Past Presidents



Dwayne Uglem: 2004–2013

By Julie Cole

Dwayne Uglem
When Dwayne Uglem first came to Briercrest as a college freshman, he had no idea that his relationship with the school would extend far beyond his college degree.
"My first day on campus was registration day," Uglem explained. "I'd never been to this part of Saskatchewan and certainly never been to Briercrest."
The Bawlf, Alta. resident followed in the footsteps of leaders and friends when he came to the school in Caronport.
"Our pastor had gone to school here," Uglem said. "Several people I'd gone to high school with were considering coming to Briercrest. I had these people talking to me about Briercrest and I liked what they said."
In between his second and third year at Briercrest, Uglem married his high school sweetheart, Janell. Upon college graduation in 1987, the couple considered their options.
"We were toying with missions or going to Trinity Evangelical Divinity School for more studies or the option of staying here to do an internship," he said. "We ended up staying here to do an internship and as a result I just went straight into the seminary program and did my MA in leadership and management."
Uglem's graduate school internship was with Paul Magnus, one of his leadership instructors who would also eventually become Briercrest's president.
"That was an easy fit," he said. "I'd done an internship with him my last year of college."
The internship ended up being a great introduction to many of the inner workings of Briercrest.
"I think in that first six months I worked in four or five different departments," Uglem recounted. "I did a little bit of everything."
Magnus recalls working with the intern.
"He impressed me as a strategic learner with high potential to both lead and manage," he said. "Few students have demonstrated more readiness and aptness to learn both theory and practice."
The internship forged a long-lasting working relationship between Uglem and Magnus.
"From that point on, I had the delight of working directly with him for 17 years," Magnus replied. "When I became president, I had him join the president's management team and he soon became my executive vice president. He was my opposite and managed with me and my team with strength, wisdom and humility. My sense is that I needed him throughout my leadership for strength no one else could bring."
When Magnus decided to pass the baton to the next Briercrest president, one of the candidates he suggested for the job was Uglem.
"I was delighted to hear that the board did a wide search and that they did select Dr. Uglem as the one who would be best to lead for the next chapter," Magnus said.
It took some time for Uglem to finally agree to be Briercrest's fifth president. When the board initially asked him to put his name in for the position, he declined.
"I think people have often described me as 'the reluctant president,'" he said. "I think that's a fair and accurate description."
After the board did its initial search, they came back and asked Uglem once again if he would consider the position.
"I said a conditional yes," Uglem explained. "I said, 'Yes, if you understand what you're getting. Yes, but it's probably only a good fit for a season.'"
That season has lasted eight years and has seen many developments at Briercrest. Uglem sees himself as the person who was honoured to see the completion of some projects that other leaders at the school began.
"Tremendous investment had gone into preparations for an arena," he said. "We had the privilege of building it. Tremendous investment had gone into university affiliation and expanded degree granting. We got the privilege of actually seeing that legislature come into force and being here to process the first application."
A recent challenge Uglem has faced has been walking through the legislative process that would give greater recognition of Briercrest degrees.
"There's been lots of legwork," Uglem said.
Karen Bergren, Uglem's administrative assistant, has witnessed Uglem's patience to stick with the process.
"Dwayne's determination to follow through was huge," she said. "It was meeting after meeting, and then you'd realize you were back at square one. Then you go to more meetings. I think it was very discouraging sometimes."

Briercrest board chairman Glenn Werner praises Uglem for these efforts.

"Dwayne's persistence and diligent strategic focus to build relationship with the leaders and decision-makers in the post-secondary education fraternity in Saskatchewan has been successful," he said. "The ongoing developments towards accreditation at that level attest to his leadership and efforts."

Uglem is humble about what he hopes his legacy at Briercrest will be.

"Someone that worked on the foundations for a strong tomorrow," he said, describing how he would like to be remembered.
The president is confident about how he would like to see Briercrest in the future.

"Flourishing in our mission," he said. "I hope we're urging people to seek the kingdom and helping others understand we're profoundly shaped by Jesus and formed for lives of service. That takes spiritual and intellectual training. I don't know how that will be packaged (in the future), but I hope that will be what's flourishing."


Paul Magnus: 1996–2004

By Chrissy Dennis

paul_magnus.jpgWhatever his role at Briercrest, Paul Magnus has been developing leaders.

Magnus, who currently serves as distinguished professor of leadership and management in the seminary, served eight years as Briercrest's president from 1996 to 2004.

