University description (as per official university website)
Conrad Grebel University College is a liberal arts college founded by the Mennonite church and affiliated with the University of Waterloo. The mission and programs of the College are rooted in and inspired by its Christian identity and its Anabaptist/Mennonite heritage.
The mission of Conrad Grebel University College is to seek wisdom, nurture faith, and pursue justice and peace in service to church and society.
The College’s core values grow out of its identity and mission:
Stewardship of creation
These values are expressed in and through the College’s programs.
Conrad Grebel University College challenges and inspires mind and spirit through both its academic and residence programs.
The College offers a rich variety of undergraduate courses in Arts and is home to the University’s BA programs in both Music and Peace and Conflict Studies. A graduate program in Theological Studies engages students in the study of faith and spirituality and prepares them for church ministries or doctoral studies. The library and archives support the College’s teaching and research, particularly in music, peace, and Mennonite studies.
Grebel’s residential and student services programs build a unique sense of community by providing a supportive and stimulating environment for personal, social, intellectual, and spiritual growth and leadership development.
Conrad Grebel University College (CGUC) was chartered in 1961, taught its first classes in 1963 and dedicated its first building (a residence for 106 students) in 1964. Ontario Mennonite leaders established the College when more Mennonite young adults were attending secular universities for training in specialties not available at traditional Mennonite colleges or Bible schools. The possibility of an affiliated college at the University of Waterloo allowed Ontario Mennonites to provide post-secondary education with a relatively small financial investment. Conrad Grebel University College added “University” to its name in June 2001 to recognize its graduate program and to differentiate itself from community colleges.
Crucial visionaries in founding Conrad Grebel College included Norman High, Harvey Taves, John W. Snyder, Henry H. Epp and Milton R. Good. J. Winfield Fretz began service as the College’s first President in 1963, and made an impact in the Ontario Mennonite community far beyond the College.
The Ontario Mennonite leaders initially envisioned a residential college for Mennonite students studying at university in non-theological disciplines. They expected that Conrad Grebel’s teaching would be limited to religious knowledge and such other liberal arts courses as would be negotiated with the university. However the College’s teaching program rapidly expanded, with an academic office and classroom building added in 1976.
The College’s undergraduate students are registered at, and receive their degrees from, the University of Waterloo. The College established its own Graduate Theological Studies in 1987; these students receive a Master of Theological Studies (MTS) degree from Conrad Grebel University College. Ontario provincial funding has typically provided half of Conrad Grebel’s income through grants and undergraduate tuition fees; the remainder comes from residence income, donations and endowment income, as well as other sales of services.
Mennonite students have usually filled half the spaces in the residence, but the percentage of Mennonite students in Conrad Grebel academic courses is much less than 10%. This difference has created some dissonance between the residence and academic programs throughout Conrad Grebel’s history. At the same time it has reflected the unique mission of the College has it has intersected with the very diverse student body of a large provincial university.