Prairie College honour and recognize three alumni annually who personify Prairie’s values and have translated their educational experience into distinguished achievement in Christian ministry or the professional world.

Our Distinguished Alumni for 2022 are below, in color! 

Distinguished Alumni Nomination Criteria

One alumnus (or a married couple) will be recognized in each of the following areas:

  • Lifelong Christian Ministry
  • Integration of Christian Faith and Professional Achievement
  • Early Career Excellence – an individual who is 40 years of age or younger


Nominees Must:

  • Be a graduate of one of Prairie’s schools.
  • Have made a significant contribution to the cause of Christ through Christian ministry or in their chosen career.
  • Bear witness to Christ through a sincere walk with the Lord and exemplary Christian character.
  • Be nominated by their peers.


Nomination Instructions

If you know someone who fits our criteria, please send your nomination to alumni@prairie.edu or mail it to PO Box 4000, Three Hills, AB T0M 2N0 with the following information:

  1. Nominee’s name, address, and phone/email. 
  2. Details as to why they should be considered for this award.
  3. Your name and contact details.

Nelson (1975) and Linda (1970) Reed

Distinguished Alumni 2023, Lifelong Christian Ministry

God is good and His mercies are always beautiful! Three-months after Nelson graduated from Prairie Bible Institute in 1975, he and Linda Jespersen married in Washington State. A month later, they moved to Three Hills to serve as PBI men’s dean and infirmary nurse. As newly-weds, PBI friends and community helped nurture them in marriage and family, Christian growth and maturity, disciple making and missions preparation. During summer months, if they were not helping on the farm, Nelson was pursuing a Missions degree at Grace Theological Seminary.

In 1982, God opened the door for Nelson and Linda to join Him in the Philippines serving with Action International Ministries, the mission founded by Doug (’66) and Margi (’67) Nichols (Distinguished Alumni of 2013). The Reeds served in different capacities over the next twenty-five years: raising four third-culture kids, engaging with street people, admin and leadership, church-based disciple making and missions training, and advancing missions in Asia.

After serving in the Philippines, God opened doors to serve all over the world as the International Director of ACTION from 2007 to 2016. From 2016 to 2019, Nelson served as the ACTION Africa Regional Coordinator, and they both helped build ACTION’s teams in Uganda, Malawi, Zambia, and South Africa.

For the last five years, Nelson has been equipping pastors in Nigeria in partnership with Schools For Africa. Most of these pastors’ members live next to Fulani villages where SFA has established more than a dozen schools among Muslim semi-nomadic pastoralists. Some of the pastors and church members teach or help with the SFA schools. The Reeds serve as non-resident missionaries to Nigeria.

They say their greatest joy and delight has been spending time with God, loving and worshiping Him, studying His Word and learning to obey it, spending time with family, friends, and God’s people, making disciples, sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and seeking to engage in good deeds with those in need. They praise God that He gifted them the initial formation of these spiritual disciplines and delights through Prairie!

Special verse to the Reeds’: Titus 2:11-14.

Jim (PHS 1960) and Sharon (PHS 1961) Janz

Distinguished Alumni 2023, Integration of Christian Faith & Professional Achievement

Jim Janz was born in Saskatchewan, Canada, and grew up in Three Hills, Alberta. He graduated from the Prairie High School in 1960 and attended the Bible School for one year. His passion is to help people do more with their lives by discovering and fulfilling their destiny. Jim is the author of “A Rendezvous with Destiny” which was a bestseller in Canada and the US, selling over 50,000 copies.

 

He started his adult working life as a teacher, after graduating from teacher training at the University of Alberta, Calgary, in 1963. He had taught for just two years when a friend of his introduced him to the world of business at 21 and has been very successful in it, reaching the highest levels possible in the business by age of 35. Jim has spoken to almost two million people over his career in dozens of countries around the world, giving them a message of hope, and inspiring them to make a difference.

Jim has also served as the government appointed Chairman of the Foundation Board for Trinity Western University, as member of a task force on small business for the Province of British Columbia, and as a member and the Chairman of nine charitable and religious organizations over the past 45 years. He was Chairman of the board of World Serve for 37 years and Chairman of the Canadian Hour of Power Board for over 35 years as well.

He was on the Independent Business Owners Association International (IBOAI) and has recently served as Chairman and then Governance and Oversight, out of Grand Rapids Michigan while always maintaining residence in British Columbia, Canada.

Sharon has been Jim’s business partner and best friend for over 62 years. They met at Prairie High School and Sharon graduated in 1961. She was born in Mason City, Iowa, and worked in a hospital payroll office before going into business with Jim. She has managed and overseen the administrative side of the business for most of their life and has also inspired thousands with her personal approach to the people she has shared her story with. She has held several positions as director of women’s ministries at their church and has served on the Marketing Advisory Counsel of the Independent Business Owners Board of their business.

Their business operates in seven countries and territories. As independent business owners they have achieved the top awards in the Direct Selling Industry. They recently received the first Mark of Distinction Award from the Direct Sellers Association of Canada.

