Conrad Grebel University College

Classification scheme: 

Title: Conrad Grebel University College fonds

Dates of creation: 1959-
Note:  Further accruals are expected

Physical description: 25 m of textual records

Administrative history: In March 1959 the K-W Inter-Mennonite Ministers' Fellowship, then led by John W. Snyder, Harvey Taves and Jacob J. Toews, planned a panel discussion on "Possible kinds of cooperation in higher education. Frank Peters chaired the panel that included Norman High, John C. Sawatsky and Arthur Sherk.

A new leadership group of the Inter-Mennonite Ministers' Fellowship was elected at the same meeting -- Harvey Taves, Henry H. Epp and Ross Bender. In about a month the new committee had prepared a lengthy report on "Mennonites and Higher Education at University of Waterloo." This became the basis for further discussion that resulted in Conrad Grebel College.

A Provisional Board was organized on June 20, 1960. The Executive Committee was composed of Norman High (chair), Henry H. Epp (vice-chair), Henry H. Dueck (secretary), and members Orland Gingerich, Harold Nigh and Milton R. Good. The Executive Secretary was John W. Snyder. The original planning group included representatives from the Brethren in Christ Conference of Canada, the Mennonite Brethren Conference of Ontario, the Mennonite Conference of Ontario, the Ontario Amish Mennonite Conference, the United Mennonite Conference of Ontario and the then independent Stirling Ave. Mennonite Church.

On April 21, 1961 a provincial charter was granted under the name of Conrad Grebel College. On October 14, 1961 the Board of Governors was formally organized. The Executive Committee was Milton R. Good (chair), Henry H. Epp (vice-chair), John W. Snyder (secretary-treasurer) and members H.H. Dueck, Orland Gingerich and Harold Nigh. On December 15, 1961 an formal affiliation agreement with the University of Waterloo was executed. During 1962 both the Brethren in Christ and the Mennonite Brethren withdrew from the board and active participation in the project. These steps were formally acknowledged at the July 23, 1962 annual meeting of the College Board.

Conrad Grebel University College is one of four denominationally-related Colleges related to the University of Waterloo (the others are St. Jerome's (Catholic), Renison (Anglican) and St. Paul's (United Church of Canada)). As an affiliated college Conrad Grebel University College's undergraduate students are registered at, and receive their degrees from, the University of Waterloo. Courses taught at the College are approved by the University. Faculty members at the College are also part of academic departments at the University, though hiring, continuing contract and promotions decisions are finally made at the College. In addition to the Music and Peace and Conflict Studies programs that emerged at the College in the 1970s, CGC faculty have taught as part of the Religious Studies, History, Philosophy, Sociology and English departments.

J. Winfield Fretz (1963-1979) was named the first President and undertook his duties on July 1, 1963. The residence building opened in September 1964, with a dedication service held October 25, 1964. The second faculty member and chaplain, Walter Klaassen (1964-1991) came in 1964. Helen Martens (1965-1993) was the third faculty member. Other persons who became full time faculty or administrators during Fretz's tenure included John W. Miller (1969-1992), Donovan E. Smucker (1970-1981), Boyd Snider (Dean of Students, 1970/71), John E. Toews (1970-1973, 1996-), John & Ann Kampen (Co-Directors of Student Affairs, 1971-1973) and Frank H. Epp (1971-1986).

Frank H. Epp became the second President of Conrad Grebel College on August 1, 1973. During his tenure the Music Department was established, as were the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies and the Institute of Anabaptist Mennonite Studies. The Peace and Conflict Studies program was approved in 1977. Full time faculty or administrators who joined the College included William Janzen (1973-1976), John Rempel (1973-1989), Ruby Weber (1973-1980), Rodney J. Sawatsky (1974-1994), Sam Steiner (1974-), Conrad Brunk (1976-2001), Len Enns (1977-), Wilbur Maust (1977-1996), and Cal Redekop (1979-1990). A new academic building was opened in 1976.

