Dr. Robert S. Kreider

KreiderRobert Kreider became Bluffton College's fifth president in 1965, after having served the college as professor of history and academic dean for the previous 13 years.

Robert graduated from Bluffton High School in 1935 but he received his undergraduate degree from Bethel College, Bluffton's sister college in North Newton, Kansas.

During the years of WWII, Kreider held a number of administrative positions in Civilian Public Service. He also was active in relief work in Germany following the war.

Through Mennonite Central Committee, Kreider assisted in the development of the Teachers Abroad Program. He has also been involved in inter- Mennonite world relief and service agencies.

When Robert and Lois Kreider moved to Bluffton in 1952, to take a position in the history department, their first child, Esther, was only six months old. By the time the president handed in his resignation 20 years later, Esther was herself in college and her four siblings, Joan, Karen, David and Ruth, would follow close behind.

Near the end of the Kreider family's stay in Bluffton, Lois envisioned and set up the Et Cetera Shop, the first of what have become hundreds of self-help stores in Mennonite communities throughout the United States, selling crafts made in developing countries.

The 1990 exhibit, The Mirror of Martyrs, and its accompanying exhibition catalog, presented in collaboration with John S. Oyer, were the products of Kreider's interest in Mennonite history. The popular exhibit is still touring Mennonite communities throughout the United States and Canada.

Now retired from full time work but still very active, the Kreiders continue to travel, to consult, and serve the larger Mennonite community in a variety of ways.