Grebel Now - Spring 2011

Conrad Grebel University College logo with CAD drawing/design of the new planned building.

Library & Archives will be expanded

By Susan Fish

At its April 28th meeting, the Board of Governors of Conrad Grebel University College approved “The Next Chapter” capital campaign that will see a $6.3 million addition to the current academic building.

In 2006, capital expansion, particularly of the library and archives, was identified as an urgent need and one of the college’s six strategic priorities. The college’s academic building has not been renovated or expanded since it was constructed in 1976 and is no longer able to accommodate the academic program or enrolment growth. While the 2002 building project expanded the residence program by fifty percent, it did not address academic space needs. 

Construction is scheduled to begin in March 2012, [noted President Henry Paetkau,] and be completed in time for the beginning of the college’s 50th anniversary in August 2013.

Initial interest and support has been enthusiastic and generous, [reports Scott Beech, Chair of the Capital Fundraising Advisory Committee.] On May 6th, more than $2.9 million had already been raised in gifts and pledges toward a minimum fundraising target of $3.7 million. The remaining donations will be raised through a public fundraising campaign.

A grant application to Canadian Heritage is in process and other funding will come from annual revenue for graduate teaching, reserves, and an internal mortgage.

Good work space is essential for grad students, [observes Laura Stemp-Morlock, a graduate student in Theological Studies.] Having an area in the library to focus, access, and organize our research materials is extremely helpful.

This expansion will triple the capacity of the Mennonite Archives of Ontario, double study space in the library, increase Music department space by 5,000 square feet and create a new community education facility for Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS). It will also create a clear, welcoming entrance to the college.

This new facility will be a focal point for community outreach and education and enhance the academic program’s facilities for the next 50 years, [said Grebel’s Dean, Dr. James Pankratz.] We are committed to making the unique resources of the archives more accessible to the community. The Music program will enjoy expanded practice and teaching facilities. Additional space for graduate programs in Theology and Peace and Conflict Studies are also imperative for future growth.

This has been a very thorough and careful design process and we are thrilled with the building plans, [enthused Paul Penner, the college’s Director of Operations.] Our project managers and our building committee are confident in our cost estimates.

Paetkau's lasting in​fluence

The seminar room in the new academic building at Conrad Grebel University College will be named in honour of Grebel’s 6th president, Henry Paetkau. This action was announced on June 23rd at a dinner to honour Henry.

In his statement to the Board of Governors, Bert Lobe, the outgoing chair stated:

Henry joined Grebel in late 2003 and provided the leadership we needed. In 2006 we identified six strategic directions and under Henry’s watch we made substantial forward progress on each. What distinguished Henry’s presidency was his sensitivity to the college and university context, his commitment to and understanding of the church, and his graciousness. Thank you Henry.

The Henry Paetkau Seminar Room, offering a wonderful view of the front of the campus and Westmount Road, will be on the main level of the $6.3 million addition and will be used for graduate studies. During his residency, Henry signed an agreement with the University of Waterloo that integrated the college’s Master of Theological Studies degree into the University of Waterloo graduate studies program. This conjoint degree brings significant revenue into the college, assists students with full-time tuition scholarships, and offers significant support for leadership development in the church. A Master in Peace and Conflict Studies is also in the final stages of approval.

Paul Berg-Dick, the outgoing treasurer noted that the college has enjoyed fiscal stability and growth during these last 9 years with balanced budgets, healthy reserves, endowments that have doubled in size, and increased financial aid for students.

The ability to embark on such an ambitious capital campaign is the result of Henry’s leadership plus the generosity of our donors who understand the college’s mission and want to participate in it,

added Susan Taves who is taking over as Board Chair. 

From the preside​nt

By Henry Pae​tkau

When I became a Grebel associate student in 1974 after transferring to Waterloo to complete my BA, the college was barely 11 years old. Like many pre-adolescents, the institution was changing rapidly and still defining its identity and finding its place in both the academy and the church. I thoroughly enjoyed the lively exchanges on major issues of the day with faculty and fellow students in the classroom, the corridors, the dining room, and the lounge. Although I didn’t live in residence, Grebel remained home base as I went on to complete an MA in History. Later, while a doctoral student at University of Western Ontario, I returned regularly to do research in the archives and to continue the conversation. Grebel helped me find my voice, my place, and my vocation.

From 1988-96 I re-joined that conversation from a different perspective as a member of the Board of Governors. By now the college was well into young adulthood and actively pursuing some of the many opportunities for growth and expansion of programs and facilities. Not nearly all those hopes and dreams were realized, of course, but one bold initiative that has borne considerable fruit is a graduate program in Theological Studies, now a conjoint Conrad Grebel University College/University of Waterloo Master of Theological Studies degree. There were two presidential transitions during those years and I had the privilege of serving on both search committees, yet another glimpse into the inner workings of this institution.

