Hamm, Minon Auda (Hiebert; 1926–2008)

By Sabrina Riley

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Sabrina Riley was born in Auburn, New York and raised in Dowagiac, Michigan. She received a B.A. in history from Andrews University and an M.A. in information and libraries studies from the University of Michigan. Riley was a member of Andrews University’s library staff from 1998 to 2003, library director and college archivist at Union College from 2003 to 2016, and is presently a freelance researcher, author, and information professional.

 

Minon Hamm was an Adventist educator in the Inter-American and North American Divisions.

Early Life

Minon Auda (Hiebert) Hamm was born November 9, 1926, in Berrien County, Michigan, United States of America, to Martin (1896–1972) and Auda (Boorom; 1900–1984) Hiebert.1 At the time, her father was a farm laborer at Emmanuel Missionary College in Berrien Springs. Her mother later taught in church schools in the southern United States. Hamm’s paternal grandfather, Abraham Hiebert, was a German Mennonite, born in Russia, who immigrated to the United States in 1886, where he became a Seventh-day Adventist the following year.2 From 1964 to 1978, Hamm’s younger brother, Wayne Martin Hiebert (1930–2012), lived in Colombia, where he provided medical assistance in remote areas.3

Education and Marriage

Hamm attended Shenandoah Valley Academy in New Market, Virginia, U.S.A., from which she graduated in 1944. She briefly attended Washington Missionary College, in Takoma Park, Maryland, U.S.A. Around the same time, on December 20, 1945, she married Robert Allen Hamm (1925–2018), a ministerial student whom she had first met at Shenandoah Valley Academy. Together, the Hamms served in the Inter-American Division for 11 years, where, among other positions, Robert Hamm was the first director of the Llanos mission station in eastern Colombia. The Hamms had two children: Robert Wayne (1949–1991) and Carol Elaine, who married Dr. Lewis C. Sommerville.

In 1964, the Hamms returned to the United States and divorced shortly thereafter. Robert Hamm resigned from denominational employment but maintained ties with Colombia. He eventually made Colombia his permanent home, working with NGO development projects into his senior years.4

Minon Hamm settled in Tennessee and completed her undergraduate education at Southern Missionary College (now Southern Adventist University) in Collegedale. She graduated in 19665 and then pursued a master of arts degree in English, which she completed in 1969.6 Hamm continued her education at the Peabody College for Teachers of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, earning an education specialist degree in 19727 and a doctorate in 1975.8

Career

Hamm’s teaching career began without the benefit of a college degree. In 1944/45, she taught for one academic year in a Potomac Conference church school. Between 1947 and 1948, she also taught in the Georgia-Cumberland and Florida Conferences. Robert Hamm pastored in the Florida Conference, where he was ordained in 1953. Soon after his ordination, the Hamms moved to Aruba in the Inter-American Division, where they served until 1957, when they moved to Colombia.9 Minon Hamm taught church school in both places and assisted her husband in establishing the Colegio El Campo (closed in 1967) in eastern Colombia in 1961. She chronicled the story of the school’s development in a seven-part series of articles published in the Youth’s Instructor in 1967.10

After Hamm’s return to the United States and the completion of her bachelor’s degree, she accepted a teaching position at Southern Missionary College in 1966. She remained at Southern, serving as chair of the English department for part of the time,11 until 1980, when she was called to teach at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska. From 1980 to 1993, Hamm was chair of the Division of Arts and Humanities. From 1993 to 1998, she taught part-time before retiring to Maryville, Tennessee.12 Hamm died on April 4, 2008.

