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Dr. Cheryl Pauls reappointed CMU President

Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) is pleased to announce that it has reappointed President Dr. Cheryl Pauls to a second term.

“We are extremely excited and gratified that Cheryl has accepted the call to a second term,” says CMU Board of Governors Chair Gordon Daman. “We are also extremely thankful for the humble service and leadership she provides.”

Dr. Cheryl Pauls
CMU President, Dr. Cheryl Pauls

Pauls says that she is excited to continue to serve in her role as President.

“What I love most about CMU is the character of faith, courage, and vulnerability with which students, faculty, staff and surrounding communities collectively seek trustworthy understandings,” Pauls says. “It is an honour and joy to nurture the avenues and relationships that sustain this vibrant university community.”

Pauls’ reappointment follows an extensive review of her first term that the Board conducted this past spring. The review included stakeholder feedback from faculty, staff, alumni, donors, sister institutions, Council and Board members, church leaders, and students.

“The gifts Cheryl has, and the commitment to service she exhibits each and every day, made the decision of a second call one that was not only easy to make, but one that was exciting for the Board,” Daman says.

Pauls’ second term, slated to last five years, will begin in the summer of 2017.

Pauls first began her work as President in November 2012. During her first term, Pauls oversaw the construction of Marpeck Commons, the university’s new Library, Learning Commons, and Pedestrian Bridge.

During Pauls’ administration, the university has introduced two new graduate studies programs: a Master of Arts in Peacebuilding and Collaborative Development, as well as a Collaborative Master of Business Administration program jointly offered by CMU, Eastern Mennonite University, Goshen College, and Bluffton University.

Since Pauls became President, CMU has also started offering a new undergraduate major in Environmental Studies.

In addition to these academic changes, Pauls has been a strong proponent of Indigenous education.

Also under her leadership, the university began hosting the Peguis First Nation post-secondary Indigenous transition program, a 10-month program that assists students in the transition from high school to post-secondary education, from the reserve to an urban setting.

Additionally, Pauls joined other post-secondary educational institutions in Manitoba last December in a commitment to advance Indigenous education and reconciliation by signing the Indigenous Education Blueprint.

Pauls succeeded President Dr. Gerald Gerbrandt, who served as President from 2003 until his retirement in June 2012, and Interim President Dr. Earl Davey, who served in this capacity from July to October 2012.

Pauls is a graduate of one of CMU’s predecessor colleges, Mennonite Brethren Bible College, and holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of British Columbia. Prior to becoming President, she served as Professor in Piano and Music Theory at CMU.

Pauls has made her home in Manitoba since 1983. She and her husband Bryan Harder have two sons, Nicholas and William. The family attends River East Mennonite Brethren Church.

About CMU

A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU’s Shaftesbury campus offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences, and social sciences, as well as graduate degrees in theology, ministry, peacebuilding and collaborative development, and an MBA. CMU has over 800 full-time equivalent students, including those enrolled in degree programs at the Shaftesbury and Menno Simons College campuses and in its Outtatown certificate program.

For information about CMU visit www.cmu.ca.

For additional information, please contact:
Kevin Kilbrei, Director of Communications & Marketing
kkilbrei@cmu.ca; 204.487.3300 Ext. 621
Canadian Mennonite University
500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB  R3P 2N2

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CMU part of historic commitment to advancing Indigenous education and reconciliation

Manitoba’s education sector units in effort to follow Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations

Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) joined five other Manitoba universities, three colleges, and the Manitoba School Boards Association in a landmark signing of the Indigenous Education Blueprint on December 18.

CMU President Cheryl Pauls (centre) with leaders of Manitoba’s universities, colleges, and Manitoba’s school boards photo: University of Manitoba
CMU President Cheryl Pauls (centre) with leaders of Manitoba’s universities, colleges, and Manitoba’s school boards
photo: University of Manitoba

Working together in unprecedented fashion, the participating institutions developed and are now committed to the plan, which acts upon the recommendations the Truth and Reconciliation Commission presented this past summer.

