Markers of a Legacy
Redeemer’s campus is home to many features that encourage worship, prayer and contemplation and rich reflection on the university’s distinct identity. Read on for some historical glimpses into a few that stand out.
4 min. read
September 29, 2022

Stained Glass Window

Located at the peak of the Peter Turkstra Library, the stained glass window is of the “triumphant lamb” surrounded by palm fronds, which is also the top portion of Redeemer’s official coat of arms. In the university’s early days, when the coat of arms was registered with The Canadian Heraldic Authority (CHA), Redeemer was also granted an academic banner and a badge that contained only the lamb and palm fronds. In 2005, during the library’s expansion, then-president Dr. Justin Cooper recalls that the badge’s design was translated onto stained glass to “make the front [of the library] prominent in a way that communicated Redeemer’s identity.” Later on, the class of 2005 gifted the campus with a copy of the window that still hangs in the library. Cooper regards it as “one of the rich symbols of Redeemer’s identity … The university’s motto is ‘Agnus Dei, Omnium Rex,’ which translates to ‘Lamb of God, King of All’ … In a nutshell, that little badge speaks volumes about what Redeemer is all about.” Another striking image of the Lamb can be found in the staircase mural near the library titled “There is a River,” which was painted in 1996 by Matth Cupido, Redeemer’s former artist-in-residence.

Whaley Teaching Garden

Located south of Calvin Court, the Whaley Teaching Garden is named after Vivian Whaley, a farmer who owned 26 of the 50 acres that would become Redeemer’s Ancaster campus. The university’s founders purchased the remaining property from him with the agreement that he could continue to live in his mobile home and do some farming on the land. Until his death in 1995, Whaley’s agreeable demeanor and the crow of his roosters each morning were a fixture on campus. Today, the Whaley Teaching Garden is a peaceful retreat for Redeemer students and employees as well as a place of hands-on learning for biology and environmental science students and elementary and high school field trips.

Prayer Room

Redeemer’s prayer room was proposed in the early 2000s by students Rev. Dr. Simon LeSieur ’05 and Dylon Nofziger ’05. As members of the Church in the Box (now Rooted Worship) prayer team, they were involved in hosting a 24/7 prayer week in the common room of Augustine Hall. Due to popular demand, one week extended into several. According to Nofziger, the two began to wonder why “there wasn’t a place set aside for prayer if that’s something so important to our community.” From there, they developed a proposal containing the look and theological rationale of a prayer room to then-president Dr. Justin Cooper in spring 2005. The idea was embraced by the university’s administration, and the prayer room was officially dedicated in winter 2006. LeSieur and Nofziger are proud to have left such a tangible mark on Redeemer’s campus and, in LeSieur’s words, they hope that the prayer room will continue to offer students a space where “the life-changing experience that Redeemer offers can really sink in through spiritual practices.”

Pipe Organ

The original request for a pipe organ was made by the music department in May 1985. After looking over solicited proposals from five different organ builders, the Reil brothers of J. Reil Orgelmakers from Heerde, The Netherlands were selected for “having the best instrument at the best price.” Despite challenges that arose, such as concerns about the building’s acoustics and multiple international visits to gauge the layout of the auditorium, construction of the organ began in The Netherlands in November 1986. Upon completion, it was dismantled, shipped to Toronto and arrived in September 1987, making it the first Reil organ in Canada. In his book Stepping Forward in Faith, Redeemer University College 1974-1994, founding president Rev. Dr. Henry De Bolster remarked that hearing professor of music Dr. Christiaan Teeuwsen playing the instrument for the first time gave him “the shivers,” and he “thanked God that we were in the possession of such a beautiful instrument.”

Visit the 40th Anniversary website to view a historical timeline and a special video presentation celebrating 40 years of Redeemer.

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