60 Stories for 60 Years

Collage of Grebel alumni over the years

Everyone has a story.

For Conrad Grebel University College's 60th anniversary, we want to celebrate the best part about Grebel: the people!

In an ongoing project, we are having conversations with–and writing stories about–nominated alumni who stand out as interesting or influential individuals, who left a positive impact on the College, and who continue to demonstrate a connection to Grebel's core values in their lives. Each of these conversations reveal new, inspiring stories from Grebel alumni living around the world.

We hope you enjoy reading these unique, fascinating, and valuable stories from across alumni generations!

Brad is a member of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation in Saskatchewan and a survivor of the Sixties Scoop. In his distinguished career as a lawyer spanning more than 25 years, he was part of the legal team that successfully defended a challenge to a First Nation’s tax laws under the First Nations Fiscal Management Act, is a Partner for Maurice Law in Winnipeg, and is the first Indigenous lawyer to hold office as President of the Canadian Bar Association. Brad is also the Chair of the Indigenous Advisory Group for United College at the University of Waterloo and was recently appointed King’s Counsel by the Province of Manitoba.

Grebel's 60 Stories Project | Steph Chandler Burns (they/them) graduated from the University of Waterloo in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Social Development Studies and minoring in Peace and Conflict Studies. After working in medical records keeping for a few years following graduation, Steph returned to Grebel for a Master of Theological Studies degree in 2015. During Masters studies, Steph began exploring Queer Theology, looking at the intersections between queer identity and faith. Steph has a number of publications and presentations exploring the topics of Anabaptist faith, queer identity and the nature of God. They have worked at the intersections of faith and marginal identity since graduation in 2017, working with people on parole, in congregational ministry, and most recently with Pastors in Exile, an affirming, community-based ministry with young adults in Waterloo Region. Steph enjoys conversations about God, faith, meaning and activism. They also enjoy collecting tattoos, and are particularly proud of their Grebel stained-glass-inspired quarter sleeve. They live in Kitchener with their spouse, Greg, cat, Lulu, and over 200 board games. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Island Living - Ron Tiessen (BA 1969)

Grebel's 60 Stories Project | Ron Tiessen has lived for 44 years on Pelee island where he has farmed and led a variety of community initiatives, like the Heritage Centre. He and his wife Kathryn, also a retired teacher and native of Pelee Island, raised 3 boys there.  

Grebel's 60 Stories Project | Paul Born is the co-founder of the Tamarack Institute and for 20 years was the CEO/Co-CEO. An author of five books, he is also the co- founder of Vibrant Communities Canada. Paul is semi-retired and continues as a coach and trainer providing practical support to communities and organizations interested in achieving large-scale change. Paul is married to Marlene Epp and they have two sons, Lucas and Michael, and Daughter in laws, Betty and Laura. In his leisure time, Paul loves to volunteer in his community, cook Paella for large groups, visit with friends and go for long walks. He wishes he was a better golfer and plans to join the pickle ball craze. He is a member at Rockway Mennonite Church.

Grebel's 60 Stories Project | Hannah Redekop lived at Grebel from 2007-2010 and graduated from the Global Studies and Spanish Language and Literature programs at Wilfrid Laurier University in 2011. In 2013, she started full-time accompaniment and human rights documentation work with Community Peacemaker Teams (CPT) in Colombia. Hannah celebrated her 10th anniversary with CPT in 2023, working as a Communications Associate. She lives in Amman, Jordan with her partner Alaeddin Rahmeh. Together they founded Underground Amman, an arts and culture initiative that seeks to support and develop the hip hop and street art cultures in Amman through community-building events, activities, and jams, as well as a street art and graffiti walking tour. 

Grebel's 60 Stories Project | Mark Bender graduated from the Master of Mathematics program at the University of Waterloo in 1965 and completed further studies at Uppsala University. He now lives with his wife, Elsa, in Norrköping, Sweden. Mark retired from a long and fulfilling teaching career in Math and Physics in 2008. During his days as a retiree, Mark enjoys spending time with Elsa and his grandchildren, singing in Norrköping’s Chamber Choir, and exploring Sweden’s great outdoors.

Grebel's 60 Stories Project | Max lives in Thunder Bay, Ontario with his partner Amy and their two dogs. Since 2021, Max has worked as director of Pandora Press. He is also a Senior Research Associate at the Centre for Social Accountability at NOSM University. Max is working on a trilogy of books on social critique including Postsecular History (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022), Ontologies of Violence (Brill, 2023), and Critique of Conspiracism (Routledge, under contract). In his spare time, Max enjoys a good cup of coffee with an interesting book, walking his dogs in the forest, and getting out on the water during the sailboat racing season. 

Grebel's 60 Stories Project | Savio Wong graduated from the University of Waterloo in 1984 with a degree in Electrical Engineering. After graduation, he obtained his B.Ed. degree from the University of Western Ontario and embarked on a fulfilling teaching career at Waterloo-Oxford District Secondary School in Baden, where he taught for 32 years until his retirement. During the first half of his teaching career, Savio taught both Computer Science and Mathematics, and in the latter half, he transitioned to becoming a full-time Teacher-Librarian. In his retirement, he continues to indulge in his two passions: books and travel.