The Blueprint commits the participating institutions to concrete practices in order to respect, celebrate, and support Indigenous peoples, knowledge, and success.

“The story has always been told by someone else. Now it’s your turn, and today we honour that,” Elder Harry Bone said during his opening remarks at the signing ceremony.

Steven Heinrichs, Director of Indigenous Relations with Mennonite Church Canada, was in attendance to witness the signing.

“CMU took an amazing step today in the pursuit of right relations with host peoples,” Heinrichs said. “This isn’t only good for Indigenous peoples. It can help us settlers in the paths of decolonization and bring us life. I’m looking forward to seeing how CMU will grow into this.”

Indigenous Education Blueprint_037
CMU President Cheryl Pauls signs the Indigenous Education Blueprint alongside Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology President & CEO Paul Holden
photo: University of Manitoba

CMU President Cheryl Pauls participated in the signing ceremony on behalf of the university.

She cites a number of events and initiatives, such as CMU’s partnership with the Peguis First Nation post-secondary transition program and hosting of community forums to discuss the possibilities of an urban reserve at the Kapyong Barracks, as examples where CMU has already cultivated Indigenous-settler relationships.

“We are proud to be a part of this historic commitment,” Pauls said. “CMU’s mission statement places significant importance on reconciliation in our church and society. Through education, reconciliation can be fostered, understood, and turned into a new reality.”

Moving ahead, there will be numerous all-faculty conversations at CMU to engage the Indigenous Education Blueprint.

These conversations will identify opportunities where programs and courses can be enlivened in light of the Blueprint, particularly within Peace and Conflict Studies at CMU’s Shaftesbury campus and Conflict Resolution Studies at the Menno Simons College campus in downtown Winnipeg.

In addition to CMU, the educational partners that signed the historic Blueprint include: University of Manitoba, University of Winnipeg, Brandon University, Université de Saint-Boniface, University College of the North, Red River College, Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology, Assiniboine Community College, and Manitoba School Boards Association.

BY SIGNING THE INDIGENOUS EDUCATION BLUEPRINT, CMU and OTHER SIGNATORIES COMMIT TO:

  1. Engaging with Indigenous peoples in respectful and reciprocal relationships and to realize the right to self-determination, and to advance reconciliation, language and culture through education, research and skill development;
  2. IEBBringing Indigenous knowledge, languages and intellectual traditions, models and approaches into curriculum and pedagogy;
  3. Promoting research and learning that reflects the history and contemporary context of the lives of Indigenous peoples;
  4. Increasing access to services, programs, and supports to Indigenous students, to ensure a learning environment is established that fosters learner success;
  5. Collaborating to increase student mobility to better serve the needs of Indigenous students;
  6. Building school and campus communities that are free of racism, value diversity and foster cultural safety;
  7. Increasing and measuring Indigenous school and post-secondary participation and success rates;
  8. Showcasing successes of Indigenous students and educators;
  9. Reflecting the diversity of First Nations, Inuit and Métis cultures in Manitoba through institutional governance and staffing policies and practices; and
  10. Engaging governments and the private and public sectors to increase labour market opportunities for Indigenous graduates.

Media coverage of December 18 signing:
Winnipeg Free Press, CBC, Globe and Mail, The Metro News, CJOB AM 680The Brandon Sun

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About CMU

A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU’s Shaftesbury campus offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences, and social sciences, as well as graduate degrees in theology, ministry, peacebuilding and collaborative development, and an MBA. CMU has over 800 full-time equivalent students, including those enrolled in degree programs at the Shaftesbury and Menno Simons College campuses and in its Outtatown certificate program.

For information about CMU visit www.cmu.ca.

For additional information, please contact:
Kevin Kilbrei, Director of Communications & Marketing
kkilbrei@cmu.ca; 204.487.3300 Ext. 621
Canadian Mennonite University
500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB  R3P 2N2

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Artwork honouring CMU professor’s contribution to Hutterite community unveiled

Hutterites thank John J. Friesen for teaching numerous courses over 14 years

Canadian Mennonite University President Cheryl Pauls and representatives from southern Manitoba’s Hutterite community unveiled a new artwork honouring a CMU professor last week.

