CMU, Other Schools Launch Effort to Promote
Christian Higher Education in Manitoba
Almost 39 percent of students at Booth College,
CMU, Providence and Steinbach Bible College come from outside of province
In 1976, John Longhurst left southern Ontario to study at a Bible college in
Winnipeg. He had already been accepted for studies at a university in Ontario,
but decided to go to Winnipeg to study—for just one year.
One year turned into two, two into three and three into 31 years. “I came to
Winnipeg to study for just a year, and was then going to finish my studies back
in Ontario,” he says. “But I enjoyed my time in Winnipeg, so I stayed.”
Longhurst graduated from Mennonite Brethren Bible College (now part of
Canadian Mennonite University, or CMU) in 1979 and the University of Winnipeg in
1980. Today he directs communications at CMU and is working with staff at Booth
College, Providence College and Seminary and Steinbach Bible College on a new
project to attract more people like him to study in Manitoba.
The joint effort, called Spirited Education, features a website and
advertising campaign that encourages students from outside the province to
consider studying at one of the four schools. The website includes links to the
schools, along with articles on why students should choose a Christian college
or university and what to consider when deciding which school to attend. There
is also a section for parents.
“If someone in Canada wants a college or university education where faith is
part of their studies, and where they can be part of a vibrant Christian
community, then we want them to know about our great Manitoba schools,” says
Gord Penner, who directs community relations at Steinbach Bible College (SBC).
“Deciding where to study after high school is a big decision,” adds Chantel
Burt, who directs admissions at Booth College. “We think that attending a
Christian college or university, even if only for a year, is important for
Christian youth—and we think that Manitoba is a great place to do it.”
The four schools have been magnets for students from other provinces and
countries for decades, bringing hundreds of students to Manitoba for studies
each year. This year a total of 485 students, or almost 39 percent of their
combined student bodies of 1,252, are from other provinces or countries—52
percent at Providence, 28 percent at CMU’s Main Campus in Charleswood, 25
percent of regular session students at Booth and 33 percent at SBC.
With each student spending an estimated $10,000 for tuition and living
expenses, it means over $4.8 million will be injected into the Manitoba economy
“Not everyone who comes to study at our schools will stay in Manitoba,” says
Sara Dacombe, Communications Coordinator at Providence. “But even if they don’t
choose to stay here, the positive impressions of their time spent in Manitoba
will make them goodwill ambassadors for the province wherever they go.”
The schools chose the name “Spirited Education” to tie into the province’s
new marketing slogan, and to emphasize the spiritual, or faith aspect, of the
education they offer.
Looking back, Longhurst can think of about 25 people from other provinces
that he went to school with in the 1970s who ended up staying in Manitoba. “I
think that many more people would make a similar decision once they came here to
study,” he says.
For more information, visit
Posted November 14, 2007
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