In a year of navigating new and changing protocols, Redeemer University is facing another change. President Robert Graham announced his resignation from the Ancaster, Ont., institution last month. It’s effective May 1. Ongoing health concerns and difficulties in visiting his family, who live in the United States, because of pandemic travel restrictions and quarantine protocols were key factors in his decision to step down. Graham was appointed to the job in 2018.
Redeemer’s board of directors appointed David Zietsma, the university’s provost and vice president of academics, as interim president. Zietsma has been a professor at Redeemer since 2007 and has been part of the leadership team since 2010.
“I have confidence that Zietsma, the rest of the leadership team, and board at Redeemer are in a good place and that the good work is going to continue and increase,” Graham said. That "good work" includes Redeemer's addressing affordability and sustainability by restructuring tuition and offering new degree options. Graham practiced collaborative leadership that Zietsma has been close to. “It’s been all of us together, agreeing. The whole leadership team has been involved in making this happen,” Graham said. “Dr. Zietsma did a lot of the legwork. It’s one of the reasons the board has such confidence that this institution will be able to continue with the projects it has started.”.
Zietsma said the transition of leadership was not something they would have wanted at this time, but he understands that Graham is doing what is best for his health and his family. Graham plans to return to the United States.
“We are really compelled about our mission of delivering a university education from a Reformed Christian worldview,” Zietsma said. “That has not changed, and we are trying to do that more effectively and efficiently with program options that students are looking for.”
Graham said he’s grateful for the welcome and support he has received while at Redeemer. “I could not ask for a more supportive campus and community. I've really enjoyed the opportunity during my three years to visit various Christian Reformed churches,” he said. “Redeemer could not be the place that it is without the support of the Christian Reformed churches. We deeply, deeply appreciate that, and I’ve been blessed by their support.”