Unveiled on Wednesday, June 3 in CMU’s new library, the artwork was commissioned by the Hutterian Brethren Education Committee in honour of John J. Friesen, Professor Emeritus of History and Theology, for his contribution to the Hutterite community.

Between 2000 and 2014, Friesen taught a number of Old Testament, Anabaptist, and Hutterite history courses to several hundred Hutterite teachers, pastors, and young people from across southern Manitoba, South Dakota, and Minnesota.

A close-up of the painting presented to CMU from
A close-up of the painting by Victor Kleinsasser presented to CMU from the Hutterian Brethern Education Committee.

The painting, created by Victor Kleinsasser of the Crystal Spring Community near Ste. Agathe, MB, depicts a group of Hutterites speaking with Friesen after one of their classes together.

Jesse Hofer, a CMU alumnus and member of the Hutterian Brethren Education Committee, said the painting represents the important relationship that has developed between Mennonites and Hutterites since Friesen taught his first course to Hutterites.

“The artistic contribution is a sign of our commitment to build and grow this relationship into the future,” Hofer said.

In addition to the artwork, the Hutterites made a $10,000 donation in Friesen’s name to help fund Marpeck Commons, the new library, learning commons, and bridge at CMU. Nearly 20 colonies contributed to the donation.

The Hutterian Brethren Education Committee surprised Friesen with the gift November 1, 2014 after he taught his final course with the Hutterites.

Speaking at the unveiling, Friesen thanked the Hutterian community for its generosity and hospitality, as well as the opportunity to teach them for 14 years.

“I learned so much from your communities, and in the process, made many friends,” Friesen said.

He added that ultimately, the event was not about him, but about the Hutterites.

“With the unveiling of this painting, you’re signalling I think publicly that you are continuing to embrace, incarnate, and communicate your rich spiritual heritage of communal living,” Friesen said.

IMG_9762
Members of the Hutterian Brethern Education Committee with John J. Friesen (third from left) and CMU President Cheryl Pauls at the June 3 art unveiling.

“In a society that is highly individualist, economically and socially, you provide a successful alternative communal model. In a society that is consumer-oriented, you in many ways conserve resources through sharing and communal ownership. In a society that relegates faith into ever-smaller areas of private life, you’re committed to having faith permeate and shape all areas of your life. To me, this event signals that you do not want your heritage to become a revered relic of the past, but a rich resource for the future.”

CMU President Cheryl Pauls expressed her gratitude to the Hutterian community for its support and noted that at least four Hutterites have studied at CMU in recent years.

“Thanks also for your lives of faithfulness—to God, to one another, to the land, and to ways of discerning God’s word together through time,” Pauls said. “Thanks also for the ways you remember to live generously through time, to share again with one another and for sharing with us.”

Pauls added that Marpeck Commons—the building within which the new CMU library is located—takes its name from Pilgram Marpeck, a 16th century Anabaptist leader who brought together his faith and everyday life through his work as a civil engineer.

“The name of this building signifies through time that the vision here at Canadian Mennonite University extends far beyond us and reaches for something that learns from the community and isn’t about particular individuals in our own time,” Pauls said. “Thanks for the ways the Hutterian community remembers that through time and helps to sharpen the vision of CMU… We look forward to ongoing relationships and conversations with you.”

The Hutterian Brethren originated as the Austrian branch of the Anabaptist movement of the 16th century. Absolute pacifism and community of goods are key practices for the Hutterites, who live in rural communities made up of 50 to 150 people.

CMU’s relationship with the Hutterite community is ongoing. Harry Huebner, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Theology, will teach an introduction to philosophy course to members of the community in southern Manitoba beginning this summer.

About CMU
A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU’s Shaftesbury campus offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences, and social sciences, as well as graduate degrees in theology, ministry, peacebuilding and collaborative development, and an MBA. CMU has over about 900 full-time equivalent students, including those enrolled in degree programs at the Shaftesbury and Menno Simons College campuses and in its Outtatown certificate program.