"I think one of the things that I look back on with the greatest delight actually started before I was president," he said as he reflected on his career at Briercrest. "It was the opportunity to coach people to believe in what they had to offer, to begin to dream and to grow their potential and then live their dream."

Many students have benefitted from Magnus' coaching.

"I would say his greatest achievement was his consistent vision and commitment to developing others - coaching, challenging and providing opportunity for others to carry on the important mission of providing Bible based education," Michael Penner, who knew Dr. Magnus as both a teacher and as a boss, said. "In all of his time in primary leadership at Briercrest, Dr Magnus knew that leaders are important but of equal importance was investing in the development of future leaders at all levels of the organization."

Another beneficiary of Dr. Magnus' investment and leadership training was Dwayne Uglem, Briercrest's [fifth] president. Dr. Magnus proudly describes Uglem starting out as the youngest president in any Christian institution in North America.

"I think that was probably my highest dream; that there would be people more able than I to carry it forward," Dr. Magnus explained.

When Uglem was asked what it was that made Dr. Magnus a good president, Uglem replied, "His sacrificial commitment to serve the school by doing what needed to be done. He took on the issues of the day and worked to build a better tomorrow."

Going into the presidency, Magnus was already dreaming large and establishing goals that would lead Briercrest into a better tomorrow.

There were six of them.

"These are the six goals that I have in mind and when those goals are realized, I'll wave goodbye to the President's Office," Dr. Magnus told the board.

First, Dr. Magnus was a strong believer in leadership development, team building and coaching. He believed in the value of investing in leadership development so there would be individuals ready to take over after his term as president.

Second, Dr. Magnus saw the need to grow both in strength and in numbers.

"I was always a numbers person; I'm not one who says let's grow our quality and then quantity will come. I contend that... when you sift more sand, you will get more quality."

Magnus pushed furiously for enrollment during his time as president. During Dr. Barkman's presidency, there was a strong focus on buildings. Dr. Magnus wanted to see those buildings filled.

Third, Magnus wanted to change both the internal and external culture of Briercrest.

"I told the board that there is always money out there for what we build. We need money for what we do."

People began to donate money for doing rather than to building, and the entire school's culture changed as a result of this change in thinking. This priority shift provided the opportunity for faculty salaries to increase and create more scholarship opportunities for students.

Fourth, Magnus strove toward organizational health and vitality. When he first began as president, Briercrest had accumulated a significant debt as a result of building upgrades.

"When that debt is cleaned up and we have a bit of a surplus cushion, you can expect me to wave; I'm done," Magnus told the board.

Completely clearing up Briercrest's debt was one of Dr. Magnus' greatest achievements during his time as president.

Fifth, Magnus wanted to see a change in governance. For Briercrest, this meant bringing in outside help to re-mould the inner workings of the governing board. Dr. Magnus looked outward to satisfy this need and did so successfully.

Finally, Dr. Magnus wanted the institution to be energetic in three prongs of education: biblical and theological training, ministry and general studies. Dr. Magnus saw a great need for a balanced educational experience. He saw the inclusion of general studies to be "desperately important" to Briercrest's training in order to be taken seriously by universities. Biblical and theological study was important for the spiritual formation of students, while a ministry dynamic would help train leaders for ministry.

David Wells, a former student of Dr. Magnus' who is now the general superintendent of the PAOC (The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada), said, "Through his leadership, Briercrest demonstrated that it could be a family of schools who were at the vanguard of Christian equipping and ministry development. The future was embraced with faith not fear."

Paul Loewen, who was acquainted with Dr. Magnus through his involvement with the board of directors, said that Dr. Magnus, "had high but not unrealistic expectations of the school."

Eight years later, all six goals were met and true to his word, Magnus decided his term as president was complete.

"I am thankful to God that I was persistent in my sense that it was God's timing," Magnus reflected.

Several key relationships gave Magnus support during his time as president

One of those was with Carlin Weinhauer. Magnus reflected how Weinhauer consistently made phone calls at 7a.m. to say he was praying for him. "That really touched me deeply," Magnus, in recalling these special phone calls, said. "We still hang out when we have the chance."

Magnus always aimed for a balance between leadership and faith. He was a man of prayer and wholly dedicated to the Lord's calling.

"He has lived out a very practical faith in God even through some challenging personal and institutional moments. His faith inspired mine," Wells said.


John Barkman: 1990–1996

By Julie Cole

dr_barkman.jpgJohn Barkman, Briercrest's third president, is known as a man with great influence who has a pastor's heart.

"He is a man of God's Word and he's also a man of his word," Shirley Entz, Barkman's former secretary said. "He practiced what he preached."

