HESSTON, Kan. — The Hesston College board of directors, following a unanimous vote at its October meeting, announced Joseph Manickam as its candidate of choice to become Hesston’s ninth president Oct. 28.
Manickam is director of the Institute of Religion, Culture and Peace and faculty for peace studies at Payap University in Chiang Mai, Thailand — the same city in which he served the previous three years with Mennonite Central Committee Canada as director of the Central-Southern and Northeast Asia Program.
Before his move to Thailand he was director of the MCC Asia Program and associate director of the Center for Anabaptist Leadership in California.
“As I have traveled around the world, I have become increasingly persuaded of the vital role a Mennonite education must play in shaping our world,” Manickam said. “It is my hope and dream that Hesston College will continue to be that place where students, staff and faculty are continually molded toward Christ’s love.”
Familiar with Hesston
A 1987 Hesston graduate, Manickam also served five years as Hesston’s associate director of admissions early in his career.
“He was the strong consensus choice by the search committee because he is a deeply committed Anabaptist in addition to having a strong track record as an innovative and collaborative leader,” said search committee chair and Board vice chair Ken G. Kabira. “Dr. Manickam brings unmatched global and cross-cultural competencies to the role. He has personally experienced the transformative Christ-centered education at Hesston College and has a deep love for the institution.”
The decision came after 10 months of recruitment and discernment.
Manickam is being formally introduced to the Hesston community when he visits Nov. 7-8. The search committee will gather feedback during the visit and make a final recommendation to the Hesston College board and to the board of Mennonite Education Agency.
Manickam earned his master’s and doctorate degrees in intercultural studies from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif. His doctoral dissertation focused on “A Study of Race, Culture and Ethnicity in the Mennonite Church USA.”
He has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Goshen (Ind.) College and an associate degree in automotive technology from Hesston.
He has served on the boards of The Mennonite and Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Ind.
MEA board chair Judy Miller called Manickam “a visionary leader with proven administrative experience and a deep desire to serve Hesston College, the Mennonite church and the broader community. His educational and life experience will serve the institution, its constituents and future students well.”