As an alumnus of Conrad Grebel University College and a resident of Grebel during several of the years during which John D. Rempel served as chaplain and residence director, I am deeply saddened by the disclosures of misconduct that have come to light.
Grebel alumnus and Researcher at Project Ploughshares, Kelsey Gallagher, made headlines after the organization released a special report he authored on Canadian arms exports, titled, “Killer Optics: Exports of WESCAM sensors to Turkey.”
Though this year’s convocation took place through a screen, it still held excitement and appreciation for the graduates. This year’s speakers also included a dose of the reality and state of today’s world, but not without providing some much needed hope and inspiration.
Because of her inspiring creativity, thoughtful dedication, and unique contributions to the Mennonite church, Grebel’s alumni committee has selected Sarah Kathleen Johnson (BA 2007, MTS 2008) as the recipient of the 2020 Distinguished Alumni Service Award.
Upon graduation from Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) at Grebel and the UWaterloo, Taylor Doss (BA 2019) was hired at the House of Friendship’s Charles Street Men’s Shelter, and is currently working at the YW Emergency Shelter in Kitchener.
Alumni, family groups, friends and roommates from throughout Grebel’s history have joined together to name tables—a symbolic level of donation to the kitchen and dining room project. One of these tables has been named for Arnie Dyck (1945–2017) by his family and friends.
John Neufeld (BA 1996) has continually served the communities around him, whether through leadership or behind the scenes, at Grebel or in the broader Waterloo Region. In recognition of his generous and dedicated service, Grebel has named him the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Service Award winner.
Hebron Hailu Gabre-Marian’s (BASC 2007) first contact with Grebel was during a University of Waterloo Open House day in March 2002 when he was checking out the Mechanical Engineering program. His dad, knowing a little about Mennonites, convinced him to swing by Grebel for a quick tour. He remembers his tour guide fondly (Eric Lepp BA 2005) and thought, “if there are more people like this guy at Grebel, then this will be a fun place to live.”
Debra Worth (BA 2001) grew up in Kitchener, Ontario with her home backing onto the train tracks of Victoria Park. Neither of her parents had gone to university and she didn’t expect to go either. And if she did, why would she live in residence when her home was minutes away?
A few months ago, I received an unexpected request from far away. King Horiguchi, an alumnus who lived in residence from 1964 to 1968, wrote from Japan to tell us that he was coming to Toronto to attend the Rotary International convention with his daughter. While in Canada, he wanted to visit Grebel and connect with friends he had made over 50 years ago.
The inaugural Empowered Woman Preach conference took place at Grebel over the October 19–20 weekend. It brought together women of different denominations to encourage each other and become more equipped to proclaim Christ while working to renew their local church communities.
This summer, Grebel staff were privileged to meet hundreds of alumni at various gatherings around Ontario! We congregated in Leamington, Toronto, Niagara, and Waterloo, to reconnect over snacks and drinks, as President Marcus Shantz and Fred Martin shared Grebel news and future plans.
Trisha (Niemeyer) Ashworth (BASC 2005) lives in the greater Toronto, Ontario area. She is a professional engineer, a mother of two teenagers, a partner to John David, and an engaged member of Rouge Valley Mennonite church.
Grebel and its Student Services department has a unique vision for residence life. It includes expectations for participation, encouragement to explore questions of significance, involvement in chapels and community suppers, engagement with faculty and staff, and accountability to one another for creating a hospitable environment.