Changes on the Board


Board recognizes outgoing trustees, appoints new members, approves endowed scholarship

BLUFFTON, Ohio—The Bluffton University Board of Trustees recognized three outgoing board members, welcomed two new members and approved a newly endowed scholarship during the trustees’ spring meeting in June.  

David Baumgartner ’82, of Berne Ind., was commended for serving 22 years as a trustee. Appointed to the board in 1996, Baumgartner served the maximum 12 years as a representative of Central District Conference of Mennonite Church USA. He has served as an at-large appointee of the board since 2008.

Baumgartner’s tenure on the board has included significant leadership responsibilities. He chaired the search committee that resulted in the 2006 appointment of President James Harder. As a practicing attorney, he brought valuable expertise and perspective to the work of the advancement committee, on which he served for all 22 years, including as committee chair for the past 14 years. He also served as a member of the executive committee from 2004-13 and filled in for one year on the enrollment management committee.

A tireless promoter of Bluffton University, Baumgartner currently serves as volunteer co-chair of the “Simply Innovate” campaign, which to date has raised more than two-thirds of its $26 million fundraising goal and 85 percent of the funds needed for the construction of the Knowlton Science Center.   

Edith Landis ’69, of Telford, Pa., was applauded for her 27 years of service as a trustee on behalf of the wider Mennonite church. She was initially appointed to the board in 1991 as a representative of the General Conference Mennonite Church. Later, she was appointed by Mennonite Church USA in 2003 and by the Eastern District Conference in 2014.

Landis served the university and the board in a wide range of capacities, including as a member of the search committees that resulted in the appointments of President Lee Snyder and President James Harder. She was a member of the executive committee from 1995 to 2014.  Her board committee assignments included service on the recruitment and admissions committee from 1991 to 1999, including four of those years as chair. Since 1999, Landis has chaired the strategic planning, board development and nominating committee under various configurations. In recent years, she has also filled in on the enrollment management, advancement and student life committees.

Larry Copeland ’65, of Findlay, Ohio, was recognized for 12 years of service to the university as a trustee. Copeland was invited to join the board in 2006 as an at-large appointee.

Copeland served throughout his years on the board as a valued member of the advancement committee, working tirelessly to motivate and extend the base of financial support for Bluffton University and sharing his considerable financial services industry expertise. He generously volunteered his time and personal resources to serve as co-chair of the “Extending Our Reach” capital campaign that led to the construction and opening in 2012 of the Sommer Center for Health and Fitness Education, including its Copeland Court. The successful $33 million campaign is the largest in the university’s history. Since 2016, Copeland had also provided creative input as a member of the enrollment management and marketing committee.

On numerous occasions, Copeland has given powerful testimony to the impact on his life of Bluffton’s business professor Dr. Howard Raid, and has visibly endeavored to live out Dr. Raid’s challenge to “give back” to his beloved university. Larry and his wife Shirley’s generosity to the university over these years has fulfilled and honored that challenge.

Two new board members have been named as well.

Luke Shipp of Haskins, Ohio, has been appointed to an at-large seat on the board. The 2004 business administration alumnus is married to Janeen (Lacy ’05) Shipp. He is vice president for commercial lines at First Insurance Group, working out of their Sylvania, Ohio, office. Shipp has previously served as chair of Bluffton’s Alumni Council and has been active in developing Bluffton’s new insurance concentration in the business department.

Hannah Heinzekehr ’07 of Goshen, Ind., has been appointed to the board through Mennonite Education Association on behalf of Mennonite Church USA. Heinzekehr is communications program director for the Croc Institute of International Peace Studies at Notre Dame. She was previously executive director of “The Mennonite” magazine.

Shipp and Heinzekehr are both serving four-year terms from July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2022.

Trustees also voted to establish an endowed scholarship. The Dean J. Yaussy Memorial Scholarship was established this year by Richard ’54 and Erma (Yoder x55) Yaussy in memory of their son Dean, a 1983 Bluffton graduate in pre-medicine. Dean was a physician with W.W. Hastings Indian Hospital in Tahlequah, Okla., where he served Native American families until his death in 2002. Richard and Erma met at Bluffton where Richard earned a business degree. Preference will be given to students majoring in pre-medicine.