At the turn of the century I became a Grebel parent, a totally different perspective again, especially since we had just moved to Winnipeg, some 2,000 km away. Leaving a child here felt much less like abandonment knowing something of the community that was welcoming, surrounding, and supporting her. The measure of that community is not only the depth and breadth of relationships experienced here but also the length and strength of friendships that continue, sometimes resulting in marriage – our family is blessed with two Grebel unions!

None of this prepared me fully for the next stage, that of serving as president for the past 8½ years. What an enormous privilege and opportunity it has been! Grebel is blessed with tremendous resources, including outstanding faculty, gifted and dedicated administrators and staff, energetic and creative students, loyal alumni, and generous donors. Together, these have allowed us to envision a dynamic future by building on the strengths of the past as the college approaches the institutional maturity of a fifty-year old.

Central to this vision for the future is a $6.3 million building project, described elsewhere in these pages, and “The Next Chapter” capital campaign to raise $3.7 million. But not to be forgotten are a unique and thriving Music program, a growing Peace and Conflict Studies program that is preparing to launch a masters degree next year, a revitalized Mennonite Studies program, a strong graduate program in Theological Studies, and a successful Certificate Program in Conflict Management. Or the Student Services program that relates to more than 350 residence and associate students each year. The list could go on – and our accompanying Annual Report gives you lots more detail.

Whatever your connections with Grebel over the years, I encourage you to find new ways of continuing the conversation by being actively involved in writing its future. The next chapter promises to be even more exciting than the previous ones!

Library named after visionary

Milton Good's son Jim, and Henry Paetkau unveil a plaque on May 6th at the campaign launch.
.In a bold move and example of visionary leadership fifty years ago, Milton R. Good spearheaded the establishment of Conrad Grebel College on the campus of the University of Waterloo. Together with Norman High, Harvey Taves, John W. Snyder, and Henry H. Epp, the dream of a residential college for Mennonite students studying at university in non-theological disciplines took shape.

Milton Good served as the inaugural chair of the college’s Board of Governors from 1961-1970. He then served on the executive as treasurer or member-at-large until 1982. Following this twenty years of service, he continued to support the college for the rest of his life. Good Foundation Inc., established by Milton and his family, has been a key vehicle for providing financial support, including the Good Scholarship along with other annual donations and special projects. Milton’s son John served as library clerk at Grebel for 34 years until his retirement in 2011 and James Good, Milton’s eldest son, served on the Board of Governors from 2000 to 2006, including two years as chair.

Conrad Grebel is pleased to recognize Milton Good’s pivotal leadership and the Good Foundation’s exceptional generosity. The college has created a lasting reminder for future generations of students, faculty, and visitors by naming its library the Milton Good Library at Conrad Grebel University College. This gift is being made in the context of a matching gift from Wallenstein Feed Charitable Foundation in support of this naming opportunity, for which the college and Good Foundation Inc. are deeply grateful.

The Milton Good Library, currently located in the existing academic building, will be expanded with the addition of a new facility directly adjacent to the existing library. The Milton Good Library encompasses all library-related spaces on level 3 of the academic building, including any space occupied by the collection or used in the administration of the Mennonite Archives of Ontario. The Milton Good Library collection is focused on the academic programs of Conrad Grebel University College, which currently include Music, Peace and Conflict Studies, Mennonite Studies, as well as Theology and Religious Studies.

The Board of Governors and the college community is enormously grateful for this very generous gift, [says Bert Lobe, Board Chair.] We are pleased to recognize the life-long contribution of the founding chair of the Board of Governors, Milton Good, in this way. This clearly establishes the Good family’s commitment to the academic programs and pursuits of Conrad Grebel University College.

A good retirement

John Good at the circulation desk, 1981. Photo courtesy of Mennonite Archives of Ontario.
John Good began his career at the Grebel's library in 1976 as a volunteer when his father Milton offered John’s services to President Frank H. Epp. Soon he became a paid employee and worked at the circulation desk for 34 years! John’s excellence at remembering students’ names and genuine interest in their lives is invaluable.

Ruth Steinman, Assistant Librarian at Conrad Grebel, has worked with John for 31 years.

I have come to know John as a gentle, kind, and wonderful person and he has become a dear friend and colleague, [she said in a tribute at John’s retirement dinner.] John, your dedication to the library has been admirable. Your willingness to be flexible with your work schedule when we needed someone to cover the desk has been very much appreciated.

An avid reader, book collector, lover of a broad spectrum of music, movie
aficionado, and wonderful work colleague and friend, John’s presence will be missed at Grebel.