Jim and Sharon live in White Rock, British Columbia, have four children, nine grandchildren, and one new great grandson, Gus, all of whom are the love of their lives. Their family along with their faith are their top priorities.

Christian (2010) and Kristyn (2011) Mogler

Distinguished Alumni 2023, Early Career Excellence

Christian and Kristyn (Graber) met at Prairie in 2008, and got married in 2010. After graduating, they moved to Christian’s homeland of Germany in 2011. Christian started his own landscaping business with the goal of hiring people who need a second chance in life, being able to disciple them and teach them practical skills. He is passionate about not only creating nice gardens, but also reaching customers with the gospel in a natural, personal way, outside the walls of the church. Kristyn and Christian have three wonderful children, and now that they are in school, Kristyn has begun working for a ministry called “Passion.” She is involved in worship leading and speaks at church services and conferences. She loves meeting believers from all kinds of denominations and comes alive when she gets to live out her calling to teach, inspire, and equip the Body of Christ.

In 2022, the Moglers started a non-profit organization to host and serve Ukrainian refugee families fleeing the war. Within the last year and a half, due to the generosity of countless volunteers and donors, about 50 individuals have found a safe shelter, basic life provisions, a loving community and a new home at the “Lighthouse.” More importantly than simply having their physical needs met, they have heard the Gospel and some have received Jesus as their Lord and Saviour! Once these families have been integrated into the German culture and have moved out into living spaces of their own, the plan is for the building to be fully renovated. Afterward, the Lighthouse will be used to serve the local community as a meeting point, provide low-income housing for those in need, as well as contain space for believers to gather in worship and be discipled.

Leigh ('71) and Irene ('75) Robinson

Distinguished Alumni 2022, Lifelong Christian Ministry

Leigh was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, converted and called to ministry at the age of nine, and, through the influence of a couple of Prairie grads, enrolled at Prairie in the Fall of 1967. After graduating in 1971, he was invited to join Prairie staff as Assistant Dean of Men and lecturer in Practical Theology. The following year he married Canadian classmate Esther Scidmore from Hayter, AB. Two years (1974) later their son, Jonathan was born. On 19 July 1976, Esther and Leigh’s sister were killed in a horrific motor accident. Leigh returned to Prairie and resumed his duties, then as Dean of Students, and fourteen months later married Irene Jensen, a grad of 1975 who was serving on staff as PA to Dr. Ted Rendall.

Irene was born in Denmark and came to Canada with her family when she was three years old. She grew up in Calgary and Innisfail, did her secretarial training in Red Deer, and came to Christ while working as a secretary at the University of Calgary. She was discipled at Foothills Alliance Church and enrolled at Prairie in the Fall of 1971. In her freshman year she was a student in Leigh’s first Personal Evangelism class!

“Apart from the first year on Prairie staff, all our married life has been spent in pastoral ministry in South Africa and Canada.” They are both passionate about the local church and love pastoral ministry. For forty-four years Leigh has had the joy of expounding the Scriptures to several congregations, and, of course, performing all the other pastoral duties. Irene has the gift of hospitality and every year they have hundreds of people in their home for meals and teas. She is a connector and communicator of note. In this season of life, they are both investing heavily in mentoring young people, young couples, and younger pastors.

Prairie ‘infected’ them with a passion for missions and missionaries. Over the years, they have had the awesome privilege of ministry at missionary retreats in about fourteen countries and have always had missionaries in their hearts and in their home.

Heading into their mid-seventies, they are working hard and happily. They loved their years at Prairie and to this day feel the power of the influence of Prairie and its people in their lives.

In giving honour to God and in recognition of lives dedicated to serving the church in South Africa and loyalty to proclaiming the Gospel, Prairie College recognizes Leigh and Irene Robinson as the 2022 Life-Long Christian Ministry – Distinguished Alumni.  

John and Arline Dixon ('64)

Distinguished Alumni 2022, Integration of Christian Faith & Professional Achievement

Born in 1942, John was raised on a farm in Montana and educated in a one room country school. His father died when John was 11 years old, leaving his mother with the farm to run, five children and a niece to raise, along with her invalid sister and father living on the farm as well. It was her faith and courage that set the example for his life. 

After graduation in 1964, John married fellow Prairie graduate Arline Bettis (BC ‘64) in July 1965. He was a youth pastor at a Lansing, MI church and then served as Assistant Pastor of a church in Detroit. By 1967, he realized he was not meant to serve in pastoral ministry and resigned. 

He had no training in anything other than ministry and struggled to find a new career. Even as their daughter was born in 1968, they faced severe financial difficulties during those early years.

Those challenges forced him to gain experience selling insurance and mutual funds, leading to him accepting a starting position with a financial services firm, MultiVest, in 1969. When the firm moved to Florida, his family was finally able to buy their first home. But unjust business practices caused John to resign in 1976. This led him to start an ultimately unprofitable firm, and further financial duress. John persevered, going back to school and received his Master’s in Financial Services in 1983 and his Master’s in Management from American College in 1985.

