EYE WITNESS THE MAGAZINE OF PROVIDENCE
SERVING IN GOVERNMENT An interview with Paul Oleniuk: Writer for the Conservative Party of Canada pg. 9
RESEARCHING ANTI-RACISM IN MANITOBA
Prov MA grad is working on a project funded through Canada Heritage to raise public awareness about racial inequities and injustices pg. 14
GOD IS DOING A NEW THING
A post-pandemic devotional by Tim Callaway pg. 31
BATON A Presidential Transition pg. 22
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EYE WITNESS 2021 EDITION Publication Mail Sales Agreement No. 40010809 | EYE WITNESS is published once annually. Editor: Kathryn Mulolani, Director of Marketing Co-Editor: Samantha Groenendijk, Vice President External Relations Photographer: Lauren Ritchie, Visual Media Coordinator Designer: Chez Koop Printer: Derksen Printers Ltd.
Contributors Kenton Anderson, Tim Callaway, Samantha Groenendijk, David Johnson, Michelle Lam, Kathryn Mulolani, and Grace Sandulak.
PROVIDENCE | 10 College Crescent, Otterburne, MB, R0A 1G0 | Prov.ca | 1-800-668-7768 2 | EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca
EYE WITNESS INSIDE
05 07 09
THE NEXT CHAPTER
RESEARCHING ANTIRACISM IN MANITOBA
ARTWORK ON DISPLAY AT PROVIDENCE
PASSING THE BATON
PROVIDENCE CRUSHED FUNDRAISING GOAL
A message from the Editor
GOD’S TIMING AND PURPOSES A message from the President
SERVING IN GOVERNMENT An interview with Paul Oleniuk: Writer for the Conservative Party of Canada
NEW PARTNERSHIP WITH THE TOWN OF NIVERVILLE
Former Providence President, David Johnson, Hands Over Presidency to Kenton Anderson
for Impact 2020 Campaign
31 34 43
GOD IS DOING A NEW THING ALUMNI UPDATES CHANGE A message from the VP External Relations
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THE NEXT CHAPTER A MESSAGE FROM THE EDITOR
“Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…” — Hebrews 12:1b-2
Every year, we set a theme for our Eye Witness magazine. At Providence, we are on the cusp of transition and change. You could say we are entering a new chapter. We are hopeful. We believe we are now seeing the tail end of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are starting in-person classes again this Fall. I believe God authors the chapters of our personal lives, but He is also interested in the health and prosperity of Christian organizations and institutions like Providence. He desires for us to thrive and make an impact for the Kingdom of God; to shine a light and make a difference in the communities where we live. So, God writes out in His book the destinies, plans and purposes for Providence. He knows all the whos, hows and whens. He knew about Paul Oleniuk who received his BA in Communications & Media and started a career in Ottawa serving in government (pg. 9). He knew about Michelle Lam who would get her Master’s in TESOL from Providence and go on to do important research and start up anti-racism initiatives in Manitoba (pg. 14).
It was by God’s grace and the generosity of our donors that we saw a successful conclusion to our Impact 2020 campaign (pg. 26) and that we could enter into a new partnership with the Town of Niverville (pg. 19). This positions us well into the future for a better and stronger Providence. The book on Providence isn’t over yet. We’re just starting the next chapter. We are sad to say goodbye to Dr. David Johnson who’s served so faithfully as president for the past nine years. But, on the other hand, we are excited to welcome Dr. Kenton Anderson into his new role. He started on June 1st as Providence’s 15th President. You can read some of their musings in the Passing the Baton article on page 22. Tim Callaway writes that “God is doing a new thing” (pg. 31). And so, we look to the new things. We see the challenges ahead, but we also see the potential and opportunity for Providence to excel. I encourage you to read this edition of the Eye Witness with hope and anticipation. Read with your eyes and heart open to the possibilities that lay ahead.
KATHRYN MULOLANI Editor and Director of Marketing
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GOD’S TIMING AND PURPOSES A MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
To speak of God’s providence is to speak of the purposeful and beneficial care of God over the world He has created. To speak of Providence University College and Theological Seminary is to reflect on the many and varied ways that God has expressed that care and led to that purpose over the almost 100 years of our school’s history. These are difficult times for Christian higher education. The financial and demographic challenges facing schools like ours are very real. The pandemic has only served to press these issues, such that schools must make difficult decisions about their vision for the future. Yet, it is in moments like these that God’s providence is sometimes most clearly seen. Never more than now has our name been so appropriate. Some of my long-time friends have asked me why I would take on a challenge like this at this stage of my life. I tell them it is because God has been so direct in leading me. As I write these words, I am seven weeks into my role as president – just long enough to see the scope of opportunity and the evidence of God’s hand. Everywhere I look, I see potential. I believe that God is preparing to do great things among us for His glory and for the good of His Kingdom. I believe there is good that God is preparing to do in the world and that He is going to do it, in part, through us.
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Everywhere I look, I see potential. I believe that God is preparing to do great things among us for His glory and for the good of His Kingdom.
One example relates to our relationship to Indigenous reconciliation and support. As Karen and I made our way to Manitoba at the end of May, we stayed with our oldest daughter and her family in Kamloops. This was just at the time of the discovery of 215 children buried in unmarked graves not far away. Quickly I knew that this was going to require deep and prayerful consideration. We were going to have to take care to understand what our institutional and personal response should look like. What I had not known was that God was preparing a group of counsellors who could help us find our way. One of them is among my oldest friends — an indigenous lawyer and former roommate of mine — who brings decades of experience in indigenous advocacy here in Manitoba and beyond. Sitting with him was good for my soul as we shared a sense of sorrow and as we tried to imagine a better kingdom future. It is too soon to know what our formal response will look like, and how we will seek a better future, but I am certain that God is with us and has prepared us for this moment.
