Dr. Robert J. Graham (2018-2021)
Dr. Robert J. Graham began his tenure as Redeemer’s fourth president on August 13, 2018 and was formally inaugurated on March 1, 2019.
Dr. Graham brought ten years of experience in senior leadership at two well-respected Christian universities to Redeemer. Since 2013, he served as provost and vice president of academic affairs at Grove City College, a Christian liberal arts college of about 2,300 undergraduate students. From 2008 to 2013, he provided leadership as provost at Waynesburg University, a Christian institution of approximately 2,500 undergraduate and graduate students.
Dr. Bob Graham holds a PhD in sociology from the University of Cincinnati and a Master of Gerontological Studies from Miami University. His first faculty appointment as a professor of sociology was at Lee University. He quickly became known for his leadership, rooted in the values and strengths of each community he served, and for his insight into the challenges each institution faced. At both Waynesburg and Grove City, Dr. Graham has worked to develop and carry out sustainable and mission-centred strategic plans.
In his senior leadership roles, he has demonstrated an ability to connect with people in order to support the institutions he has served and accomplish their vision for higher education. He leads through listening, caring and connecting. He is enthusiastic about Redeemer’s Reformed identity and he strongly supports the Reformed Christian worldview that is integrated into teaching, research and campus life. The Board believes that Dr. Graham is well-equipped to lead Redeemer into the next phase of its institutional life.
Dr. Hubert R. Krygsman (2010-2016)
Dr. Hubert R. Krygsman became the third president of Redeemer University College on June 10, 2010. Appointed by Redeemer’s Board of Governors to a five-year term and re-appointed for a second five-year term, starting June 2015, Dr. Krygsman stepped down on October 31, 2016.
The appointment to serve as Redeemer’s third president was a homecoming for Dr. Krygsman. Although he was born and raised in southwestern Ontario, and did graduate work on one of the most influential Canadian thinkers of his age, Dr. Krygsman spent two decades working in the American academy.
A native of Aylmer, ON, Dr. Krysgman obtained a B.A. in History and Philosophy from Calvin College in 1984. He completed a M.A. in History from the University of Calgary with a thesis on the theology of George Grant. His Ph.D. is from Carleton University in Ottawa with a dissertation on “Freedom and Grace: Protestant Thought in Canada 1920-1960.” Not surprisingly, his research and publication record includes a focus on modern Protestant Canadian history.
Dr. Krygsman’s other main research interests were on academic structures and curricular design. He was able to explore that area – and implement some of his findings – in a previous appointment as the Associate Provost and Director of the Andreas Center for Reformed Scholarship and Service at Dordt College in Iowa.
Dr Krygsman ended his second term as President of Redeemer University College on October 31, 2016, and he and his wife have moved and now live in Strathroy, Ontario. Their three adult children live in Michigan.
Dr. Hubert Krygsman has been appointed as the next Executive Director of Global Scholars Canada, effective the end of July 2017, and will succeed Dr. Harry Fernhout, who has provided leadership for the past three years.
Dr. Justin D. Cooper (1994 – 2010)
Dr Justin D. Cooper ended his third term as President of Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ontario, having first been appointed in 1994, and completed his presidency in June of 2010. Under Dr Cooper’s leadership, Redeemer grew to a respected institution of over 900 students, having gained provincial recognition as an undergraduate university, added programs including an accredited faculty of education, and expanded its facilities, including additional residences, a library/classroom wing and a soccer complex.
Dr. Cooper has been associated with Redeemer since 1980 and has also served as a faculty member in Political Science and, from 1986 to 1994, as Vice-President (Academic). He received his MA and PhD in Political Science from the University of Toronto and his BA from Trinity Christian College in Chicago. He also received an honourary doctorate from McMaster University in 2010. Dr. Cooper is an author and speaker, with articles in both scholarly and popular publications; in recent years his main focus has been academic leadership and community service.
In the academic arena, he completed two terms as a board member of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, an organization of over 100 Christian liberal arts institutions based in Washington, DC, served on the board of Christian Higher Education Canada (CHEC), an organization of 34 member institutions founded in 2005 and on the Executive Committee of the 10-member Association of Reformed Colleges & Universities (ARCU). He was appointed the Executive Director (part-time) of CHEC, effective July 2010, and retired from that position in September 2020. He also served part-time as Executive Director of ARCU until 2012. Additionally, Dr. Cooper has had roles on institutional visiting committees for the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (now Universities Canada) and for Ontario’s Postsecondary Education Quality Assessment Board (PEQAB).
Locally, he has served as part of the City’s Community Team for the 2010 Commonwealth Games Bid and completed four years on the Board of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce as a post-secondary education representative, also serving on the Chamber’s Executive Committee, Nominating Committee and Government Affairs Committee. He was a member of the Jobs Prosperity Collaborative, formerly know as the Hamilton Civic Coalition, and its Innovation and Learning Group. In 2009 he joined the board of the Hamilton Community Foundation and currently serves as Past Chair. He was selected as one of six Hamilton citizens to be inducted into the Gallery of Distinction in November 2009.
Currently Dr. Cooper also serves on the boards of Global Scholars Canada based in Toronto ON, the Langham Partners (Canada) and his alma mater, Trinity Christian College, Palos Heights, IL, as well as on the Finance & Investment Committee of the Hamilton Community Foundation. He and his wife, Jessie, live in Dundas, have two married sons and eight grandchildren and attend First Christian Reformed Church in Hamilton.
Dr. Henry R. De Bolster (1980-1994)
Redeemer’s Founding President, Henry De Bolster, was appointed even before Redeemer opened its doors to students, and he guided the nascent institution through the challenging early days of its existence.
Trained as a bookkeeper in Holland, Henry De Bolster studied for a career in ministry at a number of places in Ontario and Michigan, eventually graduating from Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, MI. He served as pastor in Christian Reformed churches in Brampton, ON, Calgary, AB and St. Catharines, ON. It was during his time in St. Catharines that Rev. De Bolster began his involvement with the Ontario Christian College Association (OCCA), which was exploring the possibility of setting up a Reformed Christian college in Ontario.
In 1981, after 5 years of working on the Board of OCCA, Rev. De Bolster was asked to serve as President of the yet-to-open institution. Working with the Board, De Bolster was tasked with assembling a faculty, attracting students, finding a campus and raising the support necessary to begin this wildly ambitious endeavour of faith.
Through God’s blessing and faithfulness, Rev. De Bolster oversaw the opening of Redeemer in September, 1982 with 97 students, 8 faculty and rented facilities. He was also present for many other firsts through the next 12 years of his presidency, including the acquisition and building of the current Ancaster campus. When he retired in 1994, Redeemer was home to more than 400 students and it had developed a well-regarded reputation for the quality of its academic program. For his work in establishing Redeemer, McMaster Divinity College awarded him an honorary doctorate degree.
After retiring, Rev. De Bolster returned to the ministry, serving churches in the Hamilton area as a guest preacher and visiting pastor. Rev. De Bolster passed away on April 22, 2016.