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Why I Give: Dr. James Christie

Wed. Mar. 15, 2023

headshot of James Christie in suit

I came to The University of Winnipeg the better part of 20 years ago. I took up my duties as the last duly appointed and regularly confirmed Dean of the Faculty of Theology in the Summer of 2005—a bilateral appointment per long-standing tradition between The University of Winnipeg Board of Regents and the General Council of The United Church of Canada. To be Dean of Theology meant being a part of a storied legacy, and one which I truly appreciated during my tenure. The Faculty, born of the Presbyterian Manitoba College 1871; Methodist Wesley College, 1888; and United College, 1938, formed the bedrock UWinnipeg was to be built on in 1967, when the space was gifted by The United Church of Canada to the University upon receiving its official charter.

What motivates you to give, and why?

As Dean of Theology I was part of a school within a school, from recruitment to graduation, offering both graduate disciplines and professional certificates. Helping lead the Faculty during this time was always a source of personal pride. The history of the position and our efforts to expand the facilities have undoubtedly helped motivate me as a donor. Being admitted as full members to The Association of Theological Schools of the United States and Canada (ATS) in time for the University’s 40th Anniversary, and being acknowledged as the top school for student support among 250 other institutions by the ATS meant a great deal to myself and many of my fellow faculty members. Helping preserve this legacy of academic excellence by sponsoring many of the awards tied to Theology at UWinnipeg matters a great deal to me having moved on from the Dean’s position.

What campus initiatives are you most proud of contributing to?

With the Foundation’s support and assistance, there are a number of fundraising efforts aimed at student support and relief that I’ve been a part of during my teaching years at UWinnipeg.

In 2008, at the request of Indigenous Spiritual leaders, we launched the first Diploma in Indigenous Spiritual and Pastoral Care. The program was designed by Indigenous leaders, and shaped by the Faculty to meet the high academic norms of the University at large.

UWinnipeg’s commitment to engagement as integral to education has also helped foster the creation of academic initiatives like the Nanjing Seminary and China-Christian council—both of which were stewarded by the likes of Senator Lois Wilson, The Very Reverend Ted Scott, and The Venerable Bishop KH Ting. Additionally, there were the ground-breaking innovations of The Global College (in the early days of which I was both Dean of Theology and Inaugural Dean of The Global College); and the establishment of the Indigenous Studies program.

In recent years, the Foundation also helped with the establishment of the Freemasons of Manitoba Awards in Human Rights, a global first, and the principal focus over some years of my own donations.

In short, I give because the University is home. I’ve had a long and fruitful partnership, unwavering support and encouragement, and unswerving dedication to the vision and ideals of one of North America’s extraordinary universities.