For information about CMU visit www.cmu.ca.

For additional information, please contact:
Kevin Kilbrei, Director of Communications & Marketing
kkilbrei@cmu.ca; 204.487.3300 Ext. 621
Canadian Mennonite University
500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB  R3P 2N2

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Graduates receive award from CMU president

Rebecca Klassen-Wiebe and Mike Wiebe take home President’s Medals for scholarship, leadership, and service

Rebecca Klassen-Wiebe and Mike Wiebe are the 2015 recipients of Canadian Mennonite University’s (CMU) President’s Medals.

CMU President Cheryl Pauls awarded the medals during CMU’s 2015 Graduation Exercises on April 26. Klassen-Wiebe and Wiebe (no relation) received the awards in recognition of their qualities of scholarship, leadership, and service.

“CMU has been a very important place for me for the years I’ve been here, so getting this award means a great deal to me,” Klassen-Wiebe says.

Klassen-Wiebe, 22, and Wiebe, 21, were chosen from a group of 89 graduates.

Klassen-Wiebe, who lives in Winnipeg’s River Heights neighbourhood, graduated with a Bachelor of Music, Concentration: Performance – Collaborative Piano.

Rebecca Klassen-Wiebe (left) with CMU President Cheryl Pauls and Michael Wiebe
Rebecca Klassen-Wiebe (left) and Michael Wiebe (right), recipients of 2015’s President’s Medals, pose with CMU President Cheryl Pauls

During her time at CMU, she immersed herself in university life by living on campus, working as a residence assistant, singing in choirs, performing with various music ensembles, and attending chapel services.

She is also involved at Charleswood Mennonite Church and has spent numerous summers working as a camp counsellor at Mennonite Church Manitoba’s Camps With Meaning.

Mike Wiebe, who is originally from Gretna, MB, graduated with a four-year Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Communications and Media. During his time at CMU, Wiebe lived on campus for two years and worked as a residence assistant for one of those years.

He played guitar in worship band, participated in chapel services, sang in a number of choirs, and worked on campus as a sound engineer. Like Klassen-Wiebe, he has spent many summers working at Camps With Meaning.

For Wiebe, highlights of studying at CMU included growing deeper in his faith by studying Mennonite history.

“Aside from my communications studies, courses on Mennonite studies and defining Anabaptism have impacted me and made me excited about work in the church,” he says.

Klassen-Wiebe says she has enjoyed studying at CMU.

“I have loved seeing the interweaving of music and faith through my education here,” she says.

Janet Brenneman, Dean of CMU’s School of Music and one of Klassen-Wiebe’s professors, says Klassen-Wiebe demonstrated what it means to be a music student at CMU.

“She got involved in as many music activities as she could, she took her studies very seriously, she got involved in the life of CMU outside of music, and I think people on campus knew her for her music abilities and beyond,” Brenneman says. “She is hardworking, a fine musician, a much-loved student, and a really great person.”

David Balzer, Assistant Professor of Media and Communications and one of Mike Wiebe’s professors, describes Wiebe as a hardworking, passionate student who demonstrated creativity in his assignments.

At the same time, Balzer notes Wiebe’s contributions to the CMU community outside of the classroom.

“Mike just simply invests in people,” Balzer says. “If he’s passionate about the academic side, I think he’s equally passionate about noticing people and giving what he has to them.”

Both President’s Medal recipients are in the midst of discerning what comes next in life.

Right now, they are working together for the next three months as co-directors of the summer program at Camp Assiniboia, located 20 minutes southwest of Winnipeg.

“I hope that my future will be able to integrate my love of people, of music, and of faith in some way,” Klassen-Wiebe says.

Mike Wiebe says that receiving the President’s Medal has caused him to reflect on his CMU experience and appreciate it even more, because he has realized how invested he was in the university over the past four years.