Another example is the timing of God’s purpose in bringing me to Providence. Within one week of arriving, I found myself in a meeting with the Minister of Advanced Education and Immigration discussing the government’s desire to partner with universities and colleges around work-integrated learning and employer-friendly programming. This direction fits well with my past experience and to my vision for the future. It was amazing to share ideas with him and with his team. Again, I see the evidence of God’s providence in preparing us for this moment. It is early days for me, and I have so much more to learn. There are so many of you that I have yet to meet. There are many decisions yet to be made. But I can say with confidence that God is active among us here at Providence, and that as we listen closely to his Spirit and act faithful to our callings, we will see the kind of fruit we had not dared imagine. May I be bold to ask that you pray with us and share with us so that we don’t waste this moment. My predecessor, David Johnson, and people like Cameron McKenzie, Heath Holden, and Stan Hamm who served so well beside him, along with everyone continuing to serve with us, have faithfully prepared the ground. Now we look to what can be built upon this firm foundation. God is on the move. His providence is much among us. We look with hope anticipating what He is going to do. Yours,
KENTON C. ANDERSON, PhD President
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SERVING IN GOVERNMENT AN INTERVIEW WITH PAUL OLENIUK: WRITER FOR THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY OF CANADA
Earlier this year, we met with and interviewed alumnus Paul Oleniuk, BA in Communications & Media 2010, who was hired as a writer for the Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada (Canada’s Official Opposition) in November 2020. Below are parts of our conversation. Providence: Congratulations on your new position as a writer for Erin O’Toole as he leads Canada’s Conservative Party! Can you talk to us about your interest in politics and the field of communications? How did it all start?
Paul: It really all started at Providence when I wrote for the Prov Pamphleteer and joined the Student Council. I enjoyed being a part of these small teams who were doing something really cool. After Providence, I decided to get my Master’s in Communications at the University of Ottawa. As a ‘what if ’ my dad suggested I send an email to the Member of Parliament (MP), from the riding I grew up in, to ask if they needed a volunteer. So, I worked for MP Bev Shipley who represented a riding in Southern Ontario for about a year. Then, EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca | 9
I moved on to a part-time role for a MP in West Vancouver while I was still studying at uOttawa. After the 2015 election, I got a full-time job with the MP for Kamloops, BC. (I had finished my master’s by then and I had just gotten married.) I worked for her for almost five years. Again, it was a small team. Mostly, it was myself and one other staffer in the office. There were a few interns and volunteers as well. In the fall of 2020, I accepted a position with the writing team for the Leader of the Official Opposition, Canada’s Conservatives. I have only been in this role since November. I do initial drafts of speeches, video scripts and more. Providence: Why did you decide to do an undergraduate degree at Providence? Paul: I grew up outside a small town near Sarnia, Ontario. I was homeschooled until grade 12 and really loved writing. When I began looking at (choosing) a Christian university to attend, I knew I didn’t want to go to a big university. I wanted the small class sizes. I wanted to be mentored by and to work closely alongside my professors. 10 | EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca
At the time, I think Providence was one of only three Christian schools in the country that had a Communications & Media program. And I recall, the other two were just starting out with their communications programs. Providence’s program was well-established. It had been running for a few years and was led by former CBC producer, Richard Osicki. So, it had a cool combination of the practical and theoretical. Even though my parents were reluctant to send me a province away, I still gave it a shot. It was a great experience. I have never regretted it. Providence: What sort of activities did you do when you were here at Providence? Were you into athletics? Paul: The limit of my athletic experience was to play foosball, floor hockey and do the write ups for the sports teams when they won games – which was a lot because Providence won a lot. That was a good experience. I got into student life early on. I was a copywriter during my first year for the Prov Pamphleteer, the student newspaper. In my second year, I was in the To Kill a Mockingbird theatre production. I played
Jem Finch. Val Hiebert directed us. I have a lot of good memories from that. I almost ran off the stage when I got too much into character and ran away from Boo Radley’s house. During my third year, I was editor of the Pamphleteer. And during my 4th year, I was the Student Body President. Providence: What have been your proudest moments career-wise so far? Paul: I often go back to my experience on Providence’s Student Council. It was a lot of work. I learned so much. I made some missteps along the way but had people like Marlin Reimer who would coach me towards a better way. Now, I have the amazing experience of being able to write full-time in Canadian politics. It’s really cool to be able to do that. And again, I have bosses who are coaching me, which has been great as well. I’ve been able to continue learning. Providence: Do you think your degree at Providence helped prepare you? Paul: Yes. I learned about what was going on in the country media-wise. I also learned how to write and prepare content. I had professors like Richard Osicki and Nicholas Greco to teach and coach me. And then, there were other professors like Hendrik van der Breggen who guided students by presenting coherent, clear arguments about philosophy, ethics, theology, and faith. I’ve never forgotten these teachings and they’ve guided me a lot as I continue in my career.
Providence: Did you have a favourite class when you were attending Providence? Paul: The philosophy classes have been very helpful over the years. Van der Breggen’s approach was based on apologetics. If somebody had a question about faith, he was happy to take the class in that direction to talk and wrestle through the matter together. So, there was a lot of good stuff that has helped me through the years. It has helped me through darker times. Van der Breggen would often say something like: “Just because you don’t know the answer, it doesn’t mean there isn’t one.” Whether it was an apologetics question, or some more challenging life issue, or something more general like why bad things happen, you could trust that God knew the answer. You could trust that God was guiding the story even if you couldn’t see it. That carried me through a lot. Those kind of memories from Providence keep coming back to me and help me continue on. Providence: Who inspires you? Who are the people you look up to career-wise and/or personally? Paul: I look up to Christian men and women who’ve spoken well to difficult issues, such as Van der Breggen and Greco. I’ve added others to the list since Providence like Don Hutchinson here in Ottawa who is a Christian lawyer and former pastor. I look to Russell Moore in the United States; to men and women of faith and integrity through what has been a very interesting last number of years in public life. Van der Breggen is now retired from Providence, but I still follow what he has been writing.
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Providence: You are on the communications team of the official opposition right now and I’m sure that there are lots of moral and ethical issues that you encounter. So, what is it like being a Christian navigating the political world? Paul: It is very convicting. You can easily get pulled into a pattern of thinking and a style of work that is very antagonistic. It can become all about winning the next election. And so, I’ve often challenged myself to not go down that trail and to follow the example of other people I’ve worked with who act with integrity and honesty. Sometimes that means stepping back from some issues and evaluating if I really need to get upset about that. When I notice I am thinking too personally, it’s my cue to reel back and take a break. I don’t want to be cynical or angry or bitter.