His career had a major turnaround when he was hired in 1984 as Vice President of Lowry Financial Service. He became President and CEO in 1987 shortly after the firm was acquired by Pacific Life. After another merger in 1988, John was appointed President and CEO of Mutual Service Corporation (MSC). The firm grew substantially, and he served as an executive at Pacific Life for over 20 years. The financial rewards were significant, yet John and Arline were determined to live on 50% of their after-tax earnings, give away at least 20%, and save the rest. He retired in 2008 but has served on many board committees up to 2020.

Arline was called home to heaven on February 25, 2021 after a four-year battle with cancer. She was a wonderful role model as a wife, mother, grandmother and friend.

For John and Arline, their priority was instilling Christian values and strong work ethics in their children. His daughter Sherry has been teaching elementary students at a Christian school in Matthews, NC for 33 years. His son has his Masters in Divinity and serves as the founder and pastor of Ekklesia Hattiesburg in Hattiesburg, MS. John rejoices in his two grandchildren as well.

In giving honour to God and in recognition of their dedicated contributions to faith in the business world in spite of struggles and commitment to raising a godly family, Prairie College recognizes John and Arline (posthumously) Dixon as the 2022 Integration of Christian Faith and Professional Achievement – Distinguished Alumni. 

 

Marijn ('11) and Noortje Goud

Distinguished Alumni 2022, Early Career Excellence

Marijn and Noortje came as a married couple to Prairie from their home country, the Netherlands in 2009. After completing some flight courses from PATC in 2011, they joined MAF in Angola in 2013.

There they have been helping map landmine locations (including on airstrips), been robbed of their camera gear at knifepoint, and saved the lives of many. They are there because of MAF which has opened many doors to serve in their community as well, sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

In giving honour to God and in recognition of his contributions to the Mission Aviation ministry, creativity in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and perseverance in the face of trials, Prairie College recognizes Marijn Goud as the 2022 Early Career Excellence – Distinguished Alumnus.

 

Dr. Alban and Anna ('40) Douglas

Distinguished Alumni 2021, Lifelong Christian Ministry

Anna (nee Schmidt) Douglas was born at Hanna, Alberta, two weeks after the World War I’s armistice was signed in November, 1918, so she is just shy of 103 years of age.  In good health, she rarely misses a meeting at Prairie Tabernacle Congregation.  Graduating from Prairie Bible Institute in 1940, she later went as a missionary to China with the China Inland Mission.  On November 4, 1949, she married her sweetheart, Alban Douglas—an alumnus of Briercrest Bible Institute—but since the communists were advancing rapidly, they had to spend part of their honeymoon on the back of a truck heading down the Burma Road toward Panhsien, Kweichow Province, so they’d be at their station when the city was captured.  

While in China, Alban did market preaching, tooth pulling, and general evangelism in the villages.  Anna concentrated on the medical side of things, including delivering many babies.  Their China-career, however, was cut short when they were expelled in July, 1951.

Sailing to the Philippines in December, 1954, for their new assignment, they spent ten wonderful years in youth work—co-founding the Youth Gospel Center, an outreach and discipleship ministry to Chinese which continues to this day.  During this time, Alban had his various Bible study notes bound into a book—100 Bible Lessons—which has become a Philippines national bestseller every year since publication and is now translated into 20 languages of the world.

In 1965, while on furlough, Alban failed his medical to return to the Philippines.  That’s when L. E. Maxwell asked him to teach missions at PBI, saying, “It’s better to be a small cog in a big machine than to be a big cog in a small machine.”  So, he taught missions, cultural anthropology, Hebrew History, and Elisha until his retirement at 70.  Sadly, he died unexpectedly in 1996 from an allergic reaction to a drug administered to clear a blood clot.

Alban always said that Anna was the behind-the-scenes key to any success he’s had.  But she’s been a Bible teacher in her own right to many women, both overseas, and in Canada. 

In giving honour to God and in recognition of lives dedicated to global missions, ministering and teaching in China, the Philippines, and Canada, Prairie College recognizes Dr. Alban (posthumously) & Anna Douglas as the 2021 Life-Long Christian Ministry – Distinguished Alumni.  

Dr. Paul and Viola Virts ('68)

Distinguished Alumni 2021, Integration of Christian Faith & Professional Achievement

Dr. Paul Virts

After graduating from Prairie High School (1964) then Prairie College (1968), Dr. Virts prepared for a career in teaching and media consulting by earning an undergraduate degree in journalism education (University of Nebraska) and master’s (Wheaton College) and doctorate (University of Iowa) degrees in communication. Currently, he is semi-retired but works part-time as a Senior Consultant for Research for a fundraising consulting firm, DickersonBakker (Raleigh, NC).

Prior to retiring, he spent nearly 20 years as a Christian broadcasting executive at two ministries (Leading the Way with Michael Youssef in Atlanta, GA and the University of Northwestern-St Paul in MN). Earlier in his career he taught communication courses at Regent University (VA) for 10 years. He also served as the director of research at Christian Broadcasting Network.

