Alumnus of the Year 1975: Irvin B. Horst

Irvin B. Horst (C 41), a church historian, was named Eastern Mennonite College’s 1975 “alumnus-of-the-year” during the Alumni Association’s annual Homecoming dinner Saturday night (April 26).

Dr. Horst, who taught at his alma mater from 1955 to 1967, received the award “in absentia” from Alumni Association Presi­dent Fred L. Denlinger (C58).

Dr. Horst’s oldest daughter, Marlise (C 73), a graduate stu­dent at the University of Virginia, accepted the award for her father. “News of this honor has been a great source o f inspira­tion to my father in his work,” she said. “ I know he would like to be here to celebrate this with you.”

The alumni award cited the church historian “ for sharing himself with humility and effectiveness as a professor of Anabaptist studies; as a lover of books; as the principal architect of EMC’s Menno Simons Histori­cal Library and Archives; as a careful researcher, writer, and editor; and as a Christian.”

Dr. Horst currently resides with his family in the Nether­lands. He teaches church history at the University of Amsterdam and at the Mennonite Seminary on the same campus. He is executive secretary of CUD AN, a Dutch group which publishes Anabaptist sources, and TGG, a Dutch learned society.

Following World War II, Dr. Horst served with Mennonite Central Committee as director of publicity and then as director of relief in the Netherlands.

During his 12 years at EMC, he was director of research, taught Mennonite history, and was consulting editor of several research and scholarly publica­tions.

The church historian is the author of numerous articles and four books: The Radical Breth­ren, Anabaptism and the English Reformation to 1558 (1972), Erasmus, the Anabaptists, and the Problem of Religious Unity (1967), A Bibliography of Menno Simons, 1496-1561, Dutch Reformer (1962), and A Ministry of Goodwill: A Short Account of Mennonite Relief (1950).

Dr. Horst prepared materials for the February, 1975 “ special Anabaptist edition” of the EMC Bulletin, which included a popular-style essay on the early years of the Anabaptist movement and a listing of more than 30 Anabaptist-related works in the Menno Simons Historical Library.

Dr. Horst is married to the former Ava Rohrer (Cng44). The couple has four children.

The recognition of Dr. Horst coincided with EMC’s year-long observance of the 450th anni­versary of the founding of the Anabaptist-Mennonite move­ment.

Published 1975 in Crossroads.

Posted on August 18, 2016