Milton Good stands facing west, surveying the future location of Conrad Grebel College. Photo courtesy of the Mennonite Archives of Ontario.

Distinguished mediator and teacher

By Fred Martin

Betty Pries receiving the Distinguished Alumna Service Award from Henry Paetkau.
The Alumni Committee of Conrad Grebel University College is pleased to present this year's Distinguished Alumni Service award to Betty Pries (Master of Theological Studies, 2005). Betty has been a mediator since 1993 and has been leading and designing workshops and training sessions on conflict resolution since that time. She is appreciated as a respected instructor in the Conflict Management Certificate Program which is part of Grebel’s Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies. In this program Betty teaches the core courses on “Understanding Conflict” in addition to courses for church leaders on change, discernment, vision and conflict. She is also a regular lecturer in Peace and Conflict Studies courses in Grebel’s undergraduate program.

She has worked as a consultant in a variety of congregational settings and is an active member and co-director of Associates Resourcing the Church (ARC). In this setting she has assisted congregations from various denominations in vision setting, managing conflict and training leaders in communication and conflict management. 

Her work has also included business and professional sectors and she has published in magazines and has authored several training manuals. She has led seminars at the Centre for Family Business, and has received her designation as a Chartered Mediator through Alternative Dispute Resolution Canada.

Sue Baker, who manages the Conflict Management Certificate Program, notes that Betty’s teaching is well received. Course evaluations consistently say:

She is an excellent teacher/facilitator, [and] she brings years of examples of practical experience in all types of mediation. [Others note appreciation for her] spiritual underpinnings.

As a student in the Master of Theological Studies program, Betty was known for combining heart and intellect in her theological reflection. Tom Yoder Neufeld, noted that:

She was a delight as a student, and a pleasure to work with as a colleague in the PACS Conflict Management program. [He adds,] what I find so impressive is the theological and biblical depth of understanding Betty brings to her field of expertise - able to integrate this for the benefit of the church, as well as in her teaching in the PACS certificate program.

Beyond her professional life, Betty and her husband Paul Fieguth (‘91)  are parents to three young children. They enjoy spending time on a farm property near Palmerston and are very involved in creating a sustainable lifestyle. They attend Waterloo North Mennonite Church and volunteer readily in a variety of programs there. Betty is a member of Mennonite Church Canada’s Faith and Life committee.

Visible expression

By Susan Baker

In July 1999, Grebel Now published a speech by Rick Russell delivered at the formal launch of the Conflict Management Certificate Program in May of that year. Since then the program has developed into a credible and highly sought after professional development opportunity, offering practical skills training in conflict management, facilitation, leadership skills, and mediation for individuals to incorporate into their business, church or personal lives. Currently offering several streams and almost 40 workshops per year, the program has hosted over 2700 individuals, and has over 200 graduates.

Betty Pries has been an instructor in the program since the early days, teaching both required workshops and electives. More recently, representing Associates Resourcing the Church, Betty has assisted with program development as a partner in the Conflict Management Congregational Leadership stream.

A recent article in the Canadian Mennonite (“Ministry at War” Vol. 15
No. 9) addressed the challenges of dealing with conflict within faith communities. The Congregational Leadership stream is a unique program addressing various aspects of church leadership – including conflict management in churches - with participation across denominations.

Quoting Rick Russell:

The Certificate Program in Conflict Management represents the visible expression in the marketplace of values and ideas that are rooted in Conrad Grebel’s traditions and values.

Based on current feedback, this remains a foundation of the Certificate Program as we strive to meet the vision of challenging both mind and spirit.


Composing a better world

Every year, Conrad Grebel’s Convocation service is a culmination of the college’s central values of faith, scholarship, service and community, and a celebration of the students, professors, and community who live out these values each day. Degrees are granted in the Master of Theological Studies program, and achievements of University of Waterloo undergraduates who have participated in Grebel life are recognized.

[According to Maya Angelou,] the purpose of an education is to compose a better world.

As the 2011 keynote speaker, President Henry Paetkau set the tone of the festive event with this quote, challenging students to take their education and use it to work towards a world that lives in hope.

Referring to Grebel’s 2009 commencement ceremony, Henry reminded the graduating students how they had been challenged to live out the college’s mission statement:

Together, words and notes find meaning that they would not have on their own. We need to become living words and sing together in harmony.

Giving examples of amazing and inspiring Grebel student-led projects that make the world a better place, Henry continued,

Your education has equipped you with powerful tools and resources. I challenge you to employ your gifts and passions to compose a better world.

Susan Taves, Board of Governors Chair elect, told students:

Your guidance and leadership will impact the college for many years to come.

She also spoke on Times, Locations, and Connections (TLC) that have formed students and will continue to build them in the future.