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Providence: Are you connected with a church community in Ottawa? Paul: My wife Chelsea and I have been going to Calvary Fellowship Ottawa. Pastor Andy Falleur performed our wedding ceremony in 2015 and we’ve continued to attend. Providence: Thank you so much Paul for taking the time to speak with us. We will be following your career and praying for God’s blessing as you continue working in government.
At the time of this interview, Paul and Chelsea were expecting their second child. Mayah, a baby girl, was born on March 5, 2021, making their firstborn Jaxon (age 2) a proud and happy older brother.
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I took a Master’s in TESOL at Providence from 2007 to 2010. I had many wonderful experiences, but one that stands out was how a professor I admired, Dr. Elfrieda Lepp-Kaethler, would begin her classes with a familiar verse or passage from the Bible but ask us to think about what it meant for language education. Those critical conversations caused me to re-think foundational stories such as the Tower of Babel, or the multilingual throng in Revelation—to come to view the Creator as One who deeply values linguistic and cultural diversity. As someone employed as an English teacher for new immigrants at the time, I found myself straddling an increasingly difficult divide. Newcomers needed to learn English to become 14 | EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca
employed and function in my small city of Brandon but embedded in the profession were practices built on beliefs that English was superior like: restricting first language use, or attempting to standardize accents, or encouraging students to find jobs where they would be required to speak English instead of places where their full linguistic repertoires would be welcomed. In addition, my students would tell me of their experiences in the community, sometimes well-intentioned but ignorant comments that were hurtful, and other times blatantly racist experiences. I became curious about the welcome that newcomers receive when they settle in places like Brandon. Our license plates say, “Friendly Manitoba,” but that did not seem to jive with the stories my students were telling me. Around the same time, I began working as a researcher-in-residence through a local research centre based out of the Faculty of Education at Brandon University. It was called BU CARES, and I began seeing the impact of research for my own community. I was deeply attracted to the research process, as it was collaborative, fast-paced, and practical, and could inform my settlement organization about how to plan for the future.
I came to understand that racism was not only a hurled epithet in a parking lot (although that still does happen), but that racism is also found in the more subtle acts of exclusion.
I started my PhD at the University of Manitoba the following year, and my eventual thesis was a case study of newcomer settlement and integration in Brandon. Finally, I could explore that disconnect between our license plates and the experiences my students had been telling me a decade earlier. I came to understand that racism was not only a hurled epithet in a parking lot (although that still does happen), but that racism is also found in the more subtle acts of exclusion – the job that the newcomer did not get because the hiring manager was worried customers might not understand their accent, even if they were a fluent English speaker, or the need to study for a credentialing exam, even though they were already certified in an equivalent program overseas. It was found in smaller glances, people crossing the sidewalk, or comments intended to be welcoming and complimentary, but often perceived as reminders that they did not belong (but where are you from?). These subtle acts of exclusion have long-lasting and cumulative effects.
Two years ago, while finishing the final year of my PhD, I was fortunate to be hired as the director of BU CARES, the same research centre that inspired my interest in community-based research all those years before. Through BU CARES, I began two new projects, both geared towards exploring and understanding racism in Manitoba. One, called Community Voices, is a collaborative project with Brandon Local Immigration Partnership, Brandon Friendship Centre, and Westman Immigrant Services, as well as many other community stakeholders in education, healthcare, government, and more. We look at ways to facilitate belonging, break down silos, and collaborate towards an antiracist community through a series of community consultations. Through this project, we aim to find ways to work together better to create social change. The other is a nationally funded project through Canada Heritage. It is a multi-stage project, beginning with a survey about racism in the province, and ending with four anti-racist educational videos as part of a social media campaign and anti-racism toolkit.
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We have all heard of the 215 unmarked graves of children from Kamloops Residential School, and closer to home, at least 104 graves near Brandon Residential School, not all of which can be accounted for. While we are collectively horrified, we cannot be surprised: The Truth and Reconciliation Commission stated over five years ago that at least 3,200 deaths occurred at residential schools1 and created Calls to Action 71 to 76 in response. We are seeing, in stark relief, how the seeds of racism planted long ago are still producing a toxic harvest today. And it is not something we can relegate to the past. In the survey we conducted only short months ago, 84% of Manitobans said racism is a problem2 in their community. Racism is much more endemic than a white nationalist filled with hatred for other races. It is embedded in the ‘thousand daily cuts’ of practices and norms that exclude. Understanding this broader definition is the first step toward realizing
that it is not only the intention that matters, but the impact of our words and actions also must be considered. If, as Dr. Lepp-Kaethler taught me, the Creator values diversity, we must honour it everywhere we can, and that means working to become more humble, willing to listen, and willing to change. http://www.trc.ca/assets/pdf/Volume_4_Missing_ Children_English_Web.pdf 1
https://www.brandonu.ca/bu-cares/publication/ racism-bias-and-discrimination-in-manitoba/ 2
MICHELLE LAM (MA of TESOL 2010) Director, Centre for Aboriginal and Rural Education Studies (CARES) Brandon University
COMBATING RACISM If you are interested in learning more about Lam’s research, here are two links to more information: News release detailing Lam’s anti-racism video series: https://www.brandonu.ca/news/2021/01/13/brandon-universityresearcher-seeks-stories-for-anti-racism-video-series/ Full report on the “Community Voices” project: https://www.brandonu.ca/bu-cares/publication/communityvoices-inclusivity-anti-racism-in-brandon/
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NEW PARTNERSHIP WITH THE TOWN OF NIVERVILLE Providence University College and Theological Seminary is excited to announce a new partnership with the Town of Niverville, especially as it relates to the use of the 100,000 square foot Niverville Community Resource and Recreation Centre (CRRC) which opened on July 1st. “We are grateful to Mayor Myron Dyck, the Niverville Town Council, and all the Town officials who have worked with us on this project. Providence understands intentional partnerships to be critical in carrying out our mission and vision. We look forward to new opportunities for programming, student engagement, recruitment, and community support. It is our hope that this will prove fruitful, both for Niverville and for Providence, as we help each other flourish,” said Dr. Kenton Anderson, President. This partnership, which has been more than a year in the making, will provide opportunities to Providence students, as well as staff, faculty, and alumni to utilize the new venue. Beginning in the Fall 2021 athletics season, all home games for volleyball, basketball and futsal will be hosted at the brand new, state-of-the-art CRRC facility. Practices will continue on the Otterburne campus.