“This place has really impacted my life… and I think I’ve somehow, in some way, made CMU a part of my daily living,” he says.

About CMU
A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU’s Shaftesbury campus offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences, and social sciences, as well as graduate degrees in theology, ministry, peacebuilding and collaborative development, and an MBA. CMU has over about 900 full-time equivalent students, including those enrolled in degree programs at the Shaftesbury and Menno Simons College campuses and in its Outtatown certificate program.

For information about CMU visit www.cmu.ca.

For additional information, please contact:
Kevin Kilbrei, Director of Communications & Marketing
kkilbrei@cmu.ca; 204.487.3300 Ext. 621
Canadian Mennonite University
500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB  R3P 2N2

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CMU Celebrates the Grand Opening of Marpeck Commons

‘With honour and joy, we say thanks,” says President Cheryl Pauls

Speeches, songs, prayer, conversation, laughter, and excitement marked the opening of Marpeck Commons, Canadian Mennonite University’s new library, learning commons, and bridge.

IMG_0178
CMU’s Terry Schellenberg, Vice President External, welcomes over 300 people to the grand open ceremony for the university’s new library and learning commons

More than 300 faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends filled the building for its Grand Opening and Dedication ceremony, held this past Saturday, November 29.

“Today, we celebrate the possibilities for the university and far beyond,” said Vice President External Terry Schellenberg.

Plans for a new library, with a bridge that would connect the north and south sides of CMU’s campus, began to take shape more than 15 years ago. Construction began in July 2013.

President Cheryl Pauls reflected that a common question she faced during the building process was: Do universities still need libraries?

If they are merely places to store books, the answer is no. If they are spaces that draw students into conversations, then the answer is yes.

“The greater the stores of knowledge available at the push of a thumb, the greater the yearning for experientially-based connections amongst people enabling sound research, shared understanding, deep friendship, and trustworthy community,” Pauls said.

President Emeritus Gerald Gerbrandt, who led CMU from its inception in 2000 until 2012, recalled the meeting in 1998 where the idea of a new library and bridge first took shape.

“(The bridge) represents a larger vision, symbolizing CMU’s commitment to building bridges that overcome all kinds of divisions—not only between the two founding denominations (Mennonite Brethren and Mennonite Church), but among us, as well as between us and others,” Gerbrandt said.

Jerald Peters, Principal Architect at ft3, said that designing Marpeck Commons presented a challenge that he and his colleagues were eager to take on.

“It’s a challenge to design a building that has so many opportunities,” Peters said, adding that those opportunities included unifying a divided campus and welcoming friends and neighbours to CMU, all while being sustainable and creating a building that is “transparent and yet (has) a presence.”

Ribbon-cutting at Marpeck Commons with (l-r) Elton DeSilva, MB Church Manitoba Executive Director;  Marlene Janzen, Marlene Janzen CMU Board of Governors Chair; Jerold Peters, ft3 Principle Architect; Josh Hollins, CMU Student Council President; Elmer Hildebrand, CMU Capital Campaign Chair; Cheryl Pauls, CMU President; Ted Paetkau Concord Projects CEO, Willard Metzger, MC Canada Executive Director
Ribbon-cutting at Marpeck Commons with (l-r) Elton DeSilva, MB Church Manitoba Executive Director; Marlene Janzen, Marlene Janzen CMU Board of Governors Chair; Jerold Peters, ft3 Principle Architect; Josh Hollins, CMU Student Council President; Elmer Hildebrand, CMU Capital Campaign Chair; Cheryl Pauls, CMU President; Ted Paetkau Concord Projects CEO, Willard Metzger, MC Canada Executive Director

More than 700 donors contributed to the CONNECT fundraising campaign, which was established to make the new building a reality. Under the guidance of Campaign Chair Elmer Hildebrand, CEO of Golden West Broadcasting, the campaign has raised more than $13 million toward its $14.4 million goal.

Hildebrand said it has been a pleasure to work with a dedicated fundraising cabinet, and that the team is committed to working together until the campaign reaches its goal.

