“Like talent scouts discovering the next athletic star, or finding a great new band on Spotify, the world is discovering Trinity Western for its high value. There are things here money can’t buy.”
— Scott Fehrenbacher, TWU’s Senior Vice-president of External Relations
Inspiring hearts and minds
1. ECONOMIC GROWTH
While almost 70 per cent of its competitors missed their enrolment targets last year, one Fraser Valley university has been plotting a course for expansion. As headlines on Fortune.com and other websites reported that U.S. college enrolment had declined for the fifth straight year, north of the border in Langley, Trinity Western University (TWU) was facing a very different kind of challenge.
After three consecutive years of growth—and a 37-per-cent increase in student inquiries for the fall 2017 term alone—the largest faith-based liberal arts university in Canada, TWU, was preparing to admit the largest incoming class in its 55-year history. As a result, TWU commenced its first building project in three decades, a 132-bed dorm, named Skidmore Hall, built in an unprecedented four months.
Growth is part of the university’s five-year strategic plan. Coupled with a unique targeted marketing approach, TWU is planning a 50-per-cent increase to 6,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Growth will be realized in its 47 undergraduate degree programs, 19 graduate degree programs and 12 institutes and centres over the next five years.
2. GOOD NEIGHBOUR
The locals say that having TWU in their neighbourhood is good for Langley, good for business and good for the community. This vibrant, diverse community that started 55 years ago with just 17 students has grown to more than 4,000 students and 400 staff and faculty. It is the second-largest employer in the area after the City of Langley, and contributes economically, socially, spiritually and culturally to the community and its surrounding area.
Trinity Western has played a role in Fort Langley’s rebirth from a quiet historic village to a hip, trendy town. Just a short five-minute drive from campus, the town has been pretty much annexed by students, choosing it as the place to congregate—from a coffee crawl, to hanging out at Trinity Western House. Businesses throughout Fort Langley welcome TWU’s students every fall, and many have partnered with TWU in offering discounts through the Spartan Club.
3. INCLUSIVE STUDENT-CENTRIC COMMUNITY – “INSPIRING HEARTS AND MINDS”
Local and international students are attracted to TWU’s community. TWU offers a fully accredited, elite international education where they are free to explore holistically who they are in one of the safest and most peaceful nations in the world. Langley is located in British Columbia, which is renowned for its natural beauty, and is close to Vancouver, a global destination city. Students have come to TWU from across Canada, overseas and, in growing numbers, from across 20 U.S. states, up from just two states a couple of years ago.
“TWU equips you with life skills that arenottaughtatotherinstitutions. The loving, open and accepting community here helps students grow, find themselves, and go on to mentor others.” —Erin Turko, TWU student
4. ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE
For seven years in a row, Trinity Western University has received an A-plus ranking for quality of teaching and learning.
“Our faculty continue to distinguish themselves as national and international leaders, inspiring the hearts and minds of students and peers alike. In terms of research, faculty members have competed for and received more funding than ever before.”
—Bob Kuhn, TWU President
5. SPORTS, NATIONAL CHAMPIONS
A powerhouse in university sports, TWU has won a national championship at
the highest collegiate level in at least one sport 10 years in a row. The high- profile Spartans have won 11 U SPORTS championships and 23 Canada West regional championships. Six Spartan alumni made the Canadian roster for the 2016 Rio Olympics, four of them in volleyball. Spartan Athletes not only win national championships but maintain an academic standing of 80 per cent or better and are recognized for their outstanding leadership and character.
“As these athletes graduate, they enter the workforce as hardworking, focused individuals who understand teamwork, discipline and self-sacrifice.” —Jeff Gamache,
Director of Spartans athletics.
There are 27,429 TWU alumni serving in every sector of the economy throughout the world. They are described as leaders of industry who are positively impacting the marketplaces of life. Based on the Canadian University Consortium’s Survey of Graduating Undergraduate Students, 96 per cent of TWU’s graduates say that TWU met or exceeded their expectations.
Garry Skidmore, class of ’94, President of the Skidmore Group, states: “I know I had a great experience here, and I want the future generations to have that same experience. As business leaders, as professionals who have done well, let’s start to give back. Let’s start to invest in the next generation.”