Mayor Myron Dyck, representing the Town of Niverville, also shares his excitement about this new partnership and opportunities that it will bring to the Town and its residents. “I’d like to take the opportunity to welcome our newest partner, Providence University College and Theological Seminary, to our CRRC project. Niverville has always embraced partnerships and values them highly as shown by working with our neighbouring municipalities on various infrastructure projects and now with Providence and our CRRC. The partnership will join two communities thus increasing the exposure for both Niverville and Providence in terms of higher education and athletics and lets others in our province and beyond know our region is where you belong.” The CRRC includes a multi-purpose fieldhouse, arena, indoor playground, campus, and multipurpose meeting rooms. There is plenty of space for families, athletes, and spectators to enjoy. Providence is looking forward to offering our students, student-athletes, employees, fans, alumni, sponsors, and local community an opportunity to experience competitive post-secondary sports and participate in new academic programming opportunities at this modern, leading-edge facility.
Providence’s Interim VP Operations and Director of Athletics, Scott Masterson, is pleased with the new partnership and has plans to make a bid for the Canadian Collegiate Athletics Association (CCAA) men’s volleyball national tournament to be hosted in Niverville in 2025.
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NEW Artwork ON DISPLAY AT PROVIDENCE When you walk through the front entrance of the Hanna Building, you’ll notice a colorful art piece on the wall. It was commissioned to Winnipeg artist, Yisa Akinbolaji, to help the Providence community commemorate Impact 2020: The Campaign for Providence for years to come. It is made up of three 36” x 78” panels and fills a 9 ft x 6.5 ft canvas. Akinbolaji is a Nigerian Canadian artist and worldrenowned for his work. He’s created pieces for private and public collections including the Senate of Canada, Province of Manitoba, University of Dakota, Great West Life, and Ogunnubi Architectural Firm (Lagos). He’s known for his distinctive and innovative painting techniques. The work of art that Akinbolaji created for Providence shows a visual narrative of the Impact 2020 journey. It beautifully depicts our Otterburne campus and includes the iconic bell tower. It shows the interplay of academics and spiritual life. It highlights different programs and showcases students – students at study and in classes, as well as students playing sports, making music, and graduating. “I am pleased that my work is displayed at Providence. Once I was a student. And once I was an art professor. So, I understand an environment where you want to learn so that you are equipped for a better future. You want an atmosphere that
makes you feel happy, welcome, and joyful. That’s what I have represented in this piece,” explains Akinbolaji. To heighten visual interest, the artist did not limit the project to one medium. Instead, he showcased and merged multiple media into the piece, making it an interesting balance of elements. You will see a hint of Akinbolaji’s painting technique, combined with screen/printmaking process, digital art, mosaic tiles, found objects, such as computer parts and a discarded guitar and so much more. The art piece is reinforced so that people can safely touch it for a more tactile experience. Akinbolaji says every art piece he creates is very important to him. “I always pay great attention to the details. I use all my expertise in sculpture, in textile, in painting, in print making, and in digital. I’ve combined everything in this piece so that, when you come and look at the work, you’ll see so many elements. And when you come back the following day,..the following week,…the following year, you’ll find something new. So, to me, it is a contribution to humanity and to the institution. Not just for now, but for many, many years to come.”
KATHRYN MULOLANI Director of Marketing
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BATON FORMER PROVIDENCE PRESIDENT, DAVID JOHNSON, HANDS OVER PRESIDENCY TO KENTON ANDERSON
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THERE IS A RACE TO RUN DAVID JOHNSON
I used to run relay races in high school. I was usually the third runner in a four-person relay. There are a few things I learned then that apply now. I learned that there were people who ran before me. They set me up for my leg of the relay. As President for the past nine years, I came to realize very early that I was building on the work of previous presidents. Ken Hanna moved Providence to Otterburne. Bill Eichhorst got the Seminary moving forward and guided the ship through some turbulent economic waters. Larry McKinney built the library and Eichhorst Hall and led in enrollment growth. Gus Konkel built the Reimer Student Life Centre and brought about our recognition as a University College. Without these actions, my tenure would have been radically diminished. I learned that I needed to do my part to be in shape and to run hard with wisdom. As President that meant gathering a team of smart and capable people and giving them a framework and freedom to plan and execute some great strategies. The team planned the Buller School of Business, the Science program, Seminary distance education, and the new ‘Living and Learning’ philosophy. These strategies were supported by Impact 2020: The Campaign for Providence. We built spaces, hired faculty, and increased technology out of the generous investments given by more than 1,500 friends of Providence.
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I learned that there was a runner after me in the race to whom I would pass the baton. About three years ago, I saw that my part of the race was coming to an end. I knew Dr. Kenton Anderson and his wife Karen from various conferences we both attended. We became good friends. So, I was delighted and a bit surprised that he was applying to be President of Providence. When the Board made the appointment, I had a great sense of anticipation for the next leg of the race. Kent has loads of experience as a successful president. He is a visionary with a great heart of compassion for staff and faculty. He loves students. He is a team player. He is an innovator. He will take Providence to places we have only dreamt about. It is with great anticipation that I pass the baton to Kent. Finally, I learned that running is not about the runners. It is about the race. As presidents, we know that we only run one leg of the race. The larger goal is to ensure that Providence is a Christian academic institution in the evangelical tradition that teaches people to grow in knowledge and character for leadership and service. In the 24 | EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca
end, the race is about students who put Christ first as they lead and serve churches and communities in Canada and around the world. A while ago, I read some great advice for university presidents. They have two basic tasks. First, give the students the very best experience that you can through the team that you have. Second, ensure that your successor has the resources to do the same for their leg of the race. In very general terms, this is my advice to Kent. We each do our part. Do it well and have fun along the way. Soli Deo Gloria!