“We value the support from such a diverse community,” Hildebrand said. “Each gift is important and speaks to the past, present, and hope of the future.”

He added that the building is named after Pilgram Marpeck, a civil magistrate from the early 1500s whose Anabaptist convictions guided his life and work.

“In the turmoil of 16th century, he called for love and tolerance, and perhaps he has something to say to us today,” Hildebrand said.

Speaking on behalf of the student body, CMU Student Council President Josh Hollins noted that CMU has had an enormous impact on the way he interacts with people, thinks about the world, and sees himself as a Christian.

“What takes classroom learning to a whole new level is the conversations that I have with my peers, staff, and faculty over a cup of coffee, and the sharing of personal experiences,” Hollins said, adding that Marpeck Commons creates potential for more of such interactions.

“More broadly, I believe that it will help to foster the enriching community that we experience through coming to such a unique post-secondary institution here in Winnipeg,” Hollins said.

Marpeck Commons also houses CommonWord, a book and resource centre created in partnership with Mennonite Church Canada that will allow students and the public to buy, borrow, and download a wide range of resources, as well as a coffee and snack bar called Folio Café.

The Commons will be fully functioning by January 6, the first day of CMU’s winter term.

IMG_1906
Marpeck Commons—CMU’s new library, learning commons, and bridge—glows in the winter night.

The Marpeck Commons grounds include 100 new trees, a naturalized pond, a low fence and gentle pathways that will welcome community members in.

Pauls invited the community to engage in programs, get to know students and faculty, come for coffee and gelato, come to events, draw on resources, and spend time in Marpeck Commons.

“I invite people… to continue to pray and invest, and cherish the stories told through a university rooted in the Anabaptist faith tradition, moved and transformed by the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, ever inspiring and equipping women and men for lives of reconciliation and service in church and society,” Pauls said.

“With honour and joy, we say thanks.”

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About CMU
A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU’s Shaftesbury campus offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences and social sciences, and graduate degrees in Theology and Ministry. CMU has over 1,600 students, including those enrolled in degree programs at the Shaftesbury Campus and in its Menno Simons College and Outtatown programs.

For information about CMU, visit: www.cmu.ca.

For additional information, please contact:

Kevin Kilbrei, Director of Communications & Marketing
kkilbrei@cmu.ca; 204.487.3300 Ext. 621
Canadian Mennonite University
500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB  R3P 2N2

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Local graduates receive award from CMU President

Nicole Richard and David Thiessen take home President’s Medals for scholarship, leadership, and service

Winnipeg, May 3, 2012 – Nicole Richard and David Thiessen are the 2013 recipients of Canadian Mennonite University’s (CMU) President’s Medals.

CMU President Cheryl Pauls with Nicole Richard and David Thiessen
CMU President Cheryl Pauls with Nicole Richard and David Thiessen

CMU President Cheryl Pauls awarded the medals during CMU’s 2013 Graduation Exercises this past Sunday, April 28. Richard, who graduated with a Bachelor of Music Therapy degree, and Thiessen, who graduated with a four-year Honours BA in Biblical and Theological Studies, received the award in recognition of their qualities of scholarship, leadership, and service.

“I was very honoured to receive it,” Richard says. “I was a little surprised … because I know there are a lot of students that really deserved it.”

Richard, 23, and Thiessen, 21, were chosen from a group of 93 graduates.

“Nicole and David are incredibly fine people,” Pauls says. “For those of us who teach and work at CMU, they humble us and exemplify the best ideals of the mission and vision of CMU, which is to inspire and equip women and men for lives of service, leadership, and reconciliation in church and society. Students like Nicole and David don’t merely live out the CMU mission; they extend it beyond what we’ve already seen and imagined. In turn, they are the ones who inspire and equip faculty and staff.”

The selection process focuses especially on students whose academic achievements are matched by their growth as well as potential in the practical application of their education.

