Phil Harwood Briercrest College and Seminary Alumnus of the Year

Posted: April 18, 2016

Phil Harwood was chosen as Briercrest College and Seminary’s Alumnus of the Year. Harwood came to Briercrest in 1999 for what he thought would be one year but eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Christian Ministry in 2004. After moving to Ottawa to learn French in hopes of doing ministry in Quebec, Harwood pursued a masters program at McGill University in Religion, Law and Public Policy. 

Although entering the political realm was not the original intent, Phil first entered at an entry-level role in the cabinet ministry office. After four years Phil was asked to join the policy team with Prime Minister Stephen Harper. During his time working in the Prime Minister’s office, Phil handled a wide variety of policies pertaining to health, aboriginal affairs, and Canadian heritage, telecommunications and tax policies while also leading the federal budget for 2013, 2014, and 2015. 

Harwood addressed the graduates at Friday’s graduation program and then also at the 80th anniversary breakfast Saturday morning.

“My time at Briercrest equipped me very well and I want to focus on three important ways that it did that,” he said. Briercrest taught him how to think, provided the opportunity to develop rich lifelong friendships and embedded an eternal perspective into his life.

“In my experience Briercrest taught me how to think, and I don’t mean what to think, I mean how to think,” he said, mentioning how it prepared him well for further education and his career.

He added that understanding God’s plan and purpose will completely transform your perspective on how you live.

“You never know what the next chapter is going to look like,” he said.“Regardless of the next chapter or your current phase of life, orient your mindset in your life around the relentlessly advancing, incredibly exciting and deeply fulfilling future that Jesus promises for those who follow him.”

 He also encouraged people to find ways to support the school any way they can.

“This place is special and the work that has been here for decades has mattered and it is going to continue to matter. I hope we all have the privilege of being part of it in the future.”