Peace and Conflict Studies graduate and valedictorian, Jessica Reesor Rempel, described some memorable moments for Grebel students - illustrating that there is no single Grebel story. There are Grebel stories - beautiful, challenging, variable, and diverse.

So many stories lie ahead of us, [she continued,] so much lies waiting for us. We must take action and find new communities to continue our stories.

MTS graduates 2011 - Steve Brnjas, Christina Edmiston, Kimberly Penner, Dana Honderich.
Nearly 60 undergraduates took the stage to be congratulated by Director of Student Services, Mary Brubaker-Zehr and President Paetkau. The students had participated in Grebel’s residence program or were receiving a degree in Music or Peace and Conflict Studies. Each graduate spoke
briefly about their next step in life. Their plans included further education, new jobs, voluntary service, marriage, and travel.

This year, Grebel’s thriving graduate Theological Studies program awarded
Master of Theological Studies degrees to five students. Christina Edmiston addressed her classmates on the topic of faith, specifically the fact that understanding never replaces faith. Likening her education experience with a once secluded garden that is now tended by an entire community, Christina thanked her professors for their:

Keen aptitude for cultivation [and reminded her classmates to remember that their education] is a labour of love. If we forget it, always go back to the root.

Congratulations to all our graduates and welcome to the Grebel alumni community!

Congratulations, Class of 2011! Rosalind Adams, Fatima Ahmed, Kelsey Ashley, Lauren Badiuk, Stephanie Barth, Andrew Birchall, Rosabeth Birky Koehn, Brittany Boilard, Arthur Bosua, Jamie Bragg, Alicia Brubacher, Katie Cowie, Chris Culy, Philip Cutmore, Adam De Sousa, Geoff Dijkema, James Dyck, James Dyck, Doug Epp, Heidi Friesen, Mark Funk, Rachel Groot, Katelyn Harrington, Dawn Hayes, Ian Hincks, Amy Hoefler, Miriam Hollinger-Janzen, Eric Hunsberger, Elena Kim, Brandon Koetsier, Vincent Kong, Isadora Lee, Kathleen Mahoney, Karl Mikelsons, Natasha Moes, Craig Nafziger, Laura Nichimura, Rudi Oballo’ker Okot, Kristen Ollies, Alysha Parkins, Joanna Pharazyn, Laura Proctor, Hannah Redekop, Thomas Jacob Redekopp, Jessica Reesor Rempel, Joelle Ritsema, Adrienne Schellenberg, Michael Shum, Mary Simmons, Kholiswa Stower, Michelle Van Rassel, Laura Wadsworth, Faith-Anne Wagler-Reale, Ashley Ward, Ben White, Zachary Wikerd, Caleb Yeung, Emily Zielman.


International note

By Laura Gray

Upon nomination from the Music Department at Conrad Grebel University College, Mr. Jean-Philippe Collard received a Doctor of Letters from the University of Waterloo during convocation on June 16, 2011.

Jean-Philippe Collard is a world-renowned French pianist and recording artist whose many performances and recordings have earned the highest accolades for their virtuosity, interpretive flair and ability to engage his audience. Born in France, Collard established a formidable international reputation at a very young age, winning many prestigious competitions and receiving invitations to perform with world-class orchestras. He has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including the Chevalier
of the Legion of Honour in 2003, the highest civilian honour in France, for his life-long devotion to the performance and promotion of French classical music.

Not only did Collard perform at the Waterloo Arts Convocation, but he was the guest of honour at a reception hosted by University of Waterloo President, Feridun Hamdullahpur. He also performed Chopin’s Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op.35 and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition at a recital in the evening at University of Waterloo’s Theatre of the Arts.

The honorary doctorate for such an internationally acclaimed pianist is a great coup for Grebel’s Music department and the college as a whole. It
highlights our unique program and enhances the profile of Music at Conrad Grebel.

Kgalagadi calls

By Carol Ann Weaver

Carol Ann Weaver looking at a herd of wilderbeast.
It was March 2011, and my husband, Lyle Friesen, and I had been in South Africa for two months, trekking throughout the stunningly beautiful, strikingly stark Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. A half-year sabbatical from Conrad Grebel had once more given me opportunity to locate in my favorite place on the planet — South Africa. On previous African trips I had been consumed with hearing and studying African music and with meeting and playing with local musicians. This trip portended something new.

For two months we had heard little ‘human’ music. But I had recorded hours of natural sounds from these wilderness areas. How to write this into music? 