DAVID H. JOHNSON, PhD Dr. Johnson served Providence for more than 30 years as professor, provost and president. Now retired, Johnson looks forward to completing some long-postponed research and writing projects and doing some teaching on the side. He also anticipates spending more time with his family which includes eight grandchildren.
THE COURSE AHEAD KENTON ANDERSON
It is my great privilege to serve as the 15th president of Providence University College and Theological Seminary. This race has featured 14 runners before me, all who handled their portion with excellence. The chief challenge of a relay race is to get up to speed so that you don’t slow the momentum of the one that ran before. While I feel that challenge, I am also energized by the thought of what God is wanting to do through us over the next number of years. I am particularly grateful to follow the strong leadership of David Johnson. David and Barb have been dear friends of Karen and me for many years. I never imagined that I would take up his mantle. David has built the confidence of the Providence community through his trustworthy leadership style. I will do my best to continue in the same spirit. By God’s grace, I will have the privilege of serving in the role of president for Providence’s 100th anniversary. I am humbled by the responsibility of carrying the legacy of this great school and to imagine the future as we embark upon a second century. There is no doubt that change will be necessary. The world of higher education, and Christian higher education in particular, has been going through hard times. But challenging times provide opportunity for those who can see the future with
fresh eyes. We will be working to articulate a new story for Providence, building upon our roots in Southern Manitoba to embrace the rest of Canada and the world with new, more effective, and accessible learning opportunities. We will be working hard to move beyond the classroom, to engage closely with those businesses, churches, and agencies that employ our students. We will be offering new educational programs and certifications, creating easier access to people who might never have considered us, through microcredentialing and other innovative products. The goal is to help Providence become nimbler and more responsive to the needs of those we serve. The days of asking people to bend to the interests of the school are over. The educational institutions that prosper going forward will have shown they can adapt quickly to the needs of people and the organizations that they serve. Learning tools like competency-based education, prior learning assessment, adult degree completion, and on demand education, making use of powerful new technologies, will allow us to offer just-in-time learning without a loss of academic quality. I expect the day will come for me to pass the baton to someone else. I trust that, when that time comes, I will be able to say together we have kept the faith and finished our portion of the course to the best of our abilities and to the glory of the God we serve. I will look forward to meeting with all of you who serve with joy in this amazing race.
KENTON C. ANDERSON, PhD President Anderson started his term at Providence on June 1, 2021. He and his wife, Karen, are excited to serve our Providence community and to see our school thrive and excel in all its future endeavours.
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FUNDRAISING GOAL FOR IMPACT 2020 CAMPAIGN Providence raised more than $14.7 million in the largest, most ambitious campaign in its history. Impact 2020: The Campaign for Providence began in July 2015 with the initial goal of raising $12.5 million. We not only met that goal after three and a half years but pressed forward and set a new goal of $14.5 million. On April 7, 2021, we held a virtual celebration to announce the successful completion of the Impact 2020 campaign which raised a grand total of $14,791,139. We are genuinely overjoyed at God’s provision and the generosity of the Providence community over the last five years. 26 | EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca
Samantha Groenendijk, Vice President External Relations, attributes the success of the campaign to Providence supporters who believe so strongly in our students and the value of a post-secondary Christian education. “We’re excited to have achieved something so impactful not only for the future of Providence, but for our students, and for our neighborhoods and communities. It could not have been done without the tremendous support of our donors, staff, faculty and volunteers,” affirmed Groenendijk.
Many tuned into the live virtual event to celebrate together. The 25-minute celebration featured student testimonials, campaign highlights and the special commissioned art piece that will mark the philanthropic investments of our community for years to come. The campaign raised money for five main priorities that included revitalizing the campus, offering new programs, contributing to employee development, and bringing an enhanced student experience to Providence. We received donations from 1,580 people who made 12,018 generous gifts. This included gifts from our Board, friends, businesses, 85 staff and faculty, and more than 700 alumni! Former President David Johnson personally thanked all the people and families who invested in our students through the Impact 2020 campaign and saw the potential ‘return on investment (ROI)’ of a Christ-centered higher education.
impacted me in my learning journey. I’ve experienced care for who I am as a person. My professors have been mentors rather than just educators; They want me to learn and grow as a human being. It’s not just about information, and grades, and assignments; It’s about developing students and teaching them to make an impact even as they’re learning and growing.” We would like to say “thank you” to our Providence community. BECAUSE OF YOU, we have been able to make an impact on Providence students. It sets a precedent for what we still can achieve in the coming years for a stronger and better Providence as we continue to dream and endeavor together.
KATHRYN MULOLANI Director of Marketing
This is evident in the lives of our students and alumni. Aly Giesbrecht, a recent graduate with a MA in Counselling, shared what a Providence education has meant to her. “Providence has EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca | 27
OUR CAMPUS: THEN + NOW
Renovated spaces were built for the Buller School of Business and the Science Department in 2016. This was formerly Providence’s old cafeteria.
Our Welcome Centre was transformed in 2016. This area formerly housed the old bookstore, and before that, the library. 28 | EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca
A beautiful new outside courtyard was also built in 2016.
Bergen Hall burned down in 2017. Construction on our new Residence, Muriel Taylor Hall, was completed in 2020. EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca | 29
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GOD IS DOING A NEW THING If I never hear the term COVID-19 again, it will be too soon. That which was completely unknown to us only two years ago seemingly came out of nowhere to become ubiquitously dominant in our lives, rapidly disrupting our routines and recalibrating our freedoms. Many readers would likely agree that we have had our fill of virtual reality and have found it wanting. As we hopefully yet cautiously transition from the exacting pandemic, I am mindful of both the personal and institutional changes unfolding for those of us who are a part of the greater Providence community. Forty-three years ago this fall, my Prov House roommate, Stan “The Man” Hamm (known to many of you as Providence’s former Seminary Dean), and myself daily traversed the frozen surface of the Rat River to and from classes at what was then called Winnipeg Bible College. A defining world event occurred that November known as Jonestown (Google it!). Today, of course, it is common for catastrophe to be associated with a particular locale such as: Lower Manhattan (9/11), Paris (Charlie Hebdo), Gaza and, yes, Wuhan. Both Stan and I are entering retirement this coming school year which marks significant change in our lives. And when change comes knocking, it is advisable to identify and grasp some timeless certainties for stability.