One highlight for Dr. Virts was studying at what is now Daystar University (Nairobi, Kenya) where he completed his master’s degree then worked on the missionary staff as a research specialist and executive for a Bible translation and distribution ministry. Viola also assisted Paul in organizing the African office of that ministry. He later returned to Daystar to teach communication courses.

Viola (Krahn) Virts

Following her childhood dream, after graduating from Prairie College Viola (Krahn) Virts completed her training as a nurse at what is now Mohawk College (Hamilton, ON). She fulfilled her desire to be a medical/surgical nurse after getting married and moving to Nebraska. To fulfill her other major desire to create a home that was a “haven” in a high-pressured world, Viola later shifted to geriatric nursing so she could be home to take care of her children and work around her husband, Paul’s, work schedule.

Viola completed her nursing career as a hospice nurse for 16 years during which she ministered lovingly to patients who were dying and their families and caregivers. In this latter role, God gave her the incredible ability to engage quickly and deeply with patients during the most vulnerable times in their lives yet let go of them quickly when they passed away. She learned to be a patient while dealing with cancer in 2013. Thankfully, she has fully recovered.

A highlight for Viola while in Kenya, East Africa, was visiting people in remote villages in northeastern Kenya with a public health nurse.

Currently, Viola volunteers in the clothing ministry at the urban church she and Paul attend.

Dr. Virts and his wife of 51 years, Viola (Krahn) Virts, have three adult children and eight grandchildren.

In giving honour to God and in recognition of their dedicated contributions to teaching and proclaiming the Gospel, and ministering to the physically hurt, Prairie College recognizes Dr. Paul & Viola Virts as the 2021 Integration of Christian Faith and Professional Achievement – Distinguished Alumni.

Brooke Cherfils ('06)

Distinguished Alumni 2021, Early Career Excellence

Brooke began her aquatic career at the age of 16 in Golden, BC. Twenty-four years later, she never expected to be working in the same industry and furthering the cause of drowning prevention with international impact. After three years at Trinity Western University where she studied English and Pre-medicine, she realized her heart was to help heal a different type of body – the Church. She transferred to Prairie Bible Institute where she graduated in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts in Theology and Exegesis all the while working at the much loved Three Hills Aquatic Centre (THAC). 

For the next nine years after Prairie, she moved to Creston, British Columbia where she built a values-based culture within her staff team that stood out in the aquatics industry and became a platform to share at provincial and national conferences. 

In 2016, she became the Education Director of the Lifesaving Society – British Columbia & Yukon. Her responsibilities included provincial and national work on lifesaving, lifeguarding and first aid portfolios. Additionally, she served as the subject matter expert representing B.C. and Yukon on the Lifesaving Society Canada’s National Program Commission. In her time with the Society, she developed and trained a team of 17 National Trainers who mentor and serve 3000 instructors and trainers in the aquatics and first aid industry. 

In 2017 the World Health Organization declared drowning as the second leading cause of death in children globally. Brooke received a Citation of Merit from the International Life Saving Federation (ILS) for her work with the World Conference on Drowning Prevention (WCDP). Brooke trained and led the volunteer team servicing the 800 delegates from 60 different countries around the world who travelled to Vancouver to share ideas, techniques, technology, and programs to inoculate children against drowning. 

In addition to her work in aquatics, Brooke completed a Masters Certificate in Congregational Vitality from North Park Theological Seminary and The Evangelical Covenant Church. Her heart to see the Church thrive is still very much alive. She continues to provide pulpit support to local churches in the Lower Mainland and believes that remaining in the aquatics industry helps her relate better when standing behind the pulpit.

In June, Brooke completed her season as the Education Director of the British Columbia & Yukon Branch and took on a project manager/chair role for the Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) – Commonwealth’s Lifeguard Reciprocity Project.

In September, Brooke became a permanent resident of Australia and is looking forward to the adventures the Father has for her down under. 

In giving honour to God and in recognition of her contributions to life saving teaching and prevention to equip the Church for physical and spiritual ministry, Prairie College recognizes Brooke Cherfils as the 2021 Early Career Excellence – Distinguished Alumna.

Dr. George Foxall, '52

Distinguished Alumni 2020, Lifelong Christian Ministry

After attending Prairie High School, Dr. George Foxall graduated from Prairie Bible College in 1952, prepared for missionary service in Africa. At SIM candidate school he met his future wife, Ruth Balisky, a nurse and graduate of PRBI. After their wedding in Nigeria, they were assigned to an extremely isolated mission station. Ruth oversaw a Leprosy Segregation Village and a dispensary as George trekked to local villages to share the gospel with Muslim elders. 

Three years later they and their infant son David moved to a small agricultural town, joining a missionary community and a large population of Christians. George led a Hausa language Bible school and trained church leaders while Ruth managed a daily 250-patient clinic, trained health workers, and worked with over 2,000 leprosy outpatients.

In 1974 the Foxalls relocated to the city of Kaduna. George served the church in Theological Education by Extension and in 1979 SIM seconded him to the Association of Evangelicals of Africa to be the Administrative Secretary of the Association Council for Theological Education in Africa. Over time he earned Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Religious Education and then a Doctor of Missions from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Ruth embraced a ministry of hospitality and spiritual care and they helped establish an indigenous church that has grown to include 6,000 congregations with more than ten million members. The couple has now retired to Three Hills after 42 years of faithful ministry in Nigeria.  

