Over 190 guests attended the President's Circle dinner on Monday evening to hear The State of the University Address presented by Trinity Western University President Jonathan Raymond. Those in attendance included friends of the university, Mayor Fassbender, President Emeritus Dr. Calvin Hanson and President Emeritus Dr. Neil Snider, the TWU Board of Governors, donors, staff and faculty of the University.
After the four course formal dinner was completed, TWU alum and Board Member Wade Larson (91) introduced President Raymond and welcomed him to the podium. Over the next 48 minutes, TWU's third president took dinner guests through the University's legacy, its essence and ends, a year in review and exciting new initiatives and visions for its future.
"Trinity Western has a powerful legacy as a particular University - a Christ centred university that inspires us to continue to discover, learn, and engage in the calling to be a service to humanity and the world - to walk with confidence into a strategic vision for the future as a university that, through its people and partnerships, will address the world's deepest needs and opportunities" said Raymond.
With the essence of the University "centred in Christ" Raymond highlighted three areas that the University ultimately wants to achieve in its students and as an institution. These ends include; Individual Transformation - assisting students in becoming those who can address the world's deepest needs, Institutional Competence - where TWU will be a world-class centre for vital research, exemplary scholarship and learning that seeks reconciliation, peace-making and charity, and Global Impact - where TWU will be a means of compassion, hope, healing and reconciliation in the world through Christ.
A major focus of the evening was enrolment and the financial stability of the university. Acknowledging the Great Campaign for Students initiative, Raymond explained to guests the relationship between student fees and endowments, and publicly recognized that the cost of a TWU education is a barrier to many. Changing this is a big priority for the President. "I am very pleased to advise you that we have taken the bold step of investing an additional one million dollars in student scholarship funds," said Raymond. He has also commissioned the creation of a new church matching scholarship program where TWU will match gifts offered by churches in support of their students attending the university.
With a solid five-year budget planning process in hand, Raymond publicly committed to operate within budget guidelines and with best business practices. The President also emphasized the slow growth of the university's endowment and how increasing it will be an organizational priority. "You should expect that in our future campaign announcements, in addition to program support and brick-and-mortar opportunities we will be seeking support for endowments for scholarships, professorships, chairs and schools. And may I say that we hope that we are in your estate plans," said a confident Raymond.
Enthusiastic applause resounded throughout the audience at several points during the University Address. The creation of four Living Learning Centres that will be innovative academic and community spaces was well received. The first space is slated for the Faculty of Professional and Performing Arts (FPSPA). Raymond also received applause at the announcement of TWU officially being connected with the Township of Langley water supply.
Other areas of celebratory note were the Langley sports events centre which will be the new home for the School of Human Kinetics and Spartan athletics, and the creation of a new TWU magazine with its first issue to be published in late fall.
The ballroom at the Delta Vancouver Airport Hotel in Richmond was an appropriate setting for the annual dinner. It was at the close of the University Address that Raymond announced the creation of a new Richmond campus to thundering applause. Pending city and development approvals, the 40,000 square foot space, donated to TWU rent free from a philanthropist, will, as Raymond said, "serve as a gateway for our university to serve and attract new student populations and to deepen the profile of the University in the Metro Vancouver region." TWU has begun research into the specific programming needs of the Richmond community and is seeking additional financing for the project.
The State of the University Address and Raymond's leadership and vision suggests that TWU is becoming much more than a place of learning. Said Raymond,
"As President, I firmly believe the essence of Trinity Western University is Jesus Christ. The synthesis of Christ-centred, faith-based scholarship and learning must be the single-focus for TWU. Alongside McGill, Harvard, and UBC, TWU stands as an institution that holds to values of quality, excellence, integrity, professionalism and discipline. Yet, I want something more that will define a TWU education. That something more is the deeply planted root of the social-spiritual ecology of the campus, a dynamic between people and the Divine. As students experience such a dynamic, lives will change, relationships will change, and workplaces will change. TWU will be nothing less than the environment for the experience, the point of convergence for that change, and that change will affect the world."
To read The State of the University Address please click here.
Trinity Western University, in Langley, B.C. is an independent Christian liberal arts and sciences university enrolling approximately 4000 students. TWU offers undergraduate degrees in 40 major areas of study ranging from biotechnology, education, nursing, theatre and music, to psychology, communications and biblical studies. TWU's 16 graduate degree programs include counseling psychology, business, theology and leadership, and offers interdisciplinary studies in English, philosophy and history. TWU holds Canada Research Chairs in Biblical Studies, Biology and Interpretation, Religion & Culture.
Last Updated: 2008-05-05