Luke Gascho has announced plans to retire as executive director of the Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College. He turned 66 this fall and says he has a strong internal sense that it is time to let go of leadership at Merry Lea. Gascho's last day will be June 30, 2019.

“I’m grateful to have such an amazing team—and know you will carry on the mission well. I believe there are other excellent people out there who can join the team to aid in carrying out the vision. I feel satisfied with what we have accomplished at Merry Lea as a team working together––and I am ready for opportunities in the retirement chapter of my life,” he told his 17 colleagues.

During his 21 years of leadership at Merry Lea, Gascho oversaw the design and construction of Rieth Village and the development of undergraduate programs based there. The Master’s in Environmental Education and the Merry Lea Sustainable Farm came into existence during this time as well. He saw care for the earth as integral to the Christian faith, and this vision led to the founding of the Mennonite Creation Care Network.  At Goshen College, Gascho led strategic planning processes and was instrumental in the creation of the Institute for Environmental Regeneration.

A subcommittee of the Merry Lea board is already at work on succession planning. The subcommittee consists of Marcia McNagny, Ann Vendrely, Ken Newbold, John Yordy and Heather Harwood.