Ralph Lebold (1979-1989) became the third President of Conrad Grebel College on July 1, 1979. Full time faculty and administrators who joined the College included Ken Hull (1981-), Nelson Scheifele (1981-1993), Werner Packull (1983-2003), A. James Reimer (1983-), David Huron (1983-1997), Thomas Yoder Neufeld (1983-), Gloria Eby (1984-1995), Arnold Snyder (1985-), Carol Ann Weaver (1985-), Ronald J.R. Mathies (1986-1996), Hildi Froese Tiessen (1987-), Leonard Friesen (1988-1995) and E. Paul Penner (1988-). During Lebold's administration the College obtained a new "Act Concerning Conrad Grebel College" that authorized it to grant graduate degrees in theological studies (royal assent was granted in January 1988). The Graduate Theological Studies Program began in the fall of 1987.

Rodney J. Sawatsky became President on July 1, 1989. Full time faculty and administrators who joined the College included John Fast (1990-1998) and Ron Sawatsky (1993-1995). A major renovation and addition to the residence building was completed in 1992.

Ernie Regehr became Interim President in May 1994 when Rodney Sawatsky left to become President of Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania. Regehr served through July of 1995. Hildi Froese Tiessen served as Acting President the remaining months of 1995.

John E. Toews returned to the College as President in January, 1996. Full time faculty and administrators who joined the College included Mary Brubaker-Zehr (1996-), Lowell Ewert (1997-), Laura Gray (1998-), Ed Janzen (1999-), Marlene Epp (2000-) and Larissa Fast (2002-2004). During his presidency a residence expansion, apartment building and construction of an atrium connected the Residence and Academic Building was undertaken. The College's name was changed to Conrad Grebel University College in June 2001.

Henry Paetkau became President on January 1, 2003. During his presidency the major addition of the atrium and additional residence space were completed. The PACS program was approved as a degree program at the University of Waterloo. Full time faculty and Administrators who joined the College included Nathan Funk (2004-), Jim Pankratz (2006-) and Derek Suderman (2006-)

Custodial history: Periodic transfers have been made to the Mennonite Archives of Ontario

Notes: Original description created March 2000 by Sam Steiner.
For oral history interviews related to the College see Hist.Mss.22.  Use of these interviews is restricted.
For sound recordings see Hist.Mss.9.
For audiovisual recordings see Hist.Mss.26.

File list:

Series 1: Promotion and Publicity

  1. Sub-Series: Press Releases
  2. Sub-Series: Calendars
  3. Sub-Series: Clippings
  4. Sub-Series: Communications Coordinator

Series 2: Board of Governors

  1. Sub-Series: Annual Reports
  2. Sub-Series: Minutes and Correspondence
    1. Misc. Correspondence and Minutes
    2. Minutes
  3. Sub-Series: Financial Records
    1. 1959-1979 -5-
  4. Sub-Series: Academic Affairs Committee
  5. Sub-Series: Student Services Committee
  6. Sub-Series: Board of Governors Executive Committee
  7. Sub-Series: Building Committee(s)
    1. 1963-1979
    2. Building Committee, 1987-1992
    3. Building Committee, 1960-1971
    4. Building on the Vision Campaign, 1990-1992
    5. Furnishing & Decorating Committee, 1990-1992
    6. Building project, 1999-2003
    7. Academic Building Expansion, 2014
    8. Dining Hall Expansion and New Kitchen, 2018-2021
  8. Sub-Series: Bylaws
  9. Sub-Series: Development Committee
  10. Sub-Series: Finance Committee
  11. Sub-Series: Personnel Committee (confidential)

  12. Sub-series: Presidential Search Committee (confidential)

  13. Sub-series: Board Orientation

Series 3: Presidents Files

  1. Sub-Series: J. Winfield Fretz (1963-1973)
  2. Sub-Series: Frank H. Epp (1973-1979)
  3. Sub-Series: Ralph Lebold (1979-1989)
  4. Sub-Series: Rodney Sawatsky (1989-1994) (Files from previous presidencies that were maintained during the Sawatsky years are also filed here)
  5. Sub-Series: Ernie Regehr (Interim) (1994-1995)
  6. Sub-Series: Hildi Froese Tiessen (Interim) (1995)

