Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ontario, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.
The school opened its doors in September 1982 to 97 students. Today it has nearly ten times that number of students from 49 denominations and 20 countries.
At the opening convocation on September 5, Redeemer presidents past and present participated, as did David Sweet, the area’s Member of Parliament.
Rev. Henry DeBolster, Redeemer’s first president (1982-1994), remembered some of the challenges and difficulties Redeemer faced in the early years as they worked to establish a Christian university, stepping out in faith in an environment of great opposition from both the government and neighboring secular universities.
DeBolster added that things grew faster and bigger than anyone ever could have imagined.
“We managed rather quickly to become acknowledged as an undergraduate institution, and for that we give God all the glory—for his help and his answered prayers,” DeBolster said. Despite the difficulties, he added, those early accomplishments were very exciting.
“I cannot believe that Redeemer has grown to become what it is today,” he said. “Still the original principles are there, and are being lived out.”
Current president Hubert Krygsman agreed that although much has changed and growth has occurred beyond what was hoped for, the important things have remained the same.
“We remain very strongly committed to a holistic, biblical perspective, viewing all things under the lordship of Christ. Redeemer would not exist without this central driving force,” Krygsman stated.
He noted that in addition to the amazing growth in student enrolment, another significant achievement has been the story of how God has opened up hearts to allow Redeemer to be granted authority by the less-than-sympathetic Ontario government to grant Bachelor of Education degrees.
Looking ahead, the Board of Governors hopes to see continued growth, to build on the existing Reformed perspective, and to find ways to hold on to the strong sense of community Redeemer is known for.
“God has been faithful and has blessed us beyond what we could imagine,” commented Krygsman. “But who would’ve expected anything less?”