Your donation helps to create a welcoming, inclusive, and challenging community.

Radical Hospitality at Grebel is Foundational to Student Success

Before he served as Grebel’s first president, J. Winfield Fretz taught at Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas. To supplement his modest salary, Winfield and his family opened a restaurant, which they called the “Guest House.” 

In Kansas in the 1950s, racial and ethnic prejudices were widespread, and it was common for restaurants to be racially segregated. But Winfield decided to operate the restaurant in a different way – a radically welcoming way that challenged prevailing attitudes. His daughter, Sara, remembers him saying: “I decided that we would hire anyone if they were qualified and we opened our doors to everyone. I wanted the welcome to extend not only to serving minorities as customers, but also to hiring them if they applied for jobs.” The Guest House became widely known as a welcoming place – employing immigrants from Latin America and serving African American porters from the railroad which ran through the town. 

It’s not surprising that when Winfield came to Waterloo in 1963, he wanted Grebel to be a community of radical hospitality. His influence can be seen in the architecture of our buildings. He advocated for many welcoming and bright features that we now take for granted – the distinctive “sawtooth” roof line, the big windows in the residence rooms, and the size and shape of our dining room tables. 

Marcus Shantz talking with students in dining hallA place that is genuinely welcoming will become a place of diversity – and that was also part of Fretz’s vision for Grebel. He once reflected, “What interested me was the possibility of establishing a college as a Christian community on a university campus. Not to admit only Christian students, but to admit people who were interested in learning something about Christianity, about religion, about the whole nature and meaning of faith in the context of studying to be engineers, mathematicians, scientists, philosophers, or historians.”

Today at Grebel, that culture of radical hospitality is alive and well, and it makes a profound difference in the lives of our students. Visit our campus and you will find our students promoting mental health, welcoming refugees to live at Grebel, and making music together. Whatever they study, Grebel students are challenged to become hospitable people – responsive to the needs of neighbours and strangers, and interested in applying their education “in service to church and society.” 

The annual Grebel Fund enables us to extend and expand Grebel’s unique culture through our people and programs. In the enclosed brochure, you’ll meet a few of our students and you’ll learn how your gift impacts the Grebel community. 

Please consider a gift or renew your support! We thank you for helping us to make Grebel a community where students are welcomed, challenged, and transformed.


Marcus Shantz

CoinsOur goal for the 2018-19 Grebel Fund is $345,000 As of March 15 we have reached 82% of our goal. Our fiscal year-end is April 30.  Help us go all the way! DONATE NOW

student Boushrah Fanous"When I first moved into Grebel, it was quite obvious that I was the only student with a head covering. But before I had the chance to feel lonely, I was overwhelmed with the hospitality of this place and its people. Two years later, I’ve realized that I have never felt different than anyone else at Grebel. I have learned that what brings us together far exceeds what differentiates us.

"Over the course of many mealtime conversations, I’ve learned that Muslims and Christians have more in common than we think we do. And I wasn’t the only one learning this — people at Grebel were also realizing how similar Islam is to Christianity. These conversations enhanced my knowledge in both Christianity and Islam. Not just because I had to look up information when I didn’t know it, but also because reading something again makes you think and reflect upon it more."

— Boushrah Fanous, Peace and Conflict Studies

Your support for the Grebel Fund will make it possible to:

  • offer quality academic programs,
  • nurture leadership development, and
  • reach our goal of $345,000

To learn more about how your gift will impact Grebel students, contact Fred W. Martin, Director of Advancement. 519-885-0220 x24381

Make your donation

  • Online donations can be designated to Grebel through the University of Waterloo (please select "Conrad Grebel University College" in the drop-down menu).
  • Donations should be made payable to:
    Conrad Grebel University College,
    140 Westmount Road North,
    Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G6

Donate online

Make a credit card donation on Grebel's pledge page.  Simply select the fund at Grebel you wish to support and fill in your details. Your receipt for online donations will come from the University of Waterloo.  Thanks!

Your Donations at Work


Music students conducting

Donations augment the Music program by providing resources for Noon Hour Concerts.

Peace and Conflict Studies

MPACS students in library

Support is required for our new Masters in PACS.

Student Leadership

Student talking in library

Donations provide funds for student leadership development that is the core of Grebel community life.

Mennonite Studies

Fretz scholar talking

Donations support research and Mennonite Studies events .

Library and Archives

Archival martyrs mirror in library

Library and Archives activities rely on support from donors.

Theological Studies

Students speaking with professor

Donations support pastoral training and graduate Theological Studies.

Centre for Peace Advancement

Peace incubator workers talking at computer

Donations are key in running the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement.

Toronto Mennonite Theological Centre

TMTC building

Grebel also administers the Toronto Mennonite Theological Centre, which provides theological training for doctoral students.