Trinity Western University announced Tuesday that Bob Kuhn will be its fourth president and vice chancellor. Kuhn has served as the university’s interim president since July 2013.
“After 52 years of growth and miraculous accomplishments, Trinity Western University has found its place as a leader among the ranks of Christian higher education,” Kuhn said. “Whether it be in groundbreaking research or by winning championships in elite collegiate sports, TWU has consistently proven that it punches above its weight in transformational university education, maintaining a global impact of significance. I couldn’t be more proud of being an alumnus, and now the president, of such an extraordinary university.”
Kuhn’s appointment to a five-year term follows the unanimous recommendation by the presidential search committee, which conducted a comprehensive search over the past eight months for the best person to assume the position of president. The committee was made up of a broad representation of TWU constituencies.
“In his role as interim president, Kuhn has made significant progress in developing a vision of not just what TWU can and will become (as God provides),” said Board of Governors chair Jeremy Funk, “but also how that calling can be achieved.”
When appointed interim president last July, Kuhn said he was committed to being an encouragement to faculty, staff and students.
“My approach is relational,” said Kuhn. “To me, it’s less about the presidency and more about building relationships with the broad spectrum of constituents that form the Trinity community.”
The time he spent gaining insight and knowledge from students, faculty, staff, parents, and alumni culminated into the development of a draft strategy framework — the New Era — that outlines the way forward for the institution. He announced the New Era vision to friends and supporters at TWU’s 2013 Christmas in the City gala.
“As the Board of Governors, we are eager to see how [the New Era] vision for growth and sustainability can further draw the TWU community together,” said Funk. In the midst of some significant political and social challenges to TWU’s core identity as a Christian institution of higher learning, and with growing tension within Canadian society, Kuhn has proven to be a case of the right person, in the right place, at the right time, the board feels.
“His life experience, professional, community, and alumni contacts, and collaborative and relational leadership style are what TWU requires at this point in its institutional life,” said Funk.
As interim president, Kuhn has not only infused the TWU campus with hope and encouragement, he has also led the legal and very public battle over the University’s proposed law school with strength, compassion, and grace.
A graduate of UBC School of Law and a practicing lawyer for over 33 years, Kuhn is no stranger to leadership at Trinity Western. He served as student body president from 1971-72 and, in 2001, Kuhn led TWU’s legal team all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, successfully defending TWU’s Teacher Education Program vs. the BC College of Teachers.
He will be formally inaugurated as president in September.
“We desire to see TWU remain faithful in its divine calling of developing godly Christian leaders for the various marketplaces of life,” said Funk. “We are confident that Bob Kuhn, a Trinity Western alumnus (’72) and TWU’s fourth president, will lead Canada’s premier Christian university into a new era of profound national and global impact.”
In addition to writing regularly for various award-winning publications, Kuhn has lectured throughout Canada on a broad array of legal topics for numerous groups, such as the Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia; the University of British Columbia; Institute of Chartered Accountants; and the Provincial Court Judges of British Columbia.
In 2012, the TWU Board of Governors conferred on Kuhn an honorary Doctor of Laws in recognition of his service to Canada and to the university, which has spanned over three decades and contributed to the leadership of each of TWU’s three previous presidents. Born in Vernon, Kuhn is married to Renae, also a Trinity alumnus (‘72), and they have three adult children and one grandson.
“In addition to this vision, Bob is extremely passionate about the mission and ministry of TWU, which we see as vital for effective leadership.”