Executive Director of TWU Alumni and Families Janice Nikkel on building the best experience for University families
"Trinity Western has a 60-year history of young men and women seeking to live for the Kingdom. It has been the training ground for thousands of alums who are serving God globally....Our TWU families have often said there is something very special and different when they bring their students here."
— Janice Nikkel, Executive Director of TWU Alumni and Families
One of the people that many TWU families meet when they first arrive at the Langley campus is Janice Nikkel, Executive Director of TWU Alumni and Families. Her welcoming smile connects parents and new students to the University community, and her continued care and support guides families through their time here.
This summer, Nikkel ventures into a new role as Executive Director of TWU Alumni and Families.
Here, Nikkel shares highlights from her time at TWU, and the exciting things that the future holds.
Hi Janice, what's new in TWU Alumni and Families?
I have been nurturing relationships with alums for years, even though my role was (focused) with parents. Over 250 TWU alums annually send their sons and daughters to TWU, and it has been so fun to welcome them back to campus as they launch their kids on their own TWU journey! I am looking forward to helping build into the alumni community. We're working on building Alumni chapters, mentoring, offering resources that enrich the alumni experience, community events, and more.
As we are faithful to His call, God will continue to bless and use this University for His glory, both here in North America and globally.
How did you first get connected with TWU, and what are some of your best adventures here so far?
When I was 10, one of my sisters started her TWU journey. Two others quickly made the trek west from Ontario. In those days, it was called Trinity Western College, but it soon gained University status. I remember thinking that I didn’t want to be just like my sisters, but I was challenged to try it for one year. I love a challenge, and absolutely loved my first year, becoming Freshman President and getting involved in all of campus life. I was hooked. I graduated as a History major, met my husband Peter. Years later, I came back to do my Masters in Leadership. All four of our kids also chose to attend TWU. This University has had a significant impact on our family. I am so grateful for the lifelong friendships we made, and those my kids have made as well. So much to be thankful for.
"...We hope that Trinity Western will be the place that has equipped you for your career, bolstered your faith, and helped build you into a person ready to face the world."
What inspires you most about TWU?
Trinity Western has a 60-year history of young men and women seeking to live for the Kingdom. It has been the training ground for thousands of alums who are serving God globally. My husband’s grandpa, Jim Westman, was one of those men who walked the dairy farm (on the land where TWU was founded), back in 1959, to see if this is where God would have them start a Christian school. I am regularly moved by the story of Walter Cahill, who took his shoes off, believing he was standing on holy ground. Our TWU families have often said there is something very special and different when they bring their students here. As we are faithful to His call, God will continue to bless and use this University for His glory, both here in North America and globally.
"This University has had a significant impact on our family. I am so grateful for the lifelong friendships we made, and those my kids have made as well. So much to be thankful for."
What has been happening with TWU families recently?
Over the past few years, we have had highly engaged parents who have become some of our best volunteers, donors, and ambassadors. We had 40 TWU Parent Chapters, events, and more. During this past year, I have sought to maintain regular communication with our families through our monthly Parent newsletter, Parent Chapters online, a regular online prayer group, our volunteer-run Touch of Home care package program, our online parent community on Facebook, and visits with parents in-person and on the phone. Our team called every first year family that we had contact info for, as we wanted to ensure our families are still feeling that personal touch. I’m grateful to have added some staff to our department to help us exceed expectations, and help families have a remarkable experience when they send their kids to TWU.
What are you most looking forward to in this season?
I am so excited about seeing our University come together with a unified vision of helping every graduate to think truthfully, act justly, and live faithfully, for the good of the world, and the glory of God.
Recently, my son joined the leadership program at Chick-fil-A and he gave me my own badge with “raving fan” written on it. It is my hope that our parents and alums can be some of our best “raving fans” who love this University because of the impact it has had on their lives.
From the time families first explore TWU, to their journey through University with our inspiring professors, our caring Student Life team and staff, through events, friendships, and more, to the time they graduate — we hope that Trinity Western will be the place that has equipped you for your career, bolstered your faith, and helped build you into a person ready to face the world.
See also — All-new TWU Alumni and Families helps graduates thrive beyond graduation day:
About Trinity Western University
Founded in 1962, Trinity Western University is Canada’s premier Christian liberal arts university dedicated to equipping students to establish meaningful connections between career, life, and the needs of the world. It is a fully accredited research institution offering liberal arts and sciences, as well as professional schools in business, nursing, education, human kinetics, graduate studies, and arts, media, and culture. It has four campuses and locations: Langley, Richmond-Lansdowne, Richmond-Minoru, and Ottawa. TWU emphasizes academic excellence, research, and student engagement in a vital faith community committed to forming leaders to have a transformational impact on culture. Learn more at www.twu.ca or follow us on Twitter @TrinityWestern, on Facebook and LinkedIn.
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