbeck continued to contribute to the Anabaptist cause by working to bring together small groups of believers from across southern Germany. The coming together of Anabaptist groups at Augsburg in 1555 and 1557 may have been the direct result of Marbeck's efforts. Pilgram Marbeck died of natural causes in 1556.

Pilgram Marbeck was an important and influential man in the history of the church and it seemed only fitting to name the building after someone like him.

Marbeck Center was officially dedicated on March 30, 1968. Former Bluffton student, Hugh Downs was the main speaker for the event. Mr. Downs was at the time the host for NBC's popular morning program, the Today Show.

Marbeck Center Staff 

Director

Assistant Director

Secretary

 Custodian

Student Activity Director

 Graduate
Assistant
for Student
Involvement

Glenn Snyder

1967-1968

Denise Risser

1995-1998

Caroline Gerber Fitzwater

1967-1968

Paul Reel

1978-1989

Christine Purves

1967-1969

Katie Kanable

2006-2008

Fred Amstutz

1968-1979

Hope Risner

1998-1999

Anne Vermillion Geiger

1976-1979

Pete Amstutz

1989-1993

Sue Wilch Groves

1969-1972

Brian Starkel

2008-2010

Lawrence Matthews

1979-1981

Cathy Bonner

1999-2001

Vera Arnold

1979

Rich Schofield

1993-1995

 

Caitlin Keelor

2010-2012

Amy Litzel
1981-1982

Daniel Hughes

2001-2004

Betty Gratz

1979-1984

John Schlector

1995

 

Stephanie Baugh

2012-present 

Lawrence Matthews

1982-1992

Betsi Phalen

2004-2005

Marcia Gallant

1984-present

Dave Maroscher

1995-1997

 

 

Ron Slinger

1992-1995

Dan Stanowick

2005-2011

 

Daniel Hughes

1997-2001

 

 

Eric Fulcomer

1995-1996

 Elizabeth Vaccaro

2011-present

 

Larry Lee

2001-2003

 

 

Mark Bourassa

1996-present

 

 

Larry Maynard

2003-2007

 

 

 

 

 

Mark Bias

2007-present