Dr. Robert J. Graham was inaugurated, formally beginning his tenure as Redeemer’s fourth president, at a ceremony on March 1, 2019. Redeemer’s board, alumni, academic leadership and an array of partner organizations all took part in the event.
Graham, who brings to Redeemer 10 years of experience in senior leadership in Christian higher education, began his work with the university in August. He holds a PhD in sociology from the University of Cincinnati and a master of gerontological studies from Miami University. Prior to Redeemer, Dr. Graham served as provost and vice president of academic affairs at Grove City College and at Waynesburg University.
The spring inauguration ceremony was steeped in tradition and included the presidential investiture, a presidential address, titled “Facing a Task Unfinished” after the hymn of the same name, and spoken and written greetings from peer institutions. During the presidential investiture, Dr. Graham was presented by board chair Jason Schouten with the rights, privileges and responsibilities of the president’s office, which was followed by four symbolic presentations. Dr. Graham received the presidential medallion, presented by board member Bonnie Desjardins; a Bible, signifying the passing of the torch, from former interim president Fred Verwoerd; the provincial charter, presented by Sandy Shaw, MPP of Hamilton West, Ancaster and Dundas; and, finally, a summary of Redeemer’s religious basis and identity presented by board member Liz Tolkamp.
Final greetings were given by a delegate on behalf of McMaster University and Mohawk College and by Redeemer’s Alumni Association president, Shirley Hoogstra of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU), Mayor Fred Eisenberger, Steven Timmermans of the Christian Reformed Church of North America (CRCNA) and Donna Skelly, MPP for Flamborough and Glanbrook. Alumnus Bill DeJong ’93, a pastor at Blessings Christian Church, closed the ceremony with prayer.
“All of us are here today because, close to 40 years ago, a community was dedicated — often sacrificially — to creating a Christian university in Ontario. Today, we continue to prepare Redeemer students to be God’s hands extended to their communities and our culture, in every realm of human endeavour and in every place where God leads them,” Dr. Graham said before the ceremony. “It is a privilege to carry this legacy forward and join our community in honouring the calling that God gave the founders of Redeemer University College: establishing a place where lives are changed, minds are developed and hearts are shaped and emboldened to serve God.”