Opening Convocation


Author to speak on forgiveness through conversation 

Jonas Beiler, an author and licensed family counselor, will be the featured speaker at 10:45 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 28 in Sommer Center for Health and Fitness Education as Bluffton University welcomes the class of 2022 during its annual Opening Convocation.

Beiler is the author of “Think No Evil: Inside the Story of the Amish Schoolhouse Shooting… and Beyond.” The book serves as this year’s summer reading for first-year Bluffton students.

During the ceremony, faculty wearing academic regalia will welcome first-year and transfer students. The name of each new student will be called with professors presenting honor covenants signed by each student.

“At the beginning of the year, we welcome each new Bluffton student into our academic community. It is our way of communicating that each student plays a role in making Bluffton a community of engaged learners,” said Dr. Lamar Nisly, interim vice president and dean of academic affairs. “The ceremony also introduces a significant contemporary issue that is related to Bluffton’s mission and becomes the subject of cross-disciplinary exploration.”

The event will introduce Bluffton’s 2018-19 Civic Engagement Theme: “When Talking is Tough: Respectful Conversations in a Divided Nation.” Throughout the year, Bluffton’s students, faculty and staff will draw on the Civic Engagement Theme to learn about and put into practice ways to better listen to each other.

Beiler’s portion of the presentation will focus on the witness of the Amish following the West Nickel Mines School shooting. He will describe how forgiveness can be at the center of challenging conversations and conflict resolution.

The cofounder and chairman of The Angela Foundation, Beiler grew up in a traditional Old-Order Amish family in the 1950s. He is a licensed family counselor and also founded two counseling centers located in Lancaster County, Pa. He is married to Anne Beiler, founder and creator of Auntie Anne’s Soft Pretzels, an acclaimed international pretzel franchise. 


Jonas Beiler

Jonas Beiler, author of "Think No Evil: Inside the Story of the Amish Schoolhouse Shooting"