Providence, as an educational institute, is entering a new era as the 2021-2022 school year approaches. The Impact 2020 fundraising initiative wrapped up, Dr. Kenton Anderson has just begun his term as the 15th President, and plans are underway to imminently resume in-person classes. Hear then a timely directive articulated by the eternal God in Isaiah 43:18-19. “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” This text suggests that as we emerge from the pandemic and embrace the various changes associated with rebooting, it is ill-advised for God’s people to be preoccupied with the past. Yes, there are some essential lessons to be identified and learned from having wandered about in the desert of COVID-19. Dr. Vivek Goel, incoming President at another of my alma maters, the University of Waterloo, lays out several in his reflections on what universities should look like post-COVID as published in The Globe and Mail on July 2nd. Forward progress, however, requires primary attention to the path ahead rather than preoccupation with looking in the rear-view mirror. Isaiah informs us that God desires His people to primarily engage the new things He is doing and, yes, needs to do in our midst. Nearly 40 years have passed since I did major research while a seminary student on the topic of sexual abuse/impropriety in the church world. It was not even on the general public’s radar at the time. Today, of course, this heinous reality pollutes the Roman Catholic and Southern Baptist communities as well as mars the reputation of prominent evangelical figures like Bill Hybels and the late Ravi Zacharias.
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As we emerge from the pandemic and embrace the various changes associated with rebooting, it is ill-advised for God’s people to be preoccupied with the past.
Upon retirement from pastoral life, I will turn my full attention to educational and advocacy work in this sordid world. Rather than lamenting about past realities, I aim to be a part of ushering in “the new thing.” I believe God wants to do cleansing in His Bride, the Church. We are naturally hopeful that the worst of COVID-19 is behind us. But history indicates that virulent adversities are likely here to stay. Accordingly, it is praiseworthy to note that God promises to faithfully provide what we need despite the inevitable wilderness experiences we have yet to encounter. Those challenges may come in the form of the Delta or Lambda variants or some as yet unknown intruders. 32 | EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca
Nonetheless, just as certain as change is proving to be for old guys like Stan and yours truly, the ‘One who changes not’ graciously beckons us as individuals and institutions to eagerly participate with Him in effecting new things that are a part of His sovereign purposes.
TIM CALLAWAY, PhD A BRE grad of 1979, Callaway also earned a BA, MDiv, ThM and DPhil, and served as pastor of four Alberta congregations. His newest book GOD IS LOSER FRIENDLY: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob & Me! (Vogelstein) is available on amazon.ca.
FIND YOUR COMMUNITY Make a difference and impact your world with a Christ-centred education. Offering more than academics, Providence is a place to live, learn and belong. Find your community and surround yourself with people that support and strengthen each other.
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Learn more at
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AL (ELVIN) & HELGA BONIKOWSKY 1963 Winnipeg Bible Institute
ALUMNI UPDATES STORIES AND HIGHLI G HTS FR O M PR O VI DE NC E AL UMN I
AL (ELVIN) & HELGA BONIKOWSKY 1963 Winnipeg Bible Institute
BRUCE SALMONSON 1977 BRE
In 1963, I was transferred by an American company in Winnipeg to Atlanta, Georgia. We attended a small Baptist church when the Lord called us to the mission field of Spain where we spent over 40 years. God has been so very good to us. Our oldest son is still serving in the Basque region of Spain. We are now retired in Snoqualmie, Washington State. While I attended WBI, Erwin Lutzer was also a student, who later pastored Moody Bible Church in Chicago for many years. He was quite the character. He would come into the student lounge imitating Cliff Barrows and the Billy Graham program so well we thought somebody turned the radio on.
I am officially retired and currently involved in the Christian Motorcyclists Association (CMA). I am the President of the Pembina Valley Ambassadors. We do street ministry on motorcycles.
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GORDON POLEY 1982 BA in Biblical Studies I spent 25 years as a Baptist pastor in the Maritimes, and then 28 years as a military chaplain which I retired from in June. I am heading back to New Brunswick for the summer to visit our grandkids. And then, I start a new position as Pastor of Senior Adult Ministries at Steele Heights Baptist.
HOI CHANG KIM 1997 DMin
SARAH WOLFE 2004 BA in Youth Leadership
After serving as a chaplain for the South Korean Navy and Marine Corps, I received my DMin from Providence Seminary. I founded and pastored Gilgal Evangelical Holiness Church in Seoul. In 2001, I moved to Boston and worked as an immigrant pastor. Then, I moved to Los Angeles to plant a church. I also served as President of the Korean Veterans Military Christian Fellowship in southern California for almost 10 years. During this time, I earned a Doctor of Missiology at Grace Seminary (Indiana). In 2016, I co-established AKTV which broadcasts sermons and theological lectures in English and in Korean. I now act as President of the Unification Leadership Institution (under Concordia International University) to help establish healthy leadership in both the United States and South Korea.
I serve at Camp Cedarwood in Manitoba. In Fall 2019, we launched our new discipleship program called The Branch. I am the Program Coordinator and teach classes as well as give direction to the program. I love being able to help young Christians serve and follow Jesus and help them understand what it means to know and share the Gospel. I also fill a few other roles at Cedarwood, including doing design, video, sound, and social media. My hobbies are playing music, drawing, and watching TV.
DAVE JOHNSTONE 1998 MA in Student Development In Fall 2020, I was asked to join several others in contributing to the Christ Animated Learning Blog initiated by Christian Scholar’s Review. My task was to reflect on how student development is informed by my faith in Jesus. It has been a poignant and challenging exercise identifying contemporary issues and how my faith speaks into those concerns. One of the transformative pieces for me was looking at how we keep extending hospitality to others in a time of fear, particularly as we live in a season of civil unrest, financial challenges, and pandemics (all impacting higher education as well as society).
