It was the spring of 1985, and freshly graduated high school student, Ruth Ann Schuringa (nee Dykstra), had the world at her fingertips. A small town girl from Huron County, Ruth Ann dreamed of pursuing a post-secondary education in a Christian environment. With many well-established Christian universities to choose from, Schuringa chose to take a chance on a brand new, small university just a few hours down Hwy. 403—Redeemer College.
Hoping to pursue midwifery, Ruth Ann began her Redeemer journey in the sciences, but quickly detoured to joining the music program, studying under professors like Dr. Chris Teeuwsen and the late Dr. Bert Polman.
“Dr. Bert—my professor and academic advisor—was so gracious, kind and wise,” says Schuringa. “Both he and Chris were excellent music professors and I never felt short-changed in the music program [which was fairly new]. There was a smallness and a newness to it that felt like family within the department.”
I’m grateful to God for the people I met and lived with and grew in relationship with.
A student full of zest for her studies, Schuringa also jumped feet first into student life at Redeemer. She toured with the very first concert choir, starred in on-stage productions and helped bring the varsity women’s volleyball team to gold in 1988.
In 1989, Schuringa received Redeemer’s very first Faculty Award—an award presented to a student who best exemplified academic excellence, Christian leadership and active participation in life at Redeemer. Feeling known, seen and celebrated, the award bolstered her confidence in her choice to pursue post-secondary education in a school that was fairly new on the scene.
“I can never say enough about the friendships formed during this time of my life. I met my life partner at Redeemer and together we both have lifelong friends from our time there. I’m grateful to God for the people I met and lived with and grew in relationship with.”
Through the years, Schuringa has continued to allow the thread of worship to weave through her career, teaching piano in her home, leading worship conferences, workshops and seminars at local churches, and working as a worship director at a number of congregations. And today, watching from afar, Schuringa is excited to see how Redeemer has grown since those early days nearly 38 years ago.
“I’ve been encouraged to see Redeemer grow in enrolment in the last number of years, and the addition of new programs. I’m also encouraged to see more denominations being represented since I was at Redeemer. I have seen many students grow and thrive and learn over the years, and I’m grateful for the many relationships being formed through the years at Redeemer.”