TWU alum leaves legacy on every corner of campus
In 1981, Jonathan Christopher Epp arrived at Trinity Western University, where he would spend a quiet four years. Over 30 years later, he would pass away, but the product of his life's work would live on at his alma mater.
After losing his battle with cancer in January 2013, Chris Epp left Trinity Western University the largest estate gift it had ever received: approximately $5.3 million. His generosity is apparent in the bricks of many of TWU’s buildings, the community in the dorms, the sustainability of the academics, and the lives of the students.
“He left behind a legacy that paved the way for what I have called the New Era,” says Bob Kuhn, TWU’s president. “The world is changing, rapidly. And TWU must ensure its sustainability if it is going to continue to be the leading Christian university in the country. Chris helped make that possible.”
The donation served as the footing for a number of projects that will forever influence students at TWU, including the support for a growing staff. TWU’s pursuit of opening a law school demanded more leadership and only made possible through the Epp’s financial support.
Epp’s estate, along with a matching grant of another donor, was also the foundation for the new outdoor Hansen Garden Chapel. The new structure is at the centre of campus as a symbol of the university’s continued dedication to its Christian principles and its founders.
The donation also supported work on dorms in desperate need of upgrades, as well as an extension on the David E. Enarson Gymanasium, which provided more space and updated fitness equipment for Spartans and other students.
The most significant impact was in the new Robert N. Thompson building expansion—an improvement of teaching facilities that has helped create a better environment for students to learn in the classroom and one-on-one with professors.
“The quality of the physical facilities, coupled with the natural environment of the campus, contributes to the overall transformational educational experience that is Trinity Western,” says Sheldon Loeppky, TWU’s associate provost.
A portion of the donation also helped make students’ academic dreams possible through scholarships. Another portion went to marketing and online improvements to help the school maintain its status as a leading Christian university in Canada.