Not until reaching the Drackensberg Mountains with its sublime vistas, almost undrivably steep roads, rare vultures, and roaming jackals and antelope, that a musical shape came into focus. There, the Kgalagadi desert began calling to me in oboes, pizzicato strings, frolicking bassoons, and horns. An orchestra piece was being born. This rich sonic landscape was having trouble translating itself into solo or small ensemble settings in my inner ear. I knew I needed a large body of players to bring forth a sense of the multiple sounds, the simultaneous rhythms and the ceaseless but frequently changing calls of literally hundreds of birds and insects, mammals and other living beings, not to mention the fierce and mighty wind, rain, thunder, and lightening, and the dry, searing heat.

Kgalagadi Calls follows a typical day in the desert, beginning with the gradual rising of the sun and calling of the early morning birds – first one, then many. As day advances, the Cape Turtle Doves create a major portion of the music, with constant but varying calls on different pitch levels and within two basic rhythms scored for woodwinds. In each case these calls are transcribed as accurately as possible, scoring exact pitches, rhythms and timbres whenever possible.

As we drove in the Kgalagadi, melodies would occur to me which seemed to rise up from the very soil. These, too, enter into the music as gifts from the African desert. The grief of the mother wildebeest who loses her new-born calf is expressed by a solo oboe, while the precise, careful, brilliant stalking of the cheetah brothers is played by twin bassoons. And as night settles in, the calming chorus of barking geckos fills the soundscape, presented here by pizzicato strings, and vaguely resembling the mesmerizing sound of Ontario crickets. This desert is never entirely quiet, yet its stillness resonates throughout the piece.

Carol Ann Weaver managed to compose this entire orchestral piece from scratch, in three weeks! David Plylar, the new music conductor for one of Africa’s leading orchestras, KwaZulu Natal Philharmonic Orchestra, agreed to give Kgalagadi Call a reading and allow for a professional recording of the performance, just days after the completion of the piece.

Peace and Conflict Studies

Katie Cowie and Maya Ewert

PACS Students Katie Cowie and Maya Ewert display their final project, an edible sculpture designed to portray key concepts about restorative justice.


“This peace doesn’t fit” project with the 2 students who created it.

“This peace doesn’t fit” project was designed by students to show the impact of peace being shattered and the challenges of its rebuilding.


These alternative assignments offered students a creative outlet to explore nontraditional methods of communication.

Picnic for peace

Participants of Picnic for Peace. Photo by Joshua Enns.
Joshua Enns, this term’s Peace Society leader, organized a “Picnic 4 Peace” outside the Student Life Centre at the university. He wanted to create a simple way of voicing important and relevant topics related to peace and justice to the larger Waterloo community.

Having recently taught overseas at Hope School in Beit Jala, Palestine as part of a practicum experience, Joshua was excited to focus the picnic on an issue that was related to his recent experience and learning. Held during the World Week for Peace in Palestine\Israel, this annual observance of a week of prayer, education, and advocacy calls participants to seek justice for Palestinians so that both Israelis and Palestinians can finally live in peace.

Centre for the Study of Religion and Peace (CSRP)

Dr. Norberto Quesda with Dr. Lowell Ewert.
The CSRP, established at Grebel in 2010, recently recieved a visit from Dr. Norberto Quesda (Pachy), President of one of 14 Cuban Seminaries, the Los Pinos Nuevos Seminary. In addition to being the guest speaker in the chapel, his visit included an informal noon hour conversation on the role of the church in society.

The centre also co-sponsored a public speech by Paul Heidebrecht (‘94) entitled “Pacifist Friendly Legislation in Canada; Can C-390, C-440, C-447 Contribute to a More Peaceful Society?” 

Peace Camp

The Peace and Conflict Studies Department at Grebel, in partnership with Interfaith Grand River and the House of Friendship at Sunnydale Community Centre, has kicked off its first ever Peace Camp aimed at youth aged 11-14 in the Region of Waterloo.

The possibilities for peace are endless when youth have a stake in the future of their world; indeed, childlike qualities – creativity, understanding, sharing – are the cornerstones of what humans need to get along and live amicably with each other, [says Devon Spier, Grebel’s Peace Camp Coordinator.]

Peace Camp advert. August 8-12, 2011.
Spier and a small staff team will work with a diverse group of junior youth and a line-up of guest speakers from a variety of peace groups to engage in collaborative peace games while exploring issues affecting communities around the world.

Participants will have a chance to share arts, crafts, drama, foods and games from their families, cultures, religions and countries, and will get a chance to formulate approaches to justice and peace that they can apply in all areas of their lives.

Registration fees for full-day (9:00 am - 4:00 pm) are $150.00 and half-day (9:00 am - 12:00 pm) are $65.00. A grant from Mennonite Savings and Credit Union helped make this event possible.


