Dr. Elmer Neufeld


Elmer Neufeld's history of service at Bluffton in many ways mirrors the career of former president Robert Kreider. He came to the university as a professor, was later appointed academic dean and, following, named president.

After college, Neufeld worked in Washington D.C. as associate secretary of the National Service Board for Religious Objectors. Later he became executive secretary of the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Peace Section.

From 1962 to 1965 Neufeld served MCC as program director in Zaire and as a peace missioner in sub-Sahara Africa. After his return from Africa in 1965, Neufeld came to Bluffton to teach philosophy. In 1974 he became academic dean and, on the first day of January 1978, he began his first term as Bluffton's seventh president.

President Neufeld served as president of the General Conference Mennonite Church for six years, was a board member and chairman of Mennonite Central Committee, and a member of various conference commissions.

The Neufelds have five children, all Bluffton graduates, Carolyn, Cynthia, Tim, Iris and Francene.

One of the first projects Elmer tackled upon his retirement was to disassemble a 30-foot tall windmill which was on his home farm in Kansas, move it to Ohio and reassemble it on his small farm acreage at Bluffton. This displays his love for the country and how he never lost this love amidst his many presidential positions and busy life. Elmer passed on in 2009.