Contribution

Hamm was an excellent teacher. She liked people and respected her students. When interviewed in 1975, Hamm stated that her work was “stimulating and delightful. I Iearn more from my students than they learn from me. The people are fascinating and wonderful to get to know.”13 In 1988, she was a recipient of the Zapara Award for Excellence in Teaching.14

This was reflected in the biblical literature courses she taught and her participation in conferences. She also voiced her opinions on religion and mission in secular media when invited to do so.15 As a scholar of literature, she believed the Bible to be “the conceptual framework for secular literature.”16

Between 1964 and 1974, Hamm frequently contributed stories to the Youth’s Instructor and Insight magazines. In 1973 she won Insight’s short story contest with her story “Uccello.”17 She also published at least one story in Guide, the magazine for junior-age children.18

Sources

“Abraham Hiebert obituary.” ARH, April 2, 1925.

“Advanced Degrees for Staff Members.” Southern Tidings, November 1969.

Christensen, Jim. “Dr. Hamm Retires.” Clocktower, March 18, 1993.

“Christian College Teaching Seminar Set.” Lincoln Star, June 18, 1988. Newspapers.com.

Employee Service Record. 1944–1993. Union College Human Resources.

Minutes of the General Conference Committee. August 13, 1964. General Conference Archives. Adventist Digital Library. http://documents.adventistarchives.org/Minutes/GCC/GCC1964-08.pdf.

Hamm, Minon Auda. “A Freshman English Program for Southern Missionary College.” Ed.S. thesis, Peabody College for Teachers of Vanderbilt University, 1972.

———. “Anatomy of the Center: An Application of Some Concepts of Northrop Frye.” Ph.D. diss., Peabody College for Teachers of Vanderbilt University, 1975.

———. “Bleak Religious Future Can Be Turned Around.” Lincoln Star, May 5, 1985. Newspapers.com.

———. “Go with God.” Guide, July 31, 1974.

———. “Long Blooming.” Youth’s Instructor, October 18, 1966.

———. “Uccello.” Insight, April 9, 1974.

Hamm, Minon Hiebert. “Abandoned but Not Forsaken: Part One.” Youth’s Instructor, December 15, 1964.

———. “Abandoned but Not Forsaken: Part Three.” Youth’s Instructor, December 29, 1964.

———. “Abandoned but Not Forsaken: Part Two.” Youth’s Instructor, December 22, 1964.

———. “The Promised Land.” Youth’s Instructor, September 26, 1967.

———. “The Promised Land: Part Five.” Youth’s Instructor, October 24, 1967.

———. “The Promised Land: Part Four.” Youth’s Instructor, October 17, 1967.

———. “The Promised Land: Part Seven.” Youth’s Instructor, November 7, 1967.

———. “The Promised Land: Part Six.” Youth’s Instructor, October 31, 1967.

———. “The Promised Land: Part Three.” Youth’s Instructor, October 10, 1967.

———. “The Promised Land: Part Two.” Youth’s Instructor, October 3, 1967.

“Hamm Receives Doctorate.” Southern Accent, September 25, 1975.

“Martin Hiebert obituary.” Southern Tidings, November 2011.

“Minon Auda Hamm obituary.” Southern Tidings, September 2008.

“Robert Allen Hamm Facebook page.” Facebook, n.d. Accessed January 28, 2019. https://www.facebook.com/robertallan.hamm.

“SMC Teacher Takes ‘Insight’s’ First Prize.” Atlantic Union Gleaner, March 12, 1974.

Taggart, Georgia. “Staff, Faculty Newcomers Announced.” Mid-America Adventist Outlook, October 1, 1981.

“Union College Honors 3 Teachers.” Sunday Journal-Star, May 22, 1988. Newspapers.com.

“Social Security Death Index.” Ancestry.com. Accessed January 25, 2019. https://www.ancestry.com.

“Wayne Martin Hiebert, Sr.” Find a Grave. Accessed January 8, 2019. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/87066864.

Notes

  1. “Minon Auda Hamm obituary,” Southern Tidings, September 2008, 25; “Martin Hiebert Obituary,” Southern Tidings, November 2011, 25; “Social Security Death Index,” Ancestry.com, accessed January 25, 2019, https://www.ancestry.com.