"John was known first for his pastoral ability," president emeritus Paul Magnus said. "That stayed true throughout his presidency."

Magnus remembers when he was a Grade 11 student at Briercrest Christian Academy and first met Barkman, a college senior at Briercrest.

"He became a bit of a hero because he played hockey second to none," Magnus exclaimed. "He taught Grade 11 boys' Sunday school, and whenever he scored a goal, it probably made us listen better the next Sunday!"

After graduating from Briercrest, Barkman spent two years doing rural mission work in the US and another two years pastoring in Kenora, Ont., before he returned to Briercrest in 1966 as the athletic director. In 1977, when Dr. Budd took over the presidency, Barkman was appointed vice-president of campus relations which carried responsibility for the elementary school, high school, and all campus ministries.

"I started working closely with Dr. Budd after he took over the presidency," Barkman explained. "I think I was quite different from him, but we got along really well. I started teaching and started being on the road and started doing development."

Barkman is humble about his path from the position of athletic director to the office of president.

"I imagine it may be like David," he remarked. "He got taken out of the sheepfold and became king. That process is more likely the Lord's doing more than ours."

During most of Barkman's time as VP and president, the student body at Briercrest was continually increasing.

"We couldn't grow the premises fast enough for all the students," Magnus explained. "We couldn't raise money fast enough. The pressure was unbelievable in that dimension."

Barkman's ability to connect well with people and raise money for Briercrest was vital during this time and helped to bring in much of the necessary funding for many of the buildings on campus.

"He was 'Mr. Fundraiser' for the school," Entz said. "When Dr. Barkman was president, there was a lot of fundraising going on."

"Oh, my goodness," Barkman exclaimed. "We did a lot of building during the years that I was either VP or president. We processed the elementary school during my time; the library project/seminary wing was sort of done during that time. We built Sundbo and Bergren, and moved in duplexes from Frontier and five-plexes from Coronach."

Barkman cared passionately about Briercrest.

"My life was impacted there," he said. "That's why I wanted to spend my years there - because it changed my life completely."

This passion not only came out in the way he did his job, but also in the way he conducted his everyday life.

"He was very athletic," Entz said. "He would run around the campus and he would pray for all the families as he ran."

This desire to encourage even influenced the way Barkman closed all his letters.

"He always closed all his letters with his favourite verse," Entz remembered. "I Corinthians 15:58 - which says: 'Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.'"

Barkman continues to have firm hopes for Briercrest.

"My hope is that they would stay very strong on the whole concept of Scripture," he said. "That the Word of God will always remain central no matter where they go or what they do. Ultimately we want to have students that are going to make an impact for the Lord's kingdom - whether it's in a secular field or the ministry. That's the ultimate thing."


Henry Budd: 1977–1990

By Julie Cole


The appointment of a new president is always a big decision for a school. It's an even bigger decision when the president who is stepping down founded and led the school for 42 years. Those were big shoes to fill.

On October 2, 1977, Henry Budd was appointed at the age of 46 to be the second president of Briercrest Bible Institute.(BBI).

Budd, a graduate of Briercrest Christian Academy (1947) and BBI (1950) returned to work at Briercrest in 1965 after teaching and serving as principal of Igbaja Bible College in Nigeria.

Upon his return, his keen academic mind and gift for teaching soon became apparent. He was soon chosen to be the dean of the faculty and placed in charge of the entire educational program.

"Dr. Budd was an absolutely excellent communicator," Shirley Entz, Budd's former secretary said. "I always think of him as someone who was able to discern truth really well. It was a gift. He was very passionate about life and about the Word of God."

"Mr. Hildebrand said of him, 'He had one of the best minds in Canada,'" Laura Klassen, former Briercrest librarian remembered.

Henry Hildebrand was confident in Budd's grounding in scripture. Norm Klassen, Briercrest's plant manager during the time of the first presidential transition remembers a conversation he had with Hildebrand about Budd.

"I was golfing with Mr. Hildebrand when they had announced that Henry was going to be the next president," he said. "I asked Mr. Hildebrand, 'Do you think it's really wise to take someone that's so knowledgeable and gifted in preaching and teaching and put him into an administrative role?'
"Mr. Hildebrand said, 'You want someone running this school that doesn't know the Book?'"

Budd's deep knowledge of Scripture became one of the tools he used during his presidency to lead and bring the campus community together. His teaching times during Wednesday night prayer meetings were a favourite.

