Western Christian College, 1945-2012

Identity area

Type of entity

Corporate body

Authorized form of name

Western Christian College, 1945-2012

Parallel form(s) of name

Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules

Other form(s) of name

  • Radville Christian College
  • Western Christian College and High School

Identifiers for corporate bodies

Description area

Dates of existence

1945-2012

History

In the spring of 1931, Lillian Torkelson, an educator and member of the Church of Christ, recognized the lack of opportunities for formal bible study in southern Saskatchewan. Together with her friend Frances Black, Torkelson organized a summer bible school held at Minton. Classes commenced on July 13, 1931 and were held for three weeks. The following year, the summer bible school was relocated to Radville and continued annually until 1945. In addition to the summer schools, a winter bible school commenced in December, 1932 at Ogema. After three winters at Ogema, the winter school was also relocated to Radville and continued annually there until 1945 (with the exception of 1937 when it was held at Perryville.)

Throughout 1944 and early 1945, interest grew for the establishment of a residential and day school that would offer a Christian education, with an additional expanded curriculum for high school students. Radville was agreed upon as the most suitable location for the school. On July 2, 1945, a provisional board of directors was appointed: Gordon Pennock, chair; Wilfred Orr, vice-chair; J.C. Bailey, treasurer, Hjelmer Peterson and Manley Jacobs, members; and Liilian Torkelson, secretary. Radville Christian College was incorporated under the provisions of the Government of Saskatchewan's Benevolent Societies Act on August 4, 1945. The mandate of the Western Christian College Society was the promotion, establishment, maintenance and conduct of schools of Christian and secular education. Funds for the establishment of the school were raised through the sale of five-dollar shares in the society to members of the Church of Christ who were in good standing.

Radville Christian College offered a winter bible session in the winter of 1945-46. On September 16, 1945, a high school program commenced and was attended by eleven students in its first year. From 1946 to 1957, enrollment in the high school program grew to forty-six students, while enrollment in the bible studies program decreased to five students. In March 1953, Radville Christian College was incorporated by An Act to incorporate Radville Christian College (S.S 1953, c. 123).

In early 1957, a special committee of the College's board of directors was struck to examine the possibility of relocating the school to buildings north of Weyburn. The buildings, formerly occupied by the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, provided for expanded accommodations and close proximity to services in Weyburn. Shareholders voted in favour of relocation of the school, which was officially opened on November 8, 1957. At a meeting the following day, shareholders voted to change the school's name to Western Christian College. The name was changed formally through an amendment to An Act to change the name of Radville Christian College (S.S 1958, c. 104). In 1958, The Western Christian Foundation, Incorporated, based in Texas, was established to receive donations from American supporters of the College and to administer the funds to the school. It remained in operation until 1984 when responsibilities transferred to the Cedar Foundation.

Enrollment in the high school program at Western Christian College grew steadily throughout the 1960s and 1970s, peaking in the 1976-77 school year. In contrast, the bible studies program was discontinued in 1960. However, a junior college program was introduced in 1968 and by 1984 was a degree-granting institution. By the late 1980s, the College's increasing debt, aging infrastructure and difficulties in raising necessary capital funds for renovations forced the board of directors to look at alternatives to the school site at North Weyburn. In 1988, the board was informed that Mackay Residential School, operated by the federal government and located in Dauphin, Manitoba, was closing. It was deemed as a viable acquisition for the school. On March 1, 1989, shareholders voted in favour of the acquisition of the Mackay school and a relocation to Dauphin.

Western Christian College commenced classes in Dauphin in September, 1989 with an enrollment of seventy-nine students. Efforts to expand enrollment began with the addition of grades seven to nine in 1993, with grades five and six added in subsequent school years. By 1999, however, grades five and six were discontinued, followed by grade seven in 2001 and grade eight in 2002. In the late 1990s, the board considered relocating to Regina, which was closer to the church's original constituency and offered greater access to post-secondary institutions and air transportation. A decision to relocate the College to Regina was made in 2001, and received approval by a vote of shareholders late in the year. The school ceased operations in Dauphin in June, 2003.

Western Christian College acquired the campus formerly occupied by the Canadian Bible College and Canadian Theological Seminary in Regina. It operated under the provisions of The Independent Schools Regulations (c. E-0.1 Reg 11) and The Western Christian College (Amendment) Act, 2003 (S.S. 2003, c. 1). It offered a high school program for students in grades nine to twelve (Western Christian High School) and a college program (Western Christian College). Due to declines in enrollment and donations, the board proposed the closure of the school at a meeting of shareholders held on January 28, 2012. Shareholders voted in favour of the school's closure, and Western Christian College and High School ceased operations on June 30, 2012.

Presidents of Western Christian College were: Richard Dacus (1958-1960); E. Daniel Wieb (1960-1973 and 1985-1988); Glen Dods (1974-1977); Max Mowrer (1978-1985; Vince Anderson (1988-1992); John McMillan (1993-2004); Kevin Vance (2004-2010). Karen Cooper served as Chief Operating Officer of the school from 2010 to 2012.

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Functions, occupations and activities

Mandates/sources of authority

Internal structures/genealogy

General context

Relationships area

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Occupations

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Authority record identifier

PA 558

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used

Rules for Archival Description (RAD)

Status

Final

Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Language(s)

Script(s)

Sources

AMICUS Authorities - no entry found

Content of the fonds

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