Sometime in 1993, in pursuit of a good mark in Reformation History, I went to my professor’s office to discuss an essay topic. Hoping to appear studious, I took copious notes during the meeting—until Professor Werner Packull told me to stop, in words I’ll never forget:
“Put your pen down,” he said. “I’m not here to give you the answers; I’m trying to broaden your mind.”
In 2002, students Kirk Schmidt and Leigh McClymont had an idea that Grebel students could produce a full-scale Broadway musical. It was an ambitious and seemingly unrealistic dream. But they wrote a business case and pitched it to Student Council. One year later, Grebel’s production of Godspell opened for a four-night run. Asked about that first production, Kirk reflected that “When we sold out three out of the four nights, we knew we had tapped into something within the Grebel zeitgeist.”
In 1979, my father helped Cal Redekop launch a solar energy business. My dad, Milo Shantz, was an entrepreneur with a grade eight education, and was involved in many different small businesses. Cal was a professor of Sociology here at Grebel. The two were great (if somewhat unlikely) friends.
Tyler Allen works in the kitchen at Grebel, washing dishes and helping the cooks prepare and serve food. He always has a friendly word for staff and students, and is a reliable source for sports news—especially concerning the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“Now” is never just a moment. The Long Now is the recognition that the precise moment you’re in grows out of the past and is a seed for the future. The longer your sense of Now, the more past and future it includes.
—Brian Eno, in The Big Here and Long Now
Exactly one year ago in this column, I suggested that living during a pandemic is like being lost in a forest at night. If you are calm and patient, your eyes can adapt. You begin to “see in the dark” and find your way.
"In a dark time, the eye begins to see." -Theodore Roethke
I write this on April 17, 2020. Just over a month ago, drastic public
health measures were adopted across Canada to slow the spread of
the coronavirus. At Grebel, classes were suspended. Most students
moved out, staff and faculty were sent home, and our campus
closed abruptly. For the next four months, all in-person classes are
cancelled and courses will be delivered online. It’s not yet clear what
September will look like.
“Conrad Grebel” University College was named for a church reformer in sixteenth-century Zurich, Switzerland. Grebel was an early leader of the Swiss Anabaptists, one of the radical Protestant groups who eventually became known as Mennonites.
No portraits or engravings of Conrad Grebel were made during his lifetime, and the most widespread picture of him is an imagined portrait painted in 1972 by the artist Tom Shenk.
Measurement is a constant in the daily life of a university. It’s a basic feature of the student-teacher relationship: Professors assess student performance by grading exams, essays, and lab assignments. And at the end of a course, students “grade” their professors by completing a course satisfaction survey.
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.