Redeemer president leaves post amid enrolment woes
University board decided it was time for renewed leadership at the Ancaster institution
Redeemer College is parting ways with its president as the Christianbased university tries to firm up sagging enrolment and softening revenue.
Hubert R. Krygsman is leaving the Ancaster post-secondary institution just a year into his second five-year term.
“It was a mutual agreement,” Karl Veldkamp, chair of Redeemer’s board of governors, said Tuesday.
Veldkamp said the board decided it was time for renewed leadership. “We came to an agreement that maybe it’s time to refocus and recalibrate and that’s really the essence of it.”
Krygsman, who became president in 2010 and was appointed to a second term in 2015, leaves his post Oct. 31.
The university didn’t make him available for comment Tuesday.
But in a news release, he calls his time at Redeemer a “privilege.”
“I remain passionate and confident about Redeemer’s mission and vision for Christian university learning from a Reformed perspective, but I believe that it is time for new leadership to take the next steps to meet our challenges and advance Redeemer’s mission.”
Before becoming Redeemer’s third president, Krygsman worked at Dordt College, a Christian Reformed school in Iowa where he was associate provost and director of the Andreas Centre for Reformed Scholarship and Service.
Veldkamp praised Krygsman’s contributions during a time of declining enrolment and financial strain.
“In these conversations, he’s acted with grace, humility and servanthood, and he’s had some significant accomplishments.”
The board plans to start searching for a new president in coming months.
Redeemer, a private institution that relies on tuition and support from its Christian Reformed Church base, has seen its enrolment dip to about 650-700 students from just over 900 in the past five years, Veldkamp said.
But that’s “very much stabilized,” he added, and believes the undergraduate university will soon increase its numbers.
“When are we going to be back at around 900? I don’t know.”
Last year, Redeemer, which opened in 1982, published an article explaining how receding tuition revenue had led to a financial crunch that forced the school to shed nine staff and faculty members in the 2014-15 academic year.
The article cited its challenges: a “significant decline” in universityaged population; lower demand for liberal arts and science education; competition from degreegranting community and technical colleges.
Another trend is the “changing nature of Redeemer’s traditional ‘feeder’ community.”
“Among many families that emphasized Christian education, there is now less conviction about the need for Christian educational institutions or Christian homeschooling,” the article says.
But Veldkamp believes that pendulum is starting to swing the other way. “I think there’s a renewing of commitment.”
Redeemer, which has an annual operating budget of roughly $20,500,000, has reduced its debt to about $22 million from a little more than $30 million in seven years, Veldkamp said.
“So that’s a dramatic improvement.”