Board of Trustees


Board recognizes trustees, appoints new member and approves new scholarships

The Bluffton University Board of Trustees appointed one new board member and thanked two outgoing board members for their years of dedicated service during the trustees’ spring meeting.

Tom Reichenbach ’58 was thanked for 11 years of service as a trustee and as a member of the Advancement Committee, Martha Augsburger Showalter ’72 was recognized for 12 years of service as a trustee and as a member of the Academic Affairs Committee and Charles Stapleton ’78 was appointed to the board beginning in July.

A 1958 Bluffton graduate and member of the university’s Athletics Hall of Fame, Reichenbach made significant contributions as a member-at-large on the board and through his service to the Advancement Committee from 2005-16 through his advocacy and support for two major fundraising campaigns.

He and his wife Helen served as volunteer campaign co-chairs for Extending Our Reach—The Campaign for Bluffton.  The Reichenbach Room in the Sommer Center for Health and Fitness Education recognizes their financial and volunteer leadership and their commitment to enhancing the educational experience of Bluffton students. Reichenbach also played a leadership role in the successful Alumni Field fundraising initiative to install Bluffton’s first artificial turf playing surface at Salzman Stadium along with major improvements to track and field surfaces and venues.  

“Tom has been willing to travel the road to visit constituents and make the case for achieving outstanding facilities for Bluffton’s students,” said Dr. Hans Houshower, vice president for advancement. “He is an affirming and enthusiastic supporter of the work of the entire university advancement team, and has provided important counsel, encouragement and support to two vice presidents and development directors and to President Harder.”

Augsburger Showalter was appointed by Mennonite Education Agency to serve on the board from 2004-16 as a representative of Mennonite Church USA. She served as chair of the Academic Affairs Committee for the past eight years.

Her 21 years as a full-time faculty member and her 16 years as an academic dean at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, Mich., gave her both faculty and administrative perspectives from which to contribute to discussions regarding Bluffton’s academic programs. She was often able to contribute suggestions in addressing tough issues faced by the academic affairs staff.

“Marty will be remembered for her strong support of faculty development and contributions to careful faculty reviews for promotion and tenure,” said Sally Weaver Sommer, vice president and dean of academic affairs. “We will miss her wisdom and passion for both Bluffton University and higher education in general.”

Stapleton is senior vice president and chief operating officer for Motorists Insurance Group. He began in the company’s marketing division in 1983. Stapleton is active in numerous industry and civic organizations including the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) and the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (Big I). Stapleton serves as a board member of the Pennsylvania Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (PAMIC) and as a board member of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. He was the 2015 recipient of Bluffton’s Professional Achievement Award and is also an Athletics Hall of Fame basketball player. Stapleton earned a bachelor’s degree from Bluffton in health, physical education and recreation.

The Board’s spring meeting was a planning retreat led by Chair Kent Yoder, President James Harder and Dr. Curt Bechler, a consultant with Venture International. During the meeting, trustees voted to establish two endowed scholarships.

The Alice Sawmiller endowed scholarship is fully funded with a designated contribution of $100,000 from the estate of Alice Sawmiller.  Sawmiller was a 1953 graduate of Bluffton who pursued a career in library science.  Music was important to her throughout her life and first preference will be given to students, in any academic major, who also play the organ or piano.

The Richard and Lois Reimer endowed scholarship is fully funded with a designated contribution of $50,000 from Richard and Lois Reimer.  Richard has his doctorate in economics and taught at the College of Wooster for 34 years.  Lois is a retired nurse. The Reimer’s created this scholarship in recognition of President Harder’s leadership at Bluffton and in support of the university’s socially responsible endowment investment practices.