While at CMU, Richard—who has a broad musical background that includes playing violin for 19 years, as well as the piano and guitar—led a Fellowship Group and worked as a tutor. She is also involved with leading music at her church, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, and volunteers with Faith and Light, a L’Arche outreach for people with intellectual disabilities and their families.

Thiessen was also involved with music during his time at CMU, playing guitar in a number of worship bands. His involvement in his home congregation, McIvor Avenue Mennonite Brethren, includes volunteering as a youth group leader as well as working to establish a young adults group. He has also participated two short-term missions trips to Peru with MB Mission, a Mennonite Brethren organization that supports international and local missionaries worldwide.

He is currently speaking with MB Mission leaders about the possibility of doing an apprenticeship with the organization.

Richard, meanwhile, will move to Kitchener, Ont. in September for an eight-month internship with kidsLink, an organization that offers multi-disciplinary services for children who have mental health issues.

Both describe their time at CMU as transformative.

“Being in class reminded me of how particular my own perspective is,” Thiessen says, adding that engaging with faculty and fellow students challenged that perspective. “It really broadened out the way I see the world and the way I see my own tradition within it.”

Richard also describes the conversations she had with fellow students as a highlight of her time at the university.

“Being a Roman Catholic at a Mennonite university has been really neat,” she says. “I’ve enjoyed such excellent conversations with people where we’ve been able to share our own faith experiences … [and] the different ways God has led us from different backgrounds. That’s been really inspiring for me.”

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CMU Installs New President Cheryl Pauls

December 4, 2012 – Canadian Mennonite University began a new era of leadership on November 25, 2012 at a Service of Installation for President Dr. Cheryl Pauls.  The Installation, held at River East Mennonite Brethren Church in Winnipeg, drew guests from local and national academic and church communities.

In his welcome, Dr. Paul Dyck, CMU faculty member who served as Worship Leader, framed the Installation as a gathering of a “University, in the presence of the church and the broader community, formalizing our call to one of our own to serve as President.”

Present on this occasion to bring greetings were Mennonite Brethren Church Manitoba Executive Director Elton DeSilva, and Mennonite Church Canada Executive Director Willard Metzger. Also among the guests greeting the new President were Canada’s Regional Minister for Manitoba, Hon. Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safefy; Hon. Erin Selby, Minister of Advanced Education & Literacy, Province of Manitoba; Dr. David Barnard, Chair, Committee of Presidents of Universities in Manitoba, and President & Vice-Chancellor, University of Manitoba; and Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, President & Vice-Chancellor, The University of Winnipeg.

During the Service, Dr. Pauls received a Charge from CMU Board of Governors Chair Marlene Janzen. “Canadian Mennonite University is at one of those irregular but reoccurring milestones that signal institutional progress and renewal,” said Janzen. “Behind lies a lengthy and honoured tradition of effective Christian education; ahead, significant opportunities and the challenge to create environments within and through partners outside the University in which the highest calling, thinking, action, and aspiration is supported and expected, to prepare our graduates for service in the church and society. We are grateful that Dr. Pauls has accepted this call and the responsibilities it entails.”

Reverend John Klassen, Pastor of Emmanuel Mennonite Church in Winkler, Manitoba, delivered the Homily, expressing his conviction that “the church embrace the invitation to be vital partners in the joyous mission of helping young adults see life through specific sets of lenses… I encourage all of us,” said Klassen, “to be sources of inspiration and encouragement as we support Cheryl’s work and as we run alongside her in the faith journey, and in shaping this incredible institution of learning and discipleship.”

In her response, Pauls invited those gathered to see the words, sounds, and symbols of the Installation as gifts, “and I receive them with honour on behalf of Canadian Mennonite University. At the same time, I invite you to share in the joy, the beckoning, and the challenge that rest in these gifts, for you are the cloud of witnesses that surrounds all that has been entrusted to this University.”

During a Community Blessing student, faculty, staff, alumni, Board, and constituency representatives symbolically placed scarves of support and blessing about the President’s shoulders.

Choral music and congregational singing were interwoven throughout and contributed richly to this important occasion.