    Regehr's and Froese Tiessen’s Presidential files are included within the Rodney Sawatsky Presidential files, since they continued to use the same filing system
  7. Sub-Series: John E. Toews (1996-2002)
  8. Sub-Series: Henry Paetkau (2003-2011)
  9. Sub-Series: Susan Schultz Huxman (2011-2016)
  10. Marcus Shantz (2017- )

Series 4: Faculty

  1. Sub-Series: Vocational Counselling, 1966
  2. Sub-Series: Conrad Grebel Review
  3. Sub-Series: Faculty Council
    1. Faculty Council minutes

Series 5: Students

  1. Sub-Series: Student directories
  2. Sub-Series: Student activities
  3. Sub-Series: Student Government (Co-ordinating Committee)
  4. Sub-Series: Peace Society

Series 6: Music-Lecture Series

Series 7: Seminars/Lectures

Series 8: Library

Series 9: Archives

Series 10: Administration

  1. Sub-Series: Early Administrative Records
  2. Sub-Series: Event Scheduling Books
  3. Sub-Series: Director of Student Affairs/Dean of Students
  4. Sub-Series: Director of Business Affairs/Vice-President, Administration
  5. Sub-Series: CGC Bulletin
  6. Sub-Series: Director of Academic Affairs/Academic Dean (Moved to Series 20)
  7. Sub-Series: Chaplain (1964-1989)(Primarily John Rempel files)
    (After 1989 moved to Series 21)
  8. Sub-Series: Administrative Team/Administrative Executive/Management Committee
  9. Sub-Series: Former Employee Personnel Files / Search Committees (RESTRICTED) 
  10. Sub-Series: Staff Association/Support Staff

  11. Sub-Series: Development Office

  12. Sub-Series: Food Services

Series 11: Institute of Anabaptist and Mennonite Studies

Series 12: Miscellaneous CGC Sponsored Events

Series 13: College Council

Series 14: School of Adult Studies/Community Education Program

Series 15: Inter-Mennonite Children’s Choir

Series 16: Women’s Association

Series 17: Alumni Association

Series 18: Graduate Theological Studies Programme

  1. Sub-Series: Logbooks
  2. Sub-Series: Formal Records
  3. Sub-Series: Press Releases
  4. Sub-Series: Calendars
  5. Sub-Series: Student Records (Confidential)
  6. Sub-Series: Cognate Essays
  7. Sub-series: Course Outlines

Series 19: Master of Arts in Religious Studies Programme

  1. Sub-Series: Proposed Programme

Series 20: Director of Academic Affairs/Academic Dean

  1. Sub-Series: John E. Toews, 1971-1973 (Director of Studies)
  2. Sub-Series: Rod J. Sawatsky, 1974-1989
    1. Committees
    2. Courses
    3. Faculty (CONFIDENTIAL)
    4. Finances
    5. Miscellaneous
  3. Sub-Series: Hildi Froese Tiessen, 1989-1999
  4. Sub-Series: Conrad Brunk, 1999-2001
  5. Sub-Series: Marlene Epp, 2002-2005
  6. Sub-Series: James Pankratz, 2006-2014
  7. Sub-Series: Trevor Bechtel, 2014-2016
  8. Sub-Series: Marlene Epp, 2016-2018
  9. Sub-series: Troy Osborne, 2019-

Series 21: Chaplain (1989-)

Series 22: Music Department

Series 23: Peace and Conflict Studies Program

Series 24: Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies

Series 25: Frank H. Epp Memorial Endowment Fund

Series 26: Realia

Series 27: Conrad Grebel University College Art Collection

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Generally 8:30-4:30 Monday to Friday. An appointment in advance is recommended.


Mennonite Archives of Ontario
Conrad Grebel University College
140 Westmount Road North
Waterloo, ON N2L 3G6

Phone: 519-885-0220 x24238