Reflections of a grateful colleague

By Tom Yoder Neufeld

Arnold Snyder and Tom Yoder Neufeld in the mid-1980s. Photo courtesy of the Mennonite Archives of Ontario.
I have had the great privilege of being one of Arnold’s colleagues for almost three decades. We came to Grebel at roughly the same time in the 80s, when Ralph Lebold as president and Rod Sawatsky as academic dean took a chance on us. For many years, our offices were next each other, our young families lived close by, and we were part of the same congregation. In fact we were often mistaken for each other. Thankfully, Chris Matsuda, who was administrative staff for both of us much of those years was able to keep us apart and firmly in our place. Ron Mathies, Director of Peace and Conflict Studies, whose office was right next to ours, patiently put up with our shenanigans. We have matured (or at least Arnold has!), ripened, and become more boring over the decades. In short, I cannot imagine my years at Grebel without gratitude for having been able to share them with Arnold as friend and colleague.

It is difficult to take full measure of the man. Arnold is, as is widely recognized, one of the leading scholars of Anabaptism in the world today. Arnold’s contribution to our understanding of Anabaptism goes far beyond his stellar publications (many articles and books; e.g., Anabaptist History and Theology: an Introduction, Following in the Footsteps of Christ: the Anabaptist Tradition) and expert teaching (he’s one of the few among us who have had a chili pepper (stands for “hot”) next to his name on the Rate My Professors website). Arnold has left an indelible mark on his students, whether undergraduates or graduate students. He has responded selflessly to invitations from local congregations for teaching and preaching. More, through Arnold’s writing for Mennonite World Conference (e.g., From Anabaptist Seed, translated into many languages) and his editing of the multi-volume Mennonite World Conference Global Mennonite History project, Arnold has made and will continue to make a singular contribution to the global Anabaptist church community.

As his colleagues, we are not only proud of Arnold, but we are in his debt, together with countless fellow Mennonites around the world. We wish Arnold every blessing on his retirement.

Conrad Grebel's 7th president

Susan Schultz Huxman chats with Dona Harbey and Bill Klassen at the President's Reception. Bill was once a roommate of her father's, Harold Schultz.
Conrad Grebel University College is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Susan Schultz Huxman as its seventh president, beginning July 1, 2011. Dr. Huxman is completing her seventh year as the director of the Elliott School of Communication at Wichita State University (WSU) in Kansas. She has held various administrative roles at WSU since 1990, balancing these responsibilities with her passion for teaching.

Dr. Huxman has won numerous awards and recognition for her teaching while at WSU. She continues to teach and mentor students in writing, speaking, and research-intensive courses. As an active scholar in the field of rhetoric, media literacy, and corporate communication, Dr. Huxman has published two dozen scholarly articles and book chapters. She is co-author with Karlyn Kohrs Campbell of The Rhetorical Act: Thinking, Speaking, and Writing Critically, 4th ed. (2009). Dr. Huxman’s dissertation: In the world but not of it: Mennonite rhetoric in World War I as an enactment of paradox has inspired several publications including a book in progress entitled, Landmark Speeches in U.S. Pacifism.

I am delighted to serve Conrad Grebel where there is a clear connection between a world-class public university and Mennonite education, [says Huxman.] The Grebel academic model is forward-thinking and attractive. Opportunities for specialization combined with an Anabaptist faith overlay is the best of both worlds’ that students today are seeking. The mandate of the 7th president, [Deb Simpson, chair of the Presidential Search Committee notes,] is to provide inspired leadership at a pivotal time in Conrad Grebel’s history. Dr. Huxman has the vision, skills, gifts, and experience to lead Conrad Grebel into an exciting and bold future grounded in its historical traditions and strong Anabaptist values and faith principles. We are delighted with her appointment.


New book interprets church apologies

In recent years, churches have repented for historical wrongs. In his new book, Ecclesial Repentance: The Churches Confront Their Sinful Pasts, Jeremy M. Bergen tells the story of these apologies and analyzes the theological issues they raise about the nature and mission of the church.

In a context in which churches, as well as national governments, are increasingly offering public apologies for past acts of injustice and failure, this book represents an important contribution, [writes Christopher Craig Brittain of the University of Aberdeen.] Rather than seeing ecclesial repentance as undermining the church’s reputation, or functioning as a self-serving public relations strategy, Bergen offers a theological account of how they help the church be faithful to its mission. The result is a sensitive reflection on the complexities and perils of public apologies, as well as a thoughtful appreciation for their potential to facilitate the healing of past wounds.

Margaret Pfeil of the University of Notre Dame, says:

With grace, courage, and a discerning spirit, Jeremy Bergen offers an account of ecclesial repentance worthy of a pilgrim people, a church at once reconciled and always on the journey toward full reconciliation. Christian communities would do well to use this volume in a process of communal examination of conscience.