JENNIFER BOREY 2007 BA in Education Studies After losing my job in the pandemic, I stayed home with our two children becoming their schoolteacher. I recently got hired at a private Christian School as an elementary teacher and will start full time in Fall 2021. My husband, Christopher Borey, 2008 MA in Student Development, has been working as a health care aid. He works in a Seniors’ Home and is amazing at his job. Our two children turn ages 10 and 8 this year.
KIRSTY (BUHLER) ASSAGBA 2012 BA in Interdisciplinary Studies My husband and I welcomed our second son, James, on January 3, 2021! What a way to ring in the New Year. Our first son, Jacob, was 15 months old at the time and adjusted well to his new role of big brother. This spring, my husband got a new position working as a fibre optics field tech in Winkler, MB so we made a move at the end of April. We are excited for what God has in store for our family in this new community.
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BARDIA SALIMKHANI 2017 BA in Aviation
DANIEL REMPEL 2015 BA in Biblical & Theological Studies After graduating in 2015, I married Emily Dirks (TESOL Certificate 2014), moved to Winnipeg where I completed my MA in Theological Studies. I am currently working on my PhD in Theological Ethics at the University of Aberdeen with a focus on issues surrounding intellectual disabilities. Emily began working at Inner City Youth Alive in 2020, where she served until giving birth to our first child, Henry William, born April 2, 2021.
BARDIA SALIMKHANI 2017 BA in Aviation I joined Wings Over Kississing, a local air charter company in Steinbach as a flight dispatch and later was promoted to Client Relations. I was also elected as President of the Steinbach Flying Club. In 2020, I took some time off from the company to obtain other ratings and licenses required to fly the company’s fleet of King Airs. After completing all my training in December 2020, I re-joined 36 | EYE WITNESS | Prov.ca
the company. My new position as a commercial pilot has been my biggest childhood dream come true, and the reason I moved halfway around the world, over 10,000 miles, to come to Canada. What began in 2010 with a new home, hundreds of new friends, new family, many adventures, and best of all finding and accepting Christ has all been an amazing journey. I cannot tell any part of my story without Providence. I am excited and humbled to share that I have been selected as an honouree of Canada’s Top 20 under 40 Leaders in Aviation, an award program presented by Wings and Helicopter magazines and sponsored by Seneca School of Aviation.
ALEXANDER KRAUSE 2019 MDiv I took an associate pastor position at a small church in Winnipeg after graduation. Though much of my time at this church was greatly affected by COVID-19, it was a growing time for both me and the church. I was ordained within
the Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches of Canada in the Spring of 2021. I am now moving with my family to Cold Lake, Alberta to fulfill my duties as a military chaplain at the Canadian Forces Base 4 Wing. I am excited to be moving into ministry within a military context. I believe that my studies at Providence Seminary have well prepared me for ministerial leadership within the Canadian Armed Forces and I am looking forward to seeing how God will use me as I put into practice what I learned to aid the Canadian troops. May God keep using Providence as a training ground for His people.
MORGAN KROGSTAD 2020 BA in Aviation & Intercultural Studies I became a flight instructor at Harv’s Air last summer (2020) and have found such joy in being able to share the excitement of flying with new students. I love teaching and find a special place for each Providence student that comes to learn to fly. From the continuing challenge to find new ways to describe factors of flying to the pleasure of seeing these students go solo, and even those moments you think they want to scare you on purpose, it is a wonderful adventure worth taking.
MORGAN KROGSTAD 2020 BA in Aviation & Intercultural Studies
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GREG WIENS UNIV ERSITY CO LLEGE ALUMNUS O F THE YEAR Greg Wiens is Providence University College’s 2021 ‘Alumnus of the Year.’ Since graduating from Providence in 2005, he has served as a pastor in Southern Manitoba, and as a Faith-based Coordinator with Global Vision 2020.
Greg Wiens graduated from Providence in 2005 with a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies. It was an article in the National Geographic about an invention that made eyeglasses accessible to the developing world that first sparked his call to overseas missions. For three consecutive nights, he had dreams that God was urging him to get involved with this project. Over a period of time, Wiens met the Founder and Executive Director of Global Vision 2020, Kevin White. And to make a long story short, he began to work for White in helping to distribute the patented USee kit overseas. “The USee kit allows laypeople to do testing and make prescription eyeglasses for about $3 US a pair,” explained Wiens. “The most impoverished people who need access to optometry and eyeglasses are located within the 10/40 window. I was struck by the opportunity these glasses presented in getting me to where I could meet with the world’s most unreached people.”
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Clinical trials for USee were completed in 2017 and began getting recognized and awarded by organizations such as the National Geographic (for the Chasing Genius’ Award in the medical category), the Inventors’ Guild of America (for Best New Innovation Award in Social Justice) and the European Union (for Aid Exhibition Innovation of the Year Award). “USee is a tool that helps you do something dramatic. On every overseas trip, you’ll find somebody legally blind who puts on a pair of glasses and can see well enough to drive,” said Wiens. GV2020 has reached 38 countries so far. Wiens has been working together with more than 20 organizations such as the Mennonite Central Committee, Compassion Internaional, Operation Mobilization, and individual churches. This has helped to expedite the global distribution of eyeglasses. With GV2020, Wiens has travelled to the Gaza Strip/ West Bank, Myanmar, Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe to name a few. On his journeys, because he’s training locals how to read prescriptions and providing them with USee kits, he’s had the opportunity to witness the positive effects it has had in sustainable project development.
“In Malawi, a portion of the income from the eyeglasses was used to plant crops through drip irrigation during a time when the country was experiencing an unstable climate and shorter growing seasons because of drought and typhoon-flooding,” said Wiens. Malawi put a down payment on 92-acres of land and sought advice from Manitoba farmers so they could start growing potatoes, fruit trees and dwarf varieties of crops on 100 x 100 plots. This is one example of the important work Wiens is doing. Wiens first felt called to missions and evangelism as a young man, citing people like Chuck Swindoll as early influencers in his life. This calling led to his decision to pursue studies at Providence. “Providence gave me the tools and the confidence to answer the questions people have about God.” Wiens has served as pastor in the Mennonite Brethren Conference for more than 20 years and is currently the lead pastor of the Westwood Community Church in Winnipeg. His story is an incredible example to our Providence community of what God can do even with one life surrendered to His mission call.
