Reflections On Time As President

Passion For Community

Bob Kuhn (’72) has always been a passionate supporter of Trinity Western and believes his life has been deeply affected by the community during his time as a student and beyond.

“Trinity Western was an incredible part of my life, and Renae’s. We believe it is responsible for a lot of good things that we can give credit for,” says Kuhn. “Many of our closest friends today—even some from my neighborhood—are friends from Trinity Western. We’ve remained friends, 45 years later. That’s just extraordinary.”

It was this passion for the Trinity Western community that led Kuhn to get involved in an alumni task force that was commissioned by then-President Dr. Jonathan Raymond in 2011. Bob and Renae (Guinett, ’72) Kuhn opened up their home to other members of the task force where they met once a week for several months.

These meetings eventually led to the creation of the current TWU Alumni Association, with Kuhn elected as the Association’s second President—Wade Larson (’91) being the first.

From One Presidential Role to Another

Kuhn would have been happy remaining the TWU Alumni Association President and continuing in his career as a lawyer. But it seemed God had other plans.

“One day, about ten or 12 years ago, I was practicing law, and my assistant came in and told me she dreamed that I became the President of Trinity Western,” recalls Kuhn. “I laughed. I thought that’ll never happen.”

That encounter left a seed planted in his mind. When Kuhn was approached by the Board of Governors in 2013 and offered the interim position of University President, he wondered if that was what the dream was all about.

Although this position wasn’t something Kuhn would have ever pursued himself, he thought maybe he shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the request to serve in this capacity. He felt underqualified but decided to trust God and accept the position. After all, he was sure it would only be for a couple of months.

“In my life, God has never moved in a predictable manner,” says Kuhn. “It’s good because I like unpredictability. I get bored easily. I tend to be open to ideas and crazy things maybe others wouldn’t. To that extent, my prayer was ‘Lord if you want me to do this, okay. But you’ll have to enable me because I don’t have what it takes.’”

Embracing the Unpredictable

Kuhn stepped into his new role with a sense of uncertainty, taking solace from Biblical characters who were called to a position they weren’t necessarily qualified for. He expected there to be difficulties. What he didn’t expect was how deeply he would fall in love with the student community.

“From day one, I felt a real sincere love for students, and not just the ones I got along with,” says Kuhn.

He began to see his role as relational, and very quickly became known for having an open door policy. All through the day, students would be seen talking with him in his office or elsewhere on campus.

“When I think of memories here, I think of being with the students. Nothing else even comes close. I would go so far as to say that everything pales in comparison,” says Kuhn.

When he accepted the position of Interim President, Kuhn hadn’t planned to stay for long. But the students changed his mind. He put his name forward and was named Trinity Western’s fourth President and Vice-Chancellor in 2014.

Ambassadors for Christ

Kuhn has faithfully served the University for over five years. In this time, he faced good times and challenges. But even though not everything turned out how he hoped with the opening of a new Law School, he believes Trinity Western will continue to maintain its unique place in the context of the Canadian educational landscape and that it will remain a truly excellent, Biblically-based school.

“I anticipate there will be some difficult days ahead for Christian education in general,” says Kuhn. “But I also am convinced that it is through the difficulties—through pain and loss and adversity—that we grow. And as we grow, we have opportunities to be much better ambassadors for Christ.”

As a thank you for all President Kuhn has done for the University, the TWU Alumni Calgary Chapter has decided to host a brunch in his honour on Feb 2nd. Click here to learn more.