Ecclesial Repentance: The Churches Confront Their Sinful Pasts book cover
In November 2010, Bergen gave a paper entitled Lutheran–Mennonite Reconciliation in Stuttgart as an Instance of Ecclesial Repentance at a conference at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary. At this conference, called “Confessing in Faith: Healing Between Lutherans and Mennonites”, Bergen situated the Lutheran repentance for the persecution of 16th Century Anabaptists within a larger framework of church apologies in recent decades. Doing so allowed him to raise some critical questions about what such repentance means, and how Mennonites and Lutherans might express a new relationship.

Ecclesial Repentance is published by Continuum/T&T Clark and is widely available.

Upholdoing the history

Continuing the college’s prominent role in sixteenth century Anabaptism and Mennonite history, Dr. Troy Osborne has been appointed as assistant professor of History at Conrad Grebel University College, beginning July 1, 2011. He comes to Grebel from Bluffton University in Ohio where he has taught for the past three years.

Troy OsborneThe college has a reputation for scholarly excellence in Anabaptist studies, [notes Osborne,] and I hope to continue the tradition of producing scholarship that contributes to both the historical discipline and the identity and life of the church. What makes Grebel an exciting place to work is the way its faculty contribute to their denominational communities while they pursue rigorous scholarly agendas.

Professor Osborne is a historian whose research and teaching interests center generally on Mennonite history and the Reformation and particularly on the development of the Dutch Anabaptist tradition.

We are confident that Troy Osborne will be a great asset to Grebel, to the University of Waterloo, and to those interested in Anabaptist Mennonite history. His knowledge and expertise will continue the tradition of excellent scholarship established by Klaassen, Packull and Snyder. His creative teaching will bring fresh perspectives to the classroom and his friendly, approachable demeanor will enhance student-faculty rapport, [states Jim Pankratz, Academic Dean.] We look forward to welcoming Troy, his wife Emma, and their two young daughters to our community.


Caden John and Jared
Jeff (‘04) and Jenny-Lee (Bowman) (‘04) Dippel welcomed their second son, Caden John, on May 22, 2011. Big brother Jared is excited to have a new playmate! Jeff, Jenny-Lee and their boys live in Waterloo, where Jeff is employed at Research In Motion (RIM) and Jenny-Lee is a teacher with the Waterloo Region District School Board.

William Lucas
Mike (‘05) and Jen (‘05) Chase had a son, William Lucas, born February 28, 2011 in the car on the way to the hospital. Everyone is doing well and enjoying life in Newmarket, where Jen and Mike have lived since 2007. Mike works as a software developer for Open Text in Richmond Hill, and Jen is on mat leave from her job in web marketing at The Leprosy Mission Canada.

Charlotte Jacklein (’03) competed in the Yukon River Quest to raise awareness and fundraise for Outward Bound’s Women of Courage programs. The Yukon River Quest is one of the biggest long distance canoe races in the world, covering 740 km from Whitehorse to Dawson City along the Yukon River. Charlotte’s voyageur canoe team had complete the distance in 72 hrs or less, paddling non-stop for 3 days! Charlotte has previously worked as a wilderness river guide in the Yukon and elsewhere.

Rachel Jana and Naomi
Mike (‘04) and Megan (Robertson) Steinmann (‘04) welcomed Rachel Jana into their family on May 18, 2011. Big sister Naomi (2) loves to help take care of Rachel -- except in the middle of the night. According to Naomi, Mike “counts and emails” at work (he’s working as an accountant at the Centre in the Square). Megan is on maternity leave from her job as a teacher in the Waterloo Region District School Board.

Durrell Bowman
Durrell Bowman (‘89) studied Musicology at U of T (MA 1991) and UCLA (PhD 2003). His dissertation explored the cultural and ideological work inscribed in the music of the Canadian, progressive/hard rock band Rush, and he recently co-edited and contributed three chapters to Rush and Philosophy (2011). Durrell also writes about film & TV music and presents a wide variety of conference papers. In 2009-10, he studied and worked in software development at Conestoga College and is now working on a project to combine musicology with software development. Visit Durrell Bowman's website.

Logan Matthew, Ben and Elizabeth Willard
At the beginning of the 2011 winter term, the campus hosts’ apartment became a little bit cozier with the arrival of Logan Matthew, born January 4, 2011 to Ben (‘10) and Elizabeth Willard (‘08). Logan settled into life at Grebel quickly and enjoyed all the attention from the staff and students! More recently, Ben and Liz’s three years as the campus hosts ended and they are now adjusting to a quieter life in their new house in Waterloo. They are looking forward to this next journey, but already miss the community!