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JASON MANDRYK T H EOLOGICAL SEMINARY ALUMNUS O F THE YEAR Jason Mandryk was named Providence Theological Seminary’s 2021 ‘Alumnus of the Year.’ In 1991, he completed his Bachelor of Arts, and then in 1996, he graduated from the Seminary with a Master of Arts in Global Christian Studies. He has been serving as a missionary with Operation World for more than 26 years. Over the course of his career, he lived and worked in Singapore and England. He has traveled to approximately 30 countries throughout Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.
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Jason Mandryk was born and raised in Winnipeg. He became a Christian at a family camp in Minnesota during his final year of high school. Everything changed for him after that. All the aspirations he had before simply melted away. “I knew I wanted to serve the Lord and I knew that doing a history and law degree was not how I felt the Lord was leading me.” One Sunday, as he shared his testimony at Trinity Baptist Church, a saintly, older lady asked him, “Have you considered going to Bible College because I can recommend one to you.” She had connections with Providence. Mandryk applied, was accepted, and received a scholarship. Mandryk felt God opened the doors to study at Providence, and although he missed Freshman Retreat and the first week of classes due to Chicken Pox, he had a wonderful experience at the school. It was the step that put him on the journey to Operation World. After finishing his undergraduate degree, he knew God was calling him to full time Christian service. He also knew he did not want to be a pastor so becoming a professor or a missionary were options he began to explore. He was interested in the cross-cultural experience. When he enrolled in the Seminary,
Professor Jon Bonk began the Global Christian Studies track. Mandryk studied under him and graduated with a master’s degree. At Providence, he was able to connect with several missionaries who came on campus to teach and/or attend special events. In addition, Mandryk was the coordinator of the Ida Grace Resource Centre, which held a unique collection of newsletters from different mission organizations. This exposed him to many countries and helped him understand various people groups and cultures. Patrick Johnstone, a missionary with Worldwide Evangelization for Christ (WEC), presented several seminars using statistics, anecdotes, long term trends, biblical principles and missiological breakthroughs all woven together into one single story of God’s great commission. “It was in those moments that I had a real sense of excitement,” shared Mandryk. “I felt the Lord impressing strongly upon me that this is what I’ve been preparing for. This is what God wanted me to pursue.” He decided to write to Johnstone, and within a year of the first letter, Mandryk was in the United Kingdom as a missionary serving with WEC. He was on the Operation World Team learning the ropes. In the beginning, he committed to a two-year term. But now, 26 years later, Mandryk is still serving there. What he thought was an exploration became a lifelong calling. Operation World is both a ministry and a publication. OW’s history began in the 1960s in Africa when missionaries were planting churches. Johnstone was the one who put together a 32-page resource with hand drawn maps and information on other countries. It was a tool produced for the local Christians so they could pray for other nations. As more detailed information became available, the publication grew from 32 pages to 1,032 pages, and from abridged versions to many translations. There are now versions for children, mobile apps, website, public speaking, prayer training, courses, etc. The ultimate purpose is to inform and mobilize the global church to engage in prayer for the nations.
... Providence was a great preparation for loving, appreciating and understanding the worldwide church and the diversity within it.
Today, Mandryk is a researcher, author, and leader of the OW team. He speaks about how Providence prepared him to walk in God’s calling and purposes for his life. “Providence was a great preparation for loving, appreciating and understanding the worldwide church and the diversity within it. Professor Jon Bonk’s Global Christian Studies track, which was a combination of doing mission studies but also reading non-Western Christian theologians, gave me broad exposure to what was happening in the global church and global mission.” On a more personal note, Mandryk shared with us that he recently got engaged and will be planning a wedding soon. His word of encouragement to the graduates of 2021 (as well as to us all) are these parting thoughts. “Most people’s lives have faced serious setbacks in this last year or two. But I truly believe that the body of Christ – and each of us as individuals within it – is better placed than any other entity to bring hope and meaning to a world very much in need of both.”
GRACE SANDULAK Coordinator of Alumni and Church Relations
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CLOSING REMARKS FROM THE VICE PRESIDENT EXTERNAL RELATIONS When you think about the first time you ever interacted with Providence, what comes to mind? Perhaps you knew the institution under a different name, different buildings, or a different location. It is likely that the community looked different, the people were different, you were different. Our lives are marked by seasons and change. As Christians, we can rest in the knowledge and understanding that our foundation is firm when it is set upon the Rock, who is the triune God (Matthew 7:24-27; Psalm 18:2). All that is around us might change, but at our core, we hold fast to our faith and are guided by a loving Father who cares for us. The same is true for Providence. Throughout the 96 years that the institution has existed, much has changed. What remains at our core, however, is a desire to serve the purposes God has laid out for us. That is, to infuse learning with the Christian faith, to form and equip our students with the knowledge, character, and skills needed to engage in a variety of vocations and to participate in God’s creative and redemptive work in the world. We are grateful to you, our community, for your continued support of this mission. It is because of the generous prayerful and financial support of Providence that our students can access a Christcentered education which allows them to grow in knowledge and character for leadership and service of Christ in a changing world. Providence’s friends and alumni play an active role in making our students’ experiences possible.
Last year alone, more than 605 donors invested $1.3 million in the education of future leaders through the Providence Fund. A robust Providence Fund empowers us to provide day-today excellence to our students at an affordable rate. Did you know that tuition dollars do not cover the full cost of a Providence education? In this way, student experiences both inside and outside of the classroom are made possible thanks to the generosity of our donors. Would you make a gift? I invite you to prayerfully consider a donation in support of the Providence Fund, allowing us to pour into students who will act as difference-makers in communities around the world. All gifts to the Providence Fund directly support our students, no matter their amount! Your investment in Providence has a direct impact on our students. You become a part of the change that they experience, helping us as an institution equip students for whatever work God has planned for them post-graduation. We remain deeply humbled and grateful for the committed community of friends and alumni, like yourself, who help to make this work possible. Thank you.
SAMANTHA GROENENDIJK Vice President External Relations
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