Saskatoon college saved at 11th hour

By on June 1, 2005

An 11th-hour surge of contributions in early May has allowed Saskatoon’s College of Emmanuel and St. Chad, an Anglican theological school, to withdraw a recommendation made in late April that it close.

“I’m overwhelmed with the generosity and commitment of Anglicans and others from Saskatchewan and the rest of Canada. Since we announced we would likely have to close, the outpouring of moral and financial support has been tremendous,” said principal Walter Deller in a statement.

On April 26, Mr. Deller announced that he would recommend to the college council that the school close on May 31 – just seven months after it launched an $8.5 million fundraising campaign to mark its 125th anniversary.

The council met May 5 to 7 and learned that two anonymous Saskatchewan donors decided to allow their combined capital campaign gifts of $600,000 to be redirected toward the college’s operations.

This will allow the college to offset its operating deficit, with some adjustments, for the next three years, the college said.

With the redirection of the gifts, the capital campaign total is now about $300,000 in donations and pledges, said Mr. Deller. The college will be working hard to attract a major lead gift in the $1 million range to boost its endowment or establish a teaching chair. “We did a feasibility study that indicated we could raise $1 million to $3 million, but we aimed at $8.5 million because that’s what it would take to put our endowment in a state to underwrite the kinds of deficits we’ve been running,” said Mr. Deller. Next year, he estimated, the college would have recorded a $250,000 deficit if it had continued with four faculty members. “In order to balance the budget, we would have had to go down to one faculty person and that’s not a program,” he noted. The college’s endowment stands at $3 million.

The college’s convocation took place May 6 and Mr. Deller noted that the graduating class of 12 is the largest Emmanuel and St. Chad has had for several years. Students now in the middle of their studies at the college were shaken by the news that the college might close, he said.

Emmanuel and St. Chad serves the ecclesiastical (church) province of Rupert’s Land, which includes 10 dioceses in the prairie provinces and the Arctic. The college and its partner schools, St. Andrew’s College (United Church of Canada) and Lutheran Theological Seminary, are located on the campus of the University of Saskatchewan.

The University of Emmanuel College, founded in 1879, is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in Canada. It has been affiliated with the University of Saskatchewan since 1911. In the 1960s, it merged with St. Chad’s College, which was formerly located in Regina. The college has prepared almost 1,000 students for ministry. The college also offers a Diploma in Indigenous Anglican Theology in partnership with the Dr. William Winter School for Ministry in the diocese of Keewatin.

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  • Solange DeSantis

    Solange De Santis was a reporter for the Anglican Journal from 2000 to 2008.

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