  2. “Abraham Hiebert obituary,” ARH, April 2, 1925, 22; Carol Sommerville, telephone interview by Sabrina Riley, February 5, 2019.

  3. “Wayne Martin Hiebert, Sr.,” Find a Grave, accessed January 8, 2019, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/87066864.

  4. Minutes of the General Conference Committee, August 13, 1964,General Conference Archives, 699, http://documents.adventistarchives.org/Minutes/GCC/GCC1964-08.pdf; “Robert Allen Hamm Facebook page,” Facebook, n.d., accessed January 28, 2019, https://www.facebook.com/robertallan.hamm.

  5. “Advanced Degrees for Staff Members,” Southern Tidings, November 1969, 23.

  6. “Hamm Receives Doctorate,” Southern Accent, September 25, 1975, 1, https://knowledge.e.southern.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1051&context=southern_accent.

  7. Minon Auda Hamm, “A Freshman English Program for Southern Missionary College” (Ed.S. thesis, Peabody College for Teachers of Vanderbilt University, 1972).

  8. Minon Auda Hamm, “Anatomy of the Center: An Application of Some Concepts of Northrop Frye” (Ph.D. diss., Peabody College for Teachers of Vanderbilt University, 1975); “Hamm Receives Doctorate,” 1.

  9. “Employee Service Record (ESR),” 1944–1993, Union College Human Resources.

  10. Minon Hiebert Hamm, “The Promised Land,” Youth’s Instructor, September 26, 1967, 12–16; Minon Hiebert Hamm, “The Promised Land: Part Two,” Youth’s Instructor, October 3, 1967, 2–4, 22; Minon Hiebert Hamm, “The Promised Land: Part Three,” Youth’s Instructor, October 10, 1967, 2–4, 22; Minon Hiebert Hamm, “The Promised Land: Part Four,” Youth’s Instructor, October 17, 1967, 9–11; Minon Hiebert Hamm, “The Promised Land: Part Five,” Youth’s Instructor, October 24, 1967, 9–11; Minon Hiebert Hamm, “The Promised Land: Part Six,” Youth’s Instructor, October 31, 1967, 9–11; Minon Hiebert Hamm, “The Promised Land: Part Seven,” Youth’s Instructor, November 7, 1967, 9–11.

  11. Carol Sommerville, telephone interview by Sabrina Riley, February 5, 2019.

  12. Employee Service Record; Georgia Taggart, “Staff, Faculty Newcomers Announced,” Mid-America Adventist Outlook, October 1, 1981, 14; Jim Christensen, “Dr. Hamm Retires,” Clocktower, March 18, 1993, 4.

  13. “Hamm Receives Doctorate,” 1.

  14. “Union College Honors 3 Teachers,” Lincoln Sunday Journal-Star, May 22, 1988, 4E, Newspapers.com.

  15. “Dr. Hamm Retires,” 4; “Christian College Teaching Seminar Set,” Lincoln Star, June 18, 1988, 4, Newspapers.com; Minon Auda Hamm, “Bleak Religious Future Can Be Turned Around,” Lincoln Star, May 5, 1985, 10C–11C, Newspapers.com.

  16. “Hamm Receives Doctorate,” 1.

  17. “SMC Teacher Takes ‘Insight’s’ First Prize,” Atlantic Union Gleaner, March 12, 1974, 7; Minon Auda Hamm, “Uccello,” Insight, April 9, 1974, 12–18.

  18. Minon Auda Hamm, “Go With God,” Guide, July 31, 1974, 1–3, 22, 31.

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Riley, Sabrina. "Hamm, Minon Auda (Hiebert; 1926–2008)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 28, 2021. Accessed June 19, 2021. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=99F0.

Riley, Sabrina. "Hamm, Minon Auda (Hiebert; 1926–2008)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 28, 2021. Date of access June 19, 2021, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=99F0.

Riley, Sabrina (2021, April 28). Hamm, Minon Auda (Hiebert; 1926–2008). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved June 19, 2021, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=99F0.