HESSTON, Kan. — Benjamin E. Sprunger will serve as interim president of Hesston College starting Aug. 1.
A longtime higher education faculty member and administrator, Sprunger has been active in leadership of several Mennonite organizations, including nine years as president and CEO of Mennonite Economic Development Associates.
Sprunger’s appointment comes as President Howard Keim transitions out of the role after an 11-and-a-half-year tenure.
With the announcement of the appointment, the Presidential Search Committee also reported that the presidential search for Hesston’s ninth president is proceeding as scheduled.
Sprunger’s interim arrangement is to last at least through Dec. 31 and no longer than June 30, 2017, to allow adequate transition time.
Sprunger launched his career in higher education in 1966 at Wheaton (Ill.) College, where he served over the span of six years in roles that included associate dean, director of Learning Resources, Libraries and Academic Computer Center, assistant to the president and associate professor of education.
He served as president of Bluffton (Ohio) College — now Bluffton University — from 1972 to 1978. He accepted the role at age 35. Under his leadership, Bluffton stabilized finances, eliminated deficits and launched a successful capital campaign for the construction of a new science center.
From 1978 to 1984 he served as president and CEO of the Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges.
In 1984, Sprunger transitioned into the nonprofit and business worlds, serving as the first chair of the board and first COO for Quest International Inc., at the time the world’s largest provider of school drug- and alcohol-prevention programs.
Sprunger created his own company, Life Skills International Consulting Inc., which he headed until 1994, training curriculum writers and trainers in Life Skills Drug Prevention programs in six countries.
His tenure with MEDA spanned 1994 to 2003.
Sprunger has worked in 51 countries and served on 13 national and international boards of directors, including 12 years with the General Conference Mennonite Church General Board, the Commission on Education and Faith and Life Publishing.
He also served as interim president of Mennonite Publishing Network.
He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., and a doctorate from Michigan State University.
Sprunger and his wife, Sue Berlien-Sprunger, are members of Bahia Vista Mennonite Church in Sarasota, Fla.