Bob’s Letter to Alumni

TWU President, Bob Kuhn, recently sent an email to alumni introducing himself and sharing hopes for the future of TWU.  If you haven’t had a chance to read it, see below.

Dear alumni,

When serving as the President of the Trinity Western College Student Council in 1971/72, it never would have crossed my mind that, over 40 years later, I would return to campus to take on the responsibility held at the time by our much loved Dr. Cal Hanson. Even as recently as a few months ago I would have found the suggestion laughable. However, by choosing me to serve as President (Interim) of Trinity Western University, the Board of Governors has taken a step in a new direction. Not only have they trusted the leadership of the University for the first time to an alumnus, but a lawyer with no experience leading an institution or reputation in academia. My learning curve is steep. I suppose it would be for anyone. But with the assistance of many of the staff, faculty and students, and with the support of many alumni peers, I am beginning to get my feet under me.

For the last several years I have been working along side a team of dedicated alumni to establish and grow a new, independent, alumni-driven TWU Alumni Association.  Much has been accomplished, and as I leave my post with the Board of Directors, it is with confidence knowing that a committed group of your fellow alumni will continue serving as stewards of our ever-expanding alumni community. This group of your peers is thoughtfully discovering ways for you to have a meaningful place in the TWU community, where alumni are connected, engaged and impacting the life of the University.

This is a unique time for alumni of Trinity Western University, a time when alumni are stepping up and taking responsibility for the future of TWU.

It is my belief that we as alumni cannot help but embody the mission of TWU. We are implicitly tied to the University’s mission statement. We are called to be the “godly Christian leaders in the various marketplaces of life”. We are the progeny that TWU exists to produce. It is this timeless connection to the University’s mandate and the timely rise of alumni in the leadership of the University that convinces me now is the time for all alumni to link arms to protect and promote our alma mater. The University will not succeed without the enthusiastic involvement of its alumni.

Almost every alumnus I meet expresses disappointment, past and/or present, in the lack of engagement with TWU. While that experience/perspective is changing, rebuilding trust between the institution and its alumni has been slow. For instance, the percentage of alumni that support TWU financially remains exceedingly low. This presents a dilemma, as the most pressing issue facing the University is arguably its current financial circumstance, which continues to leave TWU excessively vulnerable. While financial challenges are felt by public institutions, it is felt more acutely by private, donation-dependent schools such as TWU.

As a University, and as caring alumni, we must find creative and cost-effective means to establish long-term sustainability for our alma mater. I am committing myself to pray and use my best efforts to pursue all viable means in the coming months to move beyond the current survival paradigm. I know God works through our weaknesses. He wants us on our knees relying on Him. But I am equally certain that God has not given us a spirit of fear, disunity or distrust. Those are Satan’s strategies. Please join me in praying for a spirit of rebuilt trust , restored unity, and fresh confidence that the best days of TWU’s unique ministry and mission are ahead.

For far too long, alumni have been left on the sidelines of University life. But this is changing and it must continue to change.  I am committed to listening, to taking actions that build trust and to working with the Alumni Association on initiatives to strengthen connections with other alumni and the University.

In the coming months, I will invite you to consider ways to participate in the life of the University. In addition to supporting the work of the Alumni Association, I commit to the following:

  • To produce for distribution by the Alumni Association an Annual Report with financial statements outlining the current economic health of the University.
  • To make available to alumni the University’s current business plan.
  • To communicate regularly with alumni through a variety of channels on not only the successes of the University, but also the challenges, hardships and failures.
  • To work with the Board of Governors to connect you with the work they are engaged in, whether issues of governance, policy making or decisions related to the Presidential search.  I will do this to ensure that we as leaders are accountable to the TWU alumni community.
  • To work with the Alumni Association to engage you, in the extent you are interested, with meaningful opportunities to invest in the future of TWU, whether it be with your time, expertise or finances.

I am committed to working to ensure TWU’s future success, but I cannot do this without you. I am asking for your support, for your prayers and for your willingness to work together. If, at any time, I am disappointing you, or taking steps that you believe are not in the best interests of Trinity Western or not in line with the Christian values that form the foundation built by our school’s faithful founding fathers, I trust that you will talk to me first. In truth, I am asking you to trust me. If I evidence untrustworthiness, I expect to be called on it and held accountable.

Alumni peers, it is truly a new era for Trinity Western University alumni. I hope you will consider participating in the life of the University to ensure TWU continues to produce alumni of exceptional quality and character for decades to come. We commit ourselves to this not simply for the success of an institution or its students, staff and faculty, but for the sake of the Kingdom and to the glory of our Heavenly Father.

Bob Kuhn
President, Trinity Western University

P.S. For your reference, here are links to TWU’s announcement of my appointment and my personal blog that chronicles my journey with Parkinson’s.