Larry ('62, '65) and Vicki (u'71) Sharp

Distinguished Alumni 2020, Integration of Christian Faith and Professional Achievement

Dr. Larry Sharp graduated from Prairie High School in 1962 and Bible College in 1965. While studying at Seattle Pacific University he met and married Vicki Biederman who had grown up in Alaska. After a year teaching at PHS, they departed for Brazil in 1972 under UFM International (now Crossworld), to work at the Amazon Valley Academy and Larry later became president of the Evangelical Christian Mission of Brazil. In 1993 they returned to the Crossworld office in Philadelphia where Larry was Vice President of Operations and Vicki served as trainer and database manager.

While there, Larry founded IBEC Ventures, a consulting group that helps to start missional businesses in the most impoverished areas of the world. Since earning a PhD at the University of Calgary, he has taught and written curriculum for Christian colleges and a weekly blog and other articles for journals and websites. His book The Greatest Missionary Generation was published this year. Larry also serves on several boards and is chairperson of the Freedom Business Alliance which serves the survivors of human trafficking. Vicki’s ministries have included homemaking, teaching, mentoring, hospitality, editing and database development. Married fifty years, the Sharps make their home in Everett, Washington.

Jordan and Julie Cavanaugh , '08

Distinguished Alumni 2020, Early Career Excellence

Jordan and Julie Cavanaugh met at Prairie College, where they graduated in 2008, and both hold Masters’ degrees from Regent College in Vancouver. For the past twelve years they have served at CrossRoads Church in Red Deer, AB, where Jordan focused on youth, discipling students through life-on-life relationships. Wanting to influence teens with exposure beyond their culture, he developed partnerships with missionaries overseas, enlarging his students’ view of the world and helping them to recognize and care about the marginalized in their own communities.

While being actively involved in ministry with Jordan, Julie also conducted extensive research into the social needs of Central Alberta. This led to the church partnering with other existing organizations and public schools, focusing on caring for vulnerable children, youth and single parent homes. During the migrant crisis of 2015/16 Julie led relief teams to Lesvos, Greece, to provide aid and organization in the refugee camps, as well as respite for exhausted local front-line workers. The parents of three young daughters, the Cavanaughs now oversee Kindergarten to Grade Six families at CrossRoads with a passion for integrating children into the body of Christ. They speak regularly on family discipleship and enjoy using their home for mentoring and hospitality.

Harold ('50) and Lorna ('53) Fuller

Distinguished Alumni 2019, Lifelong Christian Ministry

Harold Fuller graduated from Prairie in 1950 and was accepted as a missionary to Nigeria with SIM. Assigned to the African Challenge in Lagos, he soon found himself the editor of a magazine with Africa’s largest monthly circulation.  His growing leadership included Africa Now editor, Director of Literature for SIM, Deputy Field Director for West Africa, and Director for Ghana and Nigeria. The ability to observe details and an amazing understanding of world history enabled him to become a gifted author.

Harold served as Deputy General Director of SIM International from 1979 to 1990 and was also on the executive of a consortium of missionary radio stations. This required extensive travel during which he preached and taught on six continents. The author of thirteen books, he was awarded an honorary doctorate in literature from Biola University and the 1996 Leslie K. Tarr Award for career achievement and outstanding contribution to the field of Canadian Christian writing.

Fellow Prairie student, Lorna Parrott, had been involved in the Prairie Overcomer department where she gained an appreciation for the value of the printed word. After graduating in 1953, she was accepted by SIM and arrived in Nigeria to take a secretarial assignment at African Challenge. There she met Harold Fuller and after their marriage in 1956, she served as manager of the Challenge Bookshop in Lagos.

On their return to Canada in 1977, Lorna continued to be her husband’s secretary during the years that he was Deputy General Director. One of her greatest contributions has been that of editing the many articles and books that Harold has written. Spending months alone as her husband travelled the world doing research, she has been tirelessly committed and meticulous in her work in both editing and critiquing.

The Fullers, now both in their 90’s, make their home in Stouffville, Ontario, and enjoy each new generation of their family.

Peter (‘64, '67) and LeAnna ('69) Dunn

Distinguished Alumni 2019, Integration of Christian Faith and Professional Achievement

Peter (HS ‘64; BS ‘67) was born in China to missionary parents, Marvin (BS ‘32) and Miriam Dunn.  At the age of six he came to the CIM home in Three Hills and spent the next 14 years of his life at Prairie, attending grades 2-12, and three years of Bible School. LeAnna (BS ‘69) came to Prairie from a Mennonite farm community in Ohio.           

They met at school and were married seven years later after LeAnna had graduated from Eastern Mennonite University and Peter from the U of A. 

For 3 ½ years they worked with street girls in New York City under the Eastern Mennonite Board of Missions. The work was difficult, but it was during that time, in an effort to keep the girls busy, that Peter discovered his passion for creating, producing, and selling products. Realizing that this, too, could be done for God’s glory, the Dunns moved back to Ohio and began a business known as P. Graham Dunn.