"I hired a babysitter and came and we weren't even on staff at that time," Laura Klassen said, describing how popular these mid-week services became. "You had Dr. Budd preaching a series of messages on II Corinthians - The Fragrance of the Crushed Life - I remember that."

"Henry Budd's strength was definitely teaching," Norm Klassen exclaimed. "He's one of the best preachers and expositors that I have ever known. Lots of times you'd go by his house at 10 in the evening and his light would be on in the office because he was still studying."

Budd valued excellence in academics - in his own life as well as at Briercrest. When he returned to join the Briercrest faculty in 1965, he had already earned a master's degree from Wheaton. Two years before his inauguration as president of Briercrest he earned a PhD from the University of Oregon.

In their book Beacon on the Prairies, authors Bernard and Marjorie Palmer record that the entire teaching program was revamped under Budd's guidance. This revision caused several colleges and seminaries to accept the college credits of Briercrest students toward their own degree programs.

"We want to be sure that our courses are on the college level," he told the administrative board.

Budd continued in his mission for academic excellence during his time as president.

"Dr. Budd is known for his key work in the accreditation of the school," Entz said. "He was a member of the AABC and he was a board member of the Association of Canadian Bible Colleges (ACBC). He was instrumental in getting the accreditation for this school and also helping other schools to get their accreditation."

"Dr. Budd moved our academic program to something that gave us more credibility as a school," Chancellor John Barkman said. "He was very instrumental."

Budd's pursuit of excellence throughout his term as president is best understood by his own words. In the book Wind in the Wheatfields, Budd speaks about Briercrest reaching its 50th anniversary.

"If there is a human secret to the growth and impact of Briercrest Bible College, perhaps this is it," he said. "Under God, its builders were going for gold. There was a refusal to settle for minimum expectations and standards. There was in many an urgency of spirit, a driving desire to be the best they could be, not primarily for the recognition of men, but for the commendation and glory of God."


Henry Hildebrand: Briercrest president from 1935–1977

by Chrissy Dennis

For some, the name 'Hildebrand' brings to mind the building where Briercrest students spend part of their mornings in worship during college chapel. For others it sparks memory of a man who put his trust in the Lord and who not only helped found Briercrest in October 1935 but also presided over it for 42 years.

hildebrand.jpgHenry Hildebrand grew up in the faith, regularly exposed to his parents seeking the Lord and serving Him faithfully. Hildebrand, however, did not personally experience a conversion to the faith until he was 17 years old. It was at this age that he decided he craved more for his life.

"Though I wanted first to taste this world and its pleasure, there was a deep inner longing for personal reality, for forgiveness of sins, and for a hope of life called the conversion experience," Hildebrand said of his decision to accept Christ.

"His conversion was remarkable in that he did not feel 'the glorious lifting of the burden' that is spoken of dramatically by many converts in their testimonies," said Hildebrand's son Paul, recalling the story he's heard of his father's conversion. "Rather, his assurance grew as he studied the Word of God believing in Jesus. He had been searching for reality and real repentance and not simply for a feeling."

Now equipped with the full armour of God, Henry Hildebrand stepped out into ministry. After attending Winnipeg Bible College for some biblical training, he travelled to Saskatchewan where he began leading Sunday Schools. Though saddled with a passion for ministry, it was during this time Hildebrand received a letter from a Mr. Whittaker from a small Saskatchewan town called Briercrest. Whittaker reported a number of Christians in the small town were proposing to begin a Bible school and felt prompted to ask Hildebrand to lead it.

"Pioneer missions - yes. Pastoral ministry - by now desirable. Teaching the Word - perhaps, possible. I could trust God for such. But, the founding of a Bible college? Impossible, unthinkable!" said Hildebrand of his initial reaction upon receiving such a letter.

It wasn't long before Briercrest began to tug at his heart. Soon, Hildebrand found himself visiting the small town of Briercrest and though he began by pastoring their small church, he eventually accepted the role of president and Briercrest Bible Institute was born.

This was not a journey Hildebrand travelled alone. He and his wife Inger served the school together, along with their five children who eventually came along: Marcia, Evelyn, David, Paul and Glen. Their family was one who put the Lord first but still endured hardships. Even in the midst of presiding over a Bible school and facing new challenges, Hildebrand managed to find time to be a loving husband and father.

"With all of the demands tugging at his sleeves, the lasting love of his family is a remarkable accomplishment," Paul said fondly.

Henry Hildebrand is remembered well by many. For example, Doug Bergren, a neighbor of Henry's and a family friend, described Henry as "honest, loving, kind and firm."

