Grebel names New President

Friday, May 12, 2017

Marcus Shantz

Marcus Shantz will serve as Conrad Grebel University College’s eighth president, taking office October 1, 2017. The Board of Governors, in making this announcement, cited Shantz’s outstanding leadership skills, his significant contributions to local business and arts organizations, his engagement in the local and global church, and his first-hand knowledge of Grebel and its stakeholders. The board highlighted his understanding, respect, and support for higher education, as well as his creativity and integrity.

Like the local Mennonite church and business leaders who founded Grebel more than 50 years ago, Shantz embodies a vision for an innovative partnership between the College, the University of Waterloo, the Mennonite church, and the local community. “Marcus is a strong supporter of the College’s unique identity and mission,” affirmed Fred Redekop, Board of Governors chair. “His business and administrative experience and his background in law have equipped him to lead strategically, fiscally, and creatively into the next decade. Marcus has a remarkable capacity for insightful inquiry and for developing collaborative partnerships. He will provide strong leadership as the next president of Conrad Grebel University College.”

Shantz is a well-respected leader in the Region of Waterloo in his current role as president of Mercedes Corp., a property management company based in St. Jacobs, Ontario. As a civic leader, Shantz has been board chair of Centre-in-the-Square and Silver Lake Mennonite Camp, and has served on the boards of Ten Thousand Villages and Conrad Grebel University College.  He has held leadership roles at Rockway Mennonite Church and Mennonite World Conference. 

After completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religious Studies and History with a Peace and Conflict Studies minor at Waterloo, Shantz received a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and then practiced law. As an alumnus of Grebel and the University of Waterloo, Shantz has a deep understanding and appreciation for Grebel’s contributions and potential. Noting the “immeasurable importance” of his time as a Grebel student in both the academic and residence programs, Shantz expressed a strong commitment to ensure that the College flourishes. “The thing I value most about my student experience was the support and mentorship I received. Being a Grebel student meant that there was a whole team of faculty and staff interested in my well-being and development – not only in academics, but as a whole person. Authentic student support is a big part of Grebel’s culture, and I want that culture to thrive on my watch.”

“Grebel is not a large institution, but it has a far-reaching influence on the Mennonite community, the University of Waterloo, and its other partners. Grebel’s contribution to both church and society is out of proportion to its size. I am drawn to Grebel because it is significant,” reflected Shantz. “I am impressed by the quality of teaching and research among the current faculty at Grebel. I want to explore new ways to build on their work and to expand its impact. I’m thrilled to become part of a workplace where the daily business is to support students and faculty as they explore and reassess peace and conflict, history, Mennonite Studies, music, theology, and religion. Grebel has a legacy of rigorous and innovative scholars whose impact on their students, academic disciplines, the Mennonite community, and the wider society has been important.”

The eighth President will lead Grebel to fulfill the vision of the current strategic plan, “Extending the Grebel Table.” The priorities are to engage Grebel’s growing constituencies, enhance campus facilities, elevate and expand distinctive programs, enrich and empower faculty, staff, and partners, and advance the core relationships of the College with the University of Waterloo and its affiliated institutions and the Mennonite church. The President will ensure that residential and academic programs and the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement achieve their potential through inter-disciplinary and inter-institutional collaboration.  

Jim Pankratz has served as Grebel’s Interim President since October 2016. Susan Schultz Huxman preceded him, serving as President for 5 years.

As a college affiliated with the University of Waterloo and founded by the Mennonite community, Grebel’s mission is to seek wisdom, nurture faith, and pursue justice and peace in service to church and society.

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