Redeemer pres­i­dent leaves post amid en­rol­ment woes

Univer­sity board de­cided it was time for re­newed lead­er­ship at the An­caster in­sti­tu­tion

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - TEVIAH MORO tmoro@thes­ 905-526-3264 | @Te­vi­ahMoro

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.”

Hu­bert Krygsman

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