Renison Celebrates Hybrid-style Founders' Day

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Just a few days ago, on Thursday, April 28, Renison celebrated Founders’ Day for the first time since 2019. Typically an in-person celebration, this event brings together Renison’s staff, faculty, students, donors and alumni to celebrate our shared values and to bestow honours on certain members of our community who embody these values. In recognition of current health precautions, this year’s event was held in a hybrid format with thirty guests celebrating in-person and another hundred joining online.Four people standing in a room. Each is wearing a mask and listening to one person. In the background you can see the podium and Founders Day sign.

Photo: Pictured (left to right) is Tanya Missere-Mihas, VP Student Affairs and Community Education; Alexis Westerhof, Renison IST; Kristiina Montero, VP Academic and Dean; Reverend Scott McLeod, renison Chaplain; Wendy L. Fletcher, Renison President and Vice Chancellor. The group meets prior to the event for last minute details.

Renison’s President, Dr. Wendy L. Fletcher, opened the evening with a Land Acknowledgement in which she reflected on the decolonizing lens that Renison applies to its teaching, its relationships, and its work. She also acknowledged a significant undertaking that the College is embracing at the invitation of the Board of Governors: To explore our traditional and historic relationship with the Anglican Church; To interrogate the legacy of Renison’s name; To shape our story as we move towards our 7th year; and To examine our commitment to Reconciliation and what that looks like.

Serving as emcee for the evening was Renison’s new Chaplain, Reverend Scott McLeod, who kept the proceedings moving on schedule. Highlights of the evening included a keynote address delivered by Dr. Nel Wieman. Dr. Wieman is the Chief Medical Officer of Health for First Nations British Columbia and a celebrated University of Waterloo alumna. The evening also included the presentation of several Renison honours, including a new honorary designation known as Young Alumni.

Former Chaplain, Megan Collings-Moore and the former Director of the Renision Institute of Ministry, Mailyn Malton, both of whom retired this past summer, were named Honorary Members of the College. The Young Alumni designation recognized four former students: Meti and Massi Basiri, Veen Wong and Rebekah Churchyard. Each of these honorees embody the motto of Renison, One Sky Over All, and have committed time and effort to improving the lives of others.

Awards and certificates are displayed on a table.

Photo: The awards and certificates for Renison Honourees were displayed at the event. 

The evening concluded with a closing prayer delivered by the fourteenth Bishop of the Diocese of Huron of the Anglican Church of Canada, the Right Reverend Todd Townshend, pictured below. Bishop Townshend, himself an alumnus of the University of Waterloo and former resident of Renison, acknowledged the role that the Anglican Church has in the road to truth and reconciliation.

Bishop Townshend standing behind a podium. Behind him is a sign that reads 'Founders Day'

Photo: Bishop Todd Townshend concluded the event with a closing prayer. 

The event was sponsored by Paul Grespan and Associates, and featured an online auction to raise funds for Renison’s Students First appeal. Students First is a major fundraising initiative with a goal of raising $400,000 over two years towards student scholarships, awards and bursaries. There were over 20 auction items from local suppliers and businesses including the K/W Symphony, Words Worth Books, the National Ballet, Wellington Brewery, Lost Aviator Coffee, and many more. Including auction proceeds and donations from the night of the event, Founders’ Day raised over $6,500 for Students First.   

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