They started out as a supplier to Christian bookstores, making gifts using Scripture and other inspirational quotes.  The business has since diversified into other markets, still keeping the Scriptural and Christian emphasis.  P. Graham Dunn now has 300 employees (many of them Mennonite or Amish), and has become a respected name in the gift industry. The production plant and unique retail floor draw many visitors annually.

Along with her role as “keeper of the home,” LeAnna was involved in the business for many years. She is also part of a Bible Study Fellowship and jail ministry.  Peter continues to spend time at the business daily, and has served on several boards. Their oldest child, Anna, succumbed to cancer in 2013 and their three younger children include a physical therapist, a pastor, and a midwife.  The Dunns are both active in the Kidron Mennonite Church and enjoy visiting their three grandchildren in Arizona. 

Peter ('07) and Deanna (u'05) Fast

Distinguished Alumni 2019, Early Career Excellence

Peter Fast is a 2007 graduate of Prairie College, holding degrees in Biblical and Intercultural Studies. He also completed a Master of Arts in Judeo-Christian Studies at Masters International University of Divinity.

Deanna attended Prairie as well and then continued her studies in music at the University of Lethbridge. She was involved in university, community, and chamber ensembles as well as teaching saxophone and piano and guest conducting the university wind orchestra and holding workshops for local bands. In 2008 she graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Saxophone Performance.

Between 2010 and 2013, Deanna and Peter had the opportunity to live in Israel for three years as volunteers with Bridges for Peace. While continuing her involvement in music, Deanna had many unique opportunities as the human resources manager for BFP to work with Christian volunteers from around the world as well as with local business people and government ministries. The couple formed many lifelong friendships and when the Fasts returned to Canada, Peter became the Deputy National Director of BFP. In 2019 he was chosen as the National Director.

Peter and Deanna are passionate about healing the divide between Christians and Jews, and travel frequently, speaking to both audiences. They also make regular visits to Israel, leading discipleship tours, attending conferences, and participating in meetings as members of BFP’s international senior leadership team. Deanna continues to share her love for music and the Lord through church and other events and teaching music privately as she works in a part-time capacity for the ministry. Peter teaches on subjects such as Hebraic Roots, Historical and Modern Israel, Christian anti-Semitism, and Early Church history, and is an accomplished author of two novels. They have two children and live in Winnipeg where the Canadian National Office of Bridges for Peace is located.

Howard and Jo-Ann Brant, '66

Distinguished Alumni 2018, Lifelong Christian Ministry

An MK from Ethiopia, Howard was a Prairie High School grad of 1962. He and Jo-Ann (Hoffman) both graduated from Prairie in 1966 and attended Seattle Pacific College after their marriage in preparation for service in Ethiopia with SIM. They were sent to pioneer among the unreached Gurage people group, but three years later, they were forced out by a new communist regime with no idea whether they would ever see the few Gurage believers again. SIM sent them to Ghana, and the fruit of their five years there became evident in the hundreds of believers and dozens of churches now active in Northern Ghana.

When family needs brought them home in 1985, Howard studied for a doctorate in missiology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Jo-Ann did her PhD in Anthropology. They were invited onto the International staff of SIM and Howard became the Outreach Coordinator and Deputy International Director responsible for East Africa and Asia while Jo-Ann filled a number of senior positions. Convinced that missions should be a two-way street with missionaries from all parts of the world joining together in the Great Commission, the Brants helped SIM expand from 15 to 45 countries during their time in leadership. Today SIM has workers in over 75 countries of the world and is a truly international mission.

After a 34-year absence, the Brants returned to Africa where Jo-Ann became the SIM director for South Sudan. But 5 years later, the Gurage church in Ethiopia invited them back to help start a Bible School to train church leaders. To their amazement, Howard and Jo-Ann found hundreds of churches and about 100,000 believers. God had worked beyond anything they could have imagined. Even now, during retirement, the Brants return to teach and strengthen the Gurage church and in January they will help to inaugurate a pastor’s training course. They make their home in Renton, Washington, and have a son in the US military, two daughters who are missionaries in Germany and Jordan, and seven grandchildren.

Bob and Stella Splane, '53

Distinguished Alumni 2018, Integration of Christian Faith and Professional Achievement

Bob and Stella (Dafoe) Splane both graduated from Prairie High School in 1953. Stella returned for a year of Bible school and then went on to obtain her teaching degree with distinction at the University of Alberta. Bob attended college in Seattle and Ottawa before settling into accounting financial positions in the workplace. They were married in 1957 and engaged in youth and camp work through their churches.

Stella interspersed teaching, leading Bible studies and Christian Women’s Club, and teaching Sunday school with her role as a homemaker and mother to their four children and serving on the boards of a women’s shelter and a Charter School for gifted children. While sharing in the operation of the family farm, she also managed to obtain her private pilot’s license. Stella’s spiritual gifts of hospitality, prayer and giving have provided direction for much of her life. She now keeps track of birthdays for twelve grandchildren and their spouses and nineteen great-grandchildren.