From the testimony of those who have been touched by Henry Hildebrand, it is easy to catch glimmers of his personality and the sort of man he was to know.

"In discussions around the dinner table, with guests, in staff meetings, or in his office, dad was comfortable with himself and he possessed an easy self-confidence," Paul said, reflecting upon some earlier recollections of his father.

Hildebrand was popularly known for his outstanding capacity to remember names. He was always asking about someone's wife, their children, their grandchildren, their closest friends and he remembered everybody's name. Dr. John Barkman, who describes Hildebrand as his own personal cheerleader, explains Hildebrand's aptitude for this.

"Dr. Hildebrand was amazing with names - he would remember people and remember students. Now he worked at it without a question, but he had a good memory, because he spent time praying for them."

Paul also reflects upon his father's capacity for name recall, and insists it was because his father was "interested in those who he met and what they were about."

Not only was Hildebrand a man who loved others but he was also a man who yearned after the Lord. Paul described his father as making God the first priority of his day.

"Every day began with devotions and prayer."

His family wasn't the only witness to Hildebrand's disciplined walk with the Lord. Others around him took notice as well.

"He was an individual that took time for the Lord and it was very evident in his day to day operations in his leadership," says Dr. John Barkman.

One of the ways Hildebrand's faith shone the brightest was during the times the school faced trials. Briercrest Bible Institute was founded in 1935 but it wasn't long before the war years placed a burden on the future of the school. There was a very real possibility that the school could shut down but Hildebrand stood firm in his faith and trusted in the Lord's provision. Sure enough, God kept the doors open. Throughout economic hardships, difficult decisions and even a close-call with the furnace room nearly catching fire, Hildebrand remained faithful to the Lord and trusted in Him.

"His faith did not waiver, he and his family leaned on the Lord," says Marilyn Zink, a family friend and neighbor who was pastored and taught by Hildebrand.

"He modeled reliance on God's provisions for the school," Bergren added.

Hildebrand regularly turned to Philippians 4:19 during these difficult times in the school's history.

"But my God shall supply all of your needs, according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."

Hildebrand put his faith in the Lord throughout his life and ministry but there were also earthly stewards who significantly influenced him along his journey. Hildebrand reports his own parents being of tremendous value and inspiration to him, as they "by practice and by percept...taught me lessons of godliness." His immediate family also played a crucial role in influencing him: his wife and their five children.

Hildebrand was also greatly encouraged and inspired by the many students he had the opportunity to get to know and pour into during his time as president. He reported that the students taught him many lessons, namely remaining young in one's outlook while maintaining optimism and enthusiasm.

"If under God I helped to shape BBC, the college also shaped me and prepared me for the years ahead," Henry Hildebrand said.

After 42 years as president it was time for Henry Hildebrand to step down. The school's constitution required a mandatory retirement at the age of 65. While many could have complained about letting go, Hildebrand remained a willing steward.

"He was very ready...If he would have fought it, people would have caved in right away," Barkman said. "He realized there comes a time to hand it over to younger men. He didn't fight that for a moment. I don't know that you would see a more gracious person giving up his presidency as Dr. Hildebrand."

The presidency fell to Henry Budd, whom Hildebrand described as the right man for the job. The decision to pass the baton, so to speak, was an easy one for Hildebrand.

"This choice is personally gratifying...he has served loyally at my side. I have confidence in God that he is God's chosen man in the succession of leadership.... BBI is now in good and trustworthy hands," said Hildebrand of Budd.

Thus ended Hildebrand's term as Briercrest's president, but his legacy remained. He had many hopes and aspirations for Briercrest. Paul recollects his father striving toward a school that was both academically sound and yet "simple enough to touch the common heart." Most importantly, Hildebrand aspired for a school that remained rooted in the Word.

"His prayer was that the schools would stay true to the word of God and be a beacon of light to the community, province and world," says Marilyn Zink.

As a school firmly rooted in the teaching and application of the Word of God, Hildebrand's simple and yet life-changing mission has been carried out. His legacy as a man who put his faith in the Lord and trusted in His provision is something to be applauded and modelled. It is safe to say this school would not be what it is today without the touch of a humble man who placed God first in everything.

From the words of Henry Hildebrand,

"It is very humbling to reflect upon God's leading and undertaking in the ministry of BBC. He has enlarged our tent, stretched out our curtains, and enabled us to strengthen our stakes. It is an ongoing ministry that we pray will increase in wisdom, stature, and in favour with God and man. Again, we say, thank you to our heavenly Father."