TWU alumni have also gone on to make significant contributions to the international community. While they were students at TWU, African-born alumni Jeffery Komant and Richard Taylor were inspired to help Rwandans rebuild their country following the 1994 civil war and genocide. Through their Langley-based Wellspring Foundation for Education, and by partnering with a local church in Kigali, Rwanda, to build Wellspring Academy, their team has been able to train hundreds of Rwandan teachers and launch an innovative School Development Program, now adopted in more than 70 African schools.
7. TWU’S GLOBAL IMPACT
Trinity Western has extension sites in Richmond, B.C., Ottawa, Ont., and Bellingham, Wash.
“In 2013 the TWU School of Business began a partnership with Tianjin University of Finance and Economics to offer the TWU International Business MBA program in Tianjin (also offered
in Langley and Richmond). Now, just four years later, we are delighted to be expanding the program to Shanghai and Beijing. A British Columbia university offering an MBA program in three major Chinese cities is a remarkable achievement and demonstrates the type of higher education partnerships that are possible between Canada and China.
“Businesses today face the challenge of operating in times of economic uncertainty, ever-changing technological requirements and increasing global competition. In our innovative MBA program, students in Tianjin, Shanghai and Beijing now learn necessary business theory while developing communication, leadership and analytical skills needed to succeed in these challenging times. I look forward to seeing the success of our graduates from Tianjin, Shanghai and Beijing as they are recognized as business leaders in China, Canada and around the world.” —Kevin Sawatsky, JD, Dean, School of Business
TWU Gets Some TLC From Alumnus Garry Skidmore
Spend enough time in any space and you begin to feel responsible for its upkeep. That stewardship was especially true for Trinity Western University alumnus Garry Skidmore, who attended the school in 1990 and graduated with a BA in Business in 1994. More than 20 years later, the President of Skidmore Group noticed that his shoes were touching the same carpet as he passed the same furniture in the same rooms of Douglas Hall where he once spent his time studying and socializing. Although he has fond memories aplenty—he and his wife, Kirsten, even met and married as TWU students—Skidmore knew the next generation should have the opportunity to experience a modernized, updated space that evokes a similar sense of pride.
“Like anything in life, styles change,” he says. “Students want to live somewhere that looks appealing and has newer amenities.”
The buildings that need the most love are the dormitories, which Skidmore says haven’t changed in over two decades.
“We all know the old cliché, ‘don’t change something if it isn’t broken,’ but when it comes to dorms, I think you have to modernize. The university has started this process and many floors have been renovated.”
Further renovations include the carpets, millwork, desks, tiles, and glass; in the kitchen there are new cupboards, a sink, stovetop and oven. Students spend a lot of time in these spaces, including Skidmore’s son, who is in third year at the university.
“I know since my time in the early ’90s, the school has built a new commuter collegium, an extension to Fraser Hall, a full renovation of the gymnasium and athletic department, a new Reimer Student Centre, and most recently a newly built dormitory, Skidmore Hall, to house an additional 130 students,” he says.
Even with the upgrades, it was impossible to avoid the areas of the school that still needed some TLC. Skidmore took it upon himself to fund the renovations, one of the ways he gives back to the school that gave so much to him (he is also a mentor through TWU’s business program).
“TWU taught me how to think outside the books, how to think critically, and form my own opinions.”
As for why other alumni should consider giving back—either financially or with their time—Skidmore thinks it’s a no-brainer.
“You want the next generation to have an even better experience and opportunity to be inspired. Lots of universities fundraise to keep their facilities and departments growing so that the legacy of learning will continue to strengthen,” he says. “I love the new look and feel. Every time I step on campus I get flooded with memories and I’m full
of pride, but also I’m excited for all the students who are chasing their dreams. Secretly, I wish I could do it all over again.”
This is the Skidmore family’s second major philanthropic venture, including a recent donation to BC Children’s Hospital. The Alex Skidmore Renal Dialysis Unit acknowledged the gift in the name of Garry’s son, who has had two kidney transplants at the hospital.
For more info go to www.twu.ca