Mennonite Board of Education (Mennonite Church)

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The Mennonite Board of Education was founded in 1905 as the official educational corporation of the Mennonite Church (MC). Its first task was to receive from the Elkhart Institute Association all its assets including Goshen College, and to operate Goshen College. In 1909, at the request of Mennonites in Kansas, it established Hesston College, and continued to operate both schools. In 1949 it took over the La Junta Mennonite School of Nursing, which it operated until its closing in 1958. In 1950 it created the General Educational Council as an autonomous body to represent the interests of the total educational program of the church, including locally operated elementary and secondary schools and colleges as well as the schools under the Board.

The Board held full title to all properties and assets of the schools under it, and administered all endowment and annuity funds. Earlier the Board operated its two colleges through the Local Board for each school. In 1942 the administrative structure was changed, the local boards were discontinued, and the Executive Committee of the Board assumed direct operational control working through the presidents of the schools.

The membership of the Board from the beginning was constitutionally provided by election by the district conferences and the Mennonite General Conference, ex officio members being the presidents and business managers of the schools under the Board. Later two representatives elected by each Alumni Association were added, as were several members-at-large elected by the Board. In 1957 the total membership of the Board was 39, with a term of appointment of four years. A number of men rendered long-term and outstanding service in the work of the Board: Presidents, John Blosser 1902-1917, D. A. Yoder 1929-1948, and Nelson Kauffman 1948- ; others were D. D. Miller, member of the Board 1906-1941, and vice-president or secretary 1906-1920; J. S. Hartzler, member 1906-1918, secretary or treasurer 1910-1916; S. F. Coffman, member 1906-1939, secretary 1929-1939; Aaron Loucks, member 1906-1928, vice-president 1913-1918; O. O. Miller, member 1920- , financial agent and on executive committee 1925-1956; J. B. Smith, member 1917-1922, 1930-1947, vice-president 1933-1945; H. R. Schertz, member 1923-1949, president 1924-1929, vice-president 1929-1931, treasurer 1933-1944; C. F. Yake, member 1935-1953, secretary 1939-1949; S. C. Yoder, member 1916-1940, president 1918-1924.

In 2002, after the restructuring of Mennonite Church, the General Conference Mennonite Church and the Conference of Mennonites in Canada into Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada, the Mennonite Board of Education was superseded by the Mennonite Education Agency of Mennonite Church USA.

Author(s) Harold S Bender
Date Published 1957

Cite This Article

MLA style

Bender, Harold S. "Mennonite Board of Education (Mennonite Church)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 25 Apr 2019.

APA style

Bender, Harold S. (1957). Mennonite Board of Education (Mennonite Church). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 25 April 2019, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, pp. 590-591. All rights reserved.

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