Friends Center searches for new director

Courtesy of Woodbrooke.org.uk

Guilford has officially begun introducing the proposed candidates for the position of director of the William R. Rogers Friends Center to the College.

According to IFP Gifts Discernment Coordinator Frank Massey, Guilford has narrowed it down from six applications on file for candidates for the job to two candidates.

On March 23, Jon Kershner, Guilford’s first candidate, arrived on campus to begin his interviews and to meet faculty and students.

Kershner is a Seattle native who has a degree in theology and religion. A graduate of the University of Birmingham, one of his major focuses involve Quaker religion and 18th century religion.

On March 24, Kershner held an hour-long presentation regarding 18th century Quakers, the involvement Quakers had with slavery and what types of controversies coincided within the community at the time between Quakers and other religious groups.

Current Director of the Friends Center and Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies Max Carter along with Assistant Director of the Friends Center Deborah Shaw both attended Kershner’s presentation.

“Whoever gets hired for the director’s job will have a very significant challenge they will be faced with,” said Shaw. “No one is alike, so the role as director must be defined for themselves. Filling Max Carter’s shoes is no easy task. He has a beautiful personality, and the way he carries himself is just larger than life.”

Kershner’s knowledge of Quaker religion and ethics will be taken into great consideration when the time comes to determine the next director of the Friends Center.

“Jon is an outstanding young man with a great grasp of Quaker values and Quaker theology,” said Massey. “He has interacted well with everyone, and I enjoyed meeting him.”

The Friends Center has been at Guilford since 1982 and has been led formerly by Judith Weller Harvey and currently by Max Carter. He will be retiring from Guilford in June after 25 years as the director.

The Friends Center has strived to keep the Quaker heritage alive, not only at Guilford but also in the surrounding community and outside world. The Friends Center is designed to help keep the Quaker ethos and its philosophy of education alive as well.

The director helps fundraise for the Friends Center, though it is still provided for by Guilford. The director also serves as a resource to all campus programs and departments on how to integrate Quaker principles into College practices.

As President Jane Fernandes is not a Quaker, the director can also help her understand how to maintain Quakerism at Guilford.

“I think I (would) be able to bring many great qualities to Guilford and the Quaker community,” said Kershner, “I believe the main goal will be to not only maintain Quaker ethics but to, more importantly, provide a better understanding of what it means to be a Quaker. I want to create a better educated, global understanding.”

Many folks were impressed by Kershner during his visit, with his knowledge and the way he presented himself while on campus. However, Kershner is not the only candidate. From March 29 through March 31, Wes Daniels the other candidate for the position, toured Guilford and gave presentations to introduce himself to the Guilford community.

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