Together Elton DeSilva and Willard Metzger, representing CMU’s church ownership bodies, shared in blessing Pauls. Speaking for the Mennonite Brethren church family, De Silva said, “CMU, as a university of the church, has an important place in shaping the leaders of tomorrow. We encourage you to keep your trust in God as your lead this University into the future. You stand supported by the prayers and encouragement of the faith community.”

“As Mennonite Church Canada, we renew our pledge to pray for Canadian Mennonite University, and to offer our ongoing support,” stated Mennonite Church Canada’s Willard Metzger. “It is in our efforts together that we experience the continued direction and renewal of the Holy Spirit. May our relationship always be aligned to the activity of God in our midst, that our present endeavours will continue to develop a future that will serve our church and society for the glory of God.”

Mary Anne Isaak, Pastor of River East Mennonite Brethren Church, offered the Closing Prayer.

Dr. Pauls and her husband Bryan Harder were accompanied on this occasion by their two boys, Nicholas and William, and by their parents and many close family members and friends.

CMU expressed appreciation to River East Mennonite Brethren Church for embracing the new role of their fellow-member, Dr. Cheryl Pauls, as Canadian Mennonite University’s President, and for graciously hosting the November 25, 2012 Service of Installation.

A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences, and social sciences, as well as two graduate degree programs. CMU has over 1,600 students, including Menno Simons College and Outtatown students, and is a member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC)

Biography of Dr. Cheryl Pauls, PhD, President of Canadian Mennonite University

Dr. Cheryl Pauls became President of Canadian Mennonite University on November 1, 2012. Her Service of Installation as President was held November 25, 2012 at River East Mennonite Brethren Church in Winnipeg.

Cheryl Pauls began teaching at CMU’s predecessor colleges in 1994, and came to the position of CMU President from that of Associate Professor of Piano and Music Theory. For the past twenty years, Pauls has thrived on exploring a diverse range of things musical together with highly engaged students in both the classroom and the piano studio. As a faculty member, Pauls also played a significant role in the University’s administrative activities; from 2000-2007 as Music Department Chair, and from 2008-2012 as Campus Chair of CMU’s Shaftesbury Campus.

Alongside teaching, Pauls has enjoyed a career as a piano soloist, collaborating musician, and lecture recitalist. She performs a diverse spectrum of music and has made a few forays into harpsichord playing; however, she’s known best as a player and active apologist of new music. Pauls has been active in Winnipeg’s new music scene, curating concerts and performing regularly for GroundSwell and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s New Music Festival; she also has been heard regularly on CBC radio broadcasts and in concert at universities, academic conferences, and concert series across the country. She credits Luciano Berio, György Ligeti, Elliott Carter, and many local composers for shaping her love of pieces for which there isn’t already a template of how the music goes. Pauls’ most recent project is a recording of Carter’s recent piano music. She considers this collection to be the most delightful set she’s ever encountered; Carter happened to pen these short pieces between the ages of 85 and 100.

Many of Pauls’ research projects seek to interface studies in music theory and performance with those in memory, physiology, liturgy, and cultural expression. Her recent publications include essays that engage the agency of musical metaphors within theological and socio-cultural studies. At the same time, she endeavours to explore what we think we’re doing with musical practices. Pauls also enjoys creating multi-media liturgical and concert projects in collaboration with her husband, Bryan Harder (and occasionally also their sons, Nicholas and William).

Pauls holds a doctorate in piano performance from the University of British Columbia where she studied piano with Jane Coop, Douglas Finch, and Robert Silverman, and music theory with John Roeder. Prior to that, she completed an M.Mus. degree at UBC, a B.Mus. at University of Manitoba, a BA from The University of Winnipeg, and a Bachelor of Religious Studies from one of CMU’s processor colleges, Mennonite Brethren Bible College.

Cheryl Pauls grew up in St. Catharines, Ontario, and came to Manitoba in 1983. Along with her husband and children, she is part of the River East Mennonite Brethren Church in Winnipeg, where she participates in worship leading and music and recently completed a four-year term as church moderator.