Bob’s life work has included more than 50 years in the fields of finance and investment, often specializing in agricultural finance. Bob developed a keen interest in corporate governance, which led to positions on the board of directors for more than twenty companies. His gifts of leadership and giving have led him to serve on church and Bible school boards, including Prairie College. In 2011 he retired as Chairman of ATB Financial. Among Bob’s contributions to his community were serving as Campaign Chairman for Capital City United Way and on the board of Athabasca University. His service has earned him several medals that include the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, the Alberta Centennial and the Order of Athabasca University. The Splanes now live in BC where Bob will soon retire from the board of Kamloops Alliance church where he is also chairman of the finance committee.

Matt Brouwer, '98

Distinguished Alumni 2018, Early Career Excellence

Matt Brouwer is a Canadian singer-songwriter whose powerful faith-based CCM albums have garnered him two GMA Canada Covenant Awards and a Juno Award. The Truro, Nova Scotia, native began his musical career while attending Prairie College in Alberta where he and some fellow students formed a band called Monday Night Worship. Their music was brought to the attention of the Nashville-based Christian label Reunion Records, who signed Brouwer to a solo deal in 2000. His debut album, Imagerical, yielded two Top 10 hits on CHR radio, earning Brouwer his first Juno nomination the following year.

For his second album, 2005’s Unlearning, he founded his own label called Black Shoe Records. His third and most successful album, Where’s Our Revolution was released by Universal Records in 2009 and featured the hit single “Sometimes” which cracked the Billboard Top 20 in 2010 and earned Matt a Juno Award for Best Contemporary Christian/Gospel Album. His 2012 follow-up, Till the Sunrise, earned several more GMA Covenant nominations and awards. In 2014, Brouwer issued a greatest hits collection, Writing to Remember. His music has been hailed for its relentless vulnerability as he shares a life story of tragedy (the death of his father) and hope in his spiritual pilgrimage.

Matt married Hannah Dawn Fricker in 2010 in Houston, Texas. The couple met during a trip that Brouwer took to Guatemala, where Hannah’s family serves in medical missions. They are the proud parents of two little daughters and currently live in the Houston area where Hannah works as a PA in surgical oncology and Matt serves as worship leader and mentor at a number of local churches.

Dr. George (‘73) and Bev (75) Durance

Distinguished Alumni 2017, Lifelong Christian Ministry

George Durance graduated from Prairie Bible College in 1973 and continued on to earn degrees in biblical studies, history and education.  His PhD is from the University of Durham, UK. George taught high school social studies in Calgary, Alberta, before moving to Germany to teach at Black Forest Academy, a boarding school serving international Christian workers. As principal and later, director, he led BFA through a major expansion of their facilities.

Durance returned to Canada in 1997 to become the president of Ambrose University College. During his twelve-year tenure, he not only helped reposition the school as a liberal arts university, but also relocated it to another province and built a new campus. His distinguished service earned George the honorary title of Ambrose President Emeritus. Toccoa Falls College in Georgia presented him with the Distinguished Contribution to Higher Education award, and he was awarded the Alberta Centennial Medal in 2005 in recognition of his leadership and contributions to the educational community.

Dr. Durance is currently the president of TeachBeyond, an international organization providing transformational education to children and adults. He has helped cast a new vision and seen the work grow significantly. A former member of Prairie’s Board of Directors, George is married to Beverley and they have three married children and ten grandchildren.

Dr. Lorne and Doris Rabuka, ‘65

Distinguished Alumni 2017, Integration of Christian Faith and Professional Achievement

Dr. Lorne Rabuka graduated from Prairie in 1965 and trained as a doctor at the Medical College of the University of Saskatchewan. After a 7-year courtship, he married his wife Doris and they share three children and three grandchildren. Lorne has practiced obstetrics and gynecology in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, for his entire career and had the privilege of delivering over 4,500 babies.

He was also physician to the Northern Canada Evangelical Mission for 20 years and served on their Board of Directors, and has participated with his wife at numerous summer camps throughout the province as speaker and physician. Lorne preaches regularly at his own church, Prince Albert Alliance, where he has taught Sunday school for many years and been the music and choir leader and played organ and piano. He has held membership in the Gideons since 1974, served on Prairie’s Board of Directors under several presidents, and was on the board of the Nipawin Bible School for one term.

As a member of Board of the Saskatchewan Medical Association, Dr. Rabuka served on sub-committees that advocated with the government on behalf of doctors and their patients and presented issues such as ethics, obstetrics, emergency medicine and gun control to the Canadian Medical Association in Ottawa. Throughout his career, Lorne has learned that obedience is more important than success, that loving God is more enjoyable than serving self, and that all things do work together in God’s kingdom.

Graham Watt, ‘98

Distinguished Alumni 201, Early Career Excellence

It was during his student days at the University of Alberta that Graham first heard a clear presentation of the gospel. It changed his life and birthed a passion to engage university students with the life-transforming message of Jesus. Graduating from Prairie College in 1998, he joined the staff of Power to Change, (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) and has invested his life in helping students discover the living Christ, including fifteen years in pioneering ministries in southern Ontario and several years in Asia.

