2010 recipient: Nick Driedger

Nick Driedger is retiring in 2010 after 17 years as CEO of the Mennonite Savings and Credit Union (MSCU). Under his leadership, MSCU has doubled its membership, significantly increased its staff and the number of branches, increased the range of products, and quadrupled its assets. A recent study by the Queen’s University School of Business named MSCU among the top 50 small to medium sized employers in Canada.

Nick was instrumental in the establishment of the MSCU Charitable Fund and Meritas Mutual Funds. Meritas is one of the key investment tools used for Conrad Grebel’s endowment portfolio. In a recent MSCU newsletter, Nick noted that "as MSCU members, you should feel proud (with appropriate Mennonite humility, of course) of Meritas' place within Canada's mutual fund arena."

In reflecting on his impending retirement, Nick observes that "most importantly we have worked hard to serve each of our members with integrity, compassion, and responsible stewardship."

These values of integrity, compassion, and responsible stewardship are personal values for Nick as well as values that we celebrate and foster as Grebel alumni.  

Nick came to Conrad Grebel from a farm near Wheatley, Ontario, in the fall of 1969. He embodied an enterprising spirit by operating a pop machine in the stairwell, helping to fund his education!

In the summer of 1970 Nick was part of a service trip to Colombia with other Mennonite colleges. He also helped to organize a folk music group summer tour, including arranging for the van to travel in. According to one member of the group, "I don't think the rest of us were practical enough to think of it. Nick was a natural leader."

Whereas current Grebel students went down to Louisiana for Hurricane Katrina clean up last year, Nick travelled to New Orleans during the Christmas break of 1969 to assist in the clean up after Hurricane Camille. "We travelled with a group of five in one car and I think there were a few cars full of students that went. It’s likely that Nick made sure our car had the camping stove and other supplies for the trip (as is his gift)," noted Jan Henson, a member of the group who eventually became Nick’s wife.

Nick graduated from the University of Waterloo with a BA in Religious Studies after spending some years in the Faculty of Engineering. He also received a Masters in Education and worked for many years as a special education teacher in the Waterloo Public Board. He joined the Credit Union in 1983 as a loans officer and subsequently took on various roles prior to serving as CEO.

Nick is appreciated for being open minded, with the kind of listening skills and analytical ability to appreciate opposing values and interests. His vision for MSCU grew from his observations and listening from the heart to what constituents wanted or suggested. One colleague described Nick as a strong and visionary leader who was always approachable and respectful and who demonstrated concern and empathy for others. He is a most deserving recipient of this award.

Beyond his professional life, Nick has been involved as a volunteer in the church and other organizations. In his retirement he is looking forward to pursuing his interests in woodworking and sports as well as spending time with his grandchildren.

Throughout his life and career, Nick has been a model of service and leadership. The Alumni Committee of Conrad Grebel University College is extremely pleased to present the 2010 Distinguished Alumni Service Award to Nick Driedger at the college’s convocation on April 11.