Jon, Kristen Hines, and Jeremiah Jonathan
On December 31, 2010 Jon (‘06) and Kristen Hines (‘07) were thrilled to welcome Jeremiah Jonathan into the world. He is a very sweet and happy little boy with the most amazing smile. Kristen is enjoying her time at home with Jeremiah while on mat. leave from Mennonite World Conference where she is administrative assistant. Jonathan is keeping busy at his new software job at ClevrU in Waterloo.

Kholiswa Neufeld, Simon Stower, Dave, and Maggie Neufeld
Kholiswa Neufeld (‘11) and husband Simon Stower are heading to Manitoba to take over the family farm for a year while parents Dave (‘83) and Maggie Neufeld (‘83) backpack through Eastern Europe for several months. During this time, Kholi and her husband hope to find careers for themselves in their beautiful small town, Kholi hoping to find a way to work creatively with the youth in the local school.

Jayme (’97) and Meredyth (Babyk) (’96) Campbell live in Virgil, Ontario, with their two boys, Cole (6) and Finnegan (2). Jayme works for the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority. Meredyth enjoys time at home with Finn and supply teaching for the District School Board of Niagara.

Amy Waller (‘07) returned to Grebel to give a noon-hour recital as well as a master class. Amy is completing her Doctor of Music in Vocal Performance at Indiana University, one of the biggest and most prestigious music schools in the US.

Hannah Marie
Dave (‘03) and Gena Braun (‘03) are thrilled to welcome their first daughter, Hannah Marie, born January 26, 2011. Gena is on maternity leave from her job at Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU) and Dave is working at Enermodal as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building consultant.

Erin (Zehr) and Feipe Gonzalia
Grebel’s new campus hosts, Erin (Zehr) and Felipe Gonzalia, moved in just a week after they got married! Erin is a student at WLU studying concurrent education and Felipe is pursuing a BA in Communication Studies at WLU. Both will be entering their final undergraduate year in Fall 2011. Felipe was a group leader in Mennonite Central Committee’s Enlace program and has also been employed as a personal support worker with Extend-A-Family and as a L.I.F.E. leader with WLU’s Laurier International program helping new foreign students get oriented to the university. Erin worked in Stratford as a nurses’ aide at Greenwood Court and as a respite worker at the Rotary Respite House. They are both outgoing and personable and will represent Grebel very well!


Campaign update

Since the launch of the public phase of The Next Chapter campaign on May 6th, over $100,000 in donations have been received, bringing the total to $3,113,662. This represents 84% of the $3.7 million fundraising goal.

In spite of sporadic mail service, donations are coming in, [noted Development Director Fred Martin.] We are equipped to received credit card donations and pledges through the University of Waterloo website for this campaign so we do encourage people to visit our website and follow the links.

It is gratifying to see the support for renewing the archives,

observed Laureen Harder-Gissing. She has made several public presentations entitled “Stories from the Mennonite Box,” highlighting artifacts and stories from various communities in Ontario. The next presentation will be in Toronto on September 21.

In related news, a group of volunteers is coordinating fundraising efforts to name the archive reading room in honour of Lorraine Roth, who focused her volunteer research efforts on the Amish and Mennonite settlements west of Waterloo. 

For updates and information, contact Fred Martin or visit The Next Chapter campaign.

Mennonite Heritage Dinner​

Marlene Epp, Walter and Marina Unger, with Henry Paetkau.
A “Mennonite Heritage Dinner” celebrating Walter and Marina Unger’s Heritage Cruises in Ukraine was held in June. The proceeds of this entertaining evening supported the capital expansion of the Mennonite Archives of Ontario.

Archivist ho​noured

Lorna (Shantz) Bergey
Lorna (Shantz) Bergey (1921-2009) was a tireless researcher, prolific writer and passionate advocate for Mennonite history in Ontario. She was a founding member of the Mennonite Historical Society of Ontario and actively involved in the Pennsylvania German Folklore Society of Ontario, serving on the executives of both societies. She also served as secretary of the Mennonite Bicentennial Commission and was historian for the Mennonite Conference of Ontario for many years. Lorna played an instrumental role in finding a home for the Mennonite Archives of Ontario at Conrad Grebel in 1965, and acted as its first archivist in this facility from 1965-1974.

The Finance and Development Committee of the board heartily endorsed the naming of the Lorna Bergey Archivist Office at its June 7th meeting. Already family and friends have donated $46,000 toward a goal of $50,000 to construct this office space in the new facility. 

Grebel Now is Conrad Grebel University College’s tri-annual newsletter. Editor: Jennifer Konkle. Send all comments, submissions & ideas to:

Grebel Now
Conrad Grebel University College
140 Westmount Road North
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G6

Phone: 519-885-0220 x24229

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