He is now part of the National Leadership Team of P2C, serving as National Creative Communications Director. Graham ministers to college students all over Canada and in many other countries around the world and has led numerous mission trips.

Using the latest technology to impact today’s students, Graham has helped develop innovative ways to spread the message of Jesus, creating a tool for Christians to share their own personal stories online. He also oversees the websites and social media of P2C, develops small group resources and works to create marketing for the organization. Graham is a leader in running conferences in Canada to help students become equipped for a lifetime of ministry.

He earned his Master’s in Theological Studies from Heritage Theological Seminary and is working to complete a Doctorate in Leadership at Tyndale University College and Seminary in Toronto. His research project has been investigating what helps and hinders a Christian student in sharing the gospel with others. Graham is married to Jennifer and they live with their three children in Guelph, Ontario.

Rev. Karl Janzen, '61

Distinguished Alumni 2016, Lifelong Christian Ministry

Karl Janzen graduated from Prairie in 1961, joining staff later that year and serving for ten years as teacher and Dean of Men. In 1963 he married Kathleen Hilde (’57) and God blessed them with three children. The Janzens left Prairie in 1971 for five years of ministry at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Victoria, BC. From there they were commissioned for missionary service to Brazil, South America, and Angola, Africa, both Portuguese-speaking countries. After nearly thirty years of leadership development through seminary training, mainly in Brazil, they retired to active volunteer ministry in Vernon, BC, where Kathleen went home to be with the Lord in 2014.

Donna Humphries, '46

Distinguished Alumni 2016, Integration of Christian Faith & Professional Achievement 

Donna Humphries attended Prairie High School in 1945-46. She worked in the family business for a time and then entered The Holy Cross Hospital School of Nursing, graduating in 1953. After several years of working and preparing for further education, Donna completed her Masters degree at the University of Washington and accepted the position of Director of the Department of Obstetrical Nursing at the Foothills Hospital in Calgary, AB. In 1968 she became Director of the School of Nursing, a position which she held until retirement in 1989. Almost 2500 students graduated during her tenure and, says Donna, “they were twenty-one very satisfying years which I would not trade for anything.”

John Carter

Distinguished Alumni 2016, Early Career Excellence

Michael Walrod, '68

Distinguished Alumni 2015

A graduate of Prairie High School and Prairie Bible College, Dr. Mike Walrod has served with Wycliffe Bible Translators and the Summer Institute of Linguistics since 1969. For eighteen years he and his wife Verna lived among the Ga’dang people of the Philippines doing linguistic analysis and translation, which aided in the birth of some fifteen churches and home groups. For two years he served as Associate Director of SIL Philippines and worked as a linguistics consultant.

The author of two books on discourse analysis and many articles and magazine columns on linguistics and cross-cultural work, Mike has been the President and CEO of the Canadian Institute of Linguistics at Trinity Western University for twenty-seven years and is now retired. He has served as Associate Director for Academic Affairs of SIL in the Philippines and on the board of Directors of Wycliffe Bible Translators of Canada. His educational credentials include a Doctor of Christian Ministries from Trinity and an M.S. and Ph.D. in linguistics and humanities from the University of Texas at Arlington. Research interests include text linguistics and the philosophy of language.

Dr. Walrod has had a part in training many hundreds of cross-cultural missionaries for work in Bible translation and related roles. He continues an interest in encouraging and assisting the leaders of the developing churches among the Ga’dang people. In recognition of a life dedicated to the spreading of God’s Word and the recruiting and training of a new generation of linguists and Bible translators, Dr. Walrod was honored as one of Prairie’s Alumni of the Year for 2015.

Cindy Luu, '90

Distinguished Alumni 2014

Cindy Luu was born into a country at war. When South Vietnam fell to the Communists in 1975, religious, economic and political freedoms were severely repressed and the Luu family found themselves in trouble as businesses and properties were confiscated and families scattered. The only safely lay in fleeing the country. Cindy, by then a teenager, crammed into an over-loaded fishing boat along with a few relatives and 700 other refugees and headed out to sea.

Pirates attacked again and again and all aboard suffered from salt water exposure, lack of food and constant fear.  They finally made their way to a primitive refugee camp in Indonesia. For six months Cindy had no idea what had become of the rest of her family. Then, miraculously, through a chance radio broadcast, she discovered their whereabouts and mother, brothers and sisters were reunited in Canada through the help of a sponsoring church in Kamloops, BC. In spite of her new freedom, Cindy felt lost and was contemplating suicide when a friend invited her to go and hear the testimony of a Bible college student who spoke her language. That night Cindy found a Savior who filled the empty place in her heart. In 1988 she enrolled at Prairie Bible College and after graduating in 1992 she joined Operation Mobilization on the ship Doulos for two years of global ministry.

Despite the horrific memories of her childhood, Cindy chose to return to Vietnam. For the past fourteen years she has demonstrated the love of Christ in practical and creative ways by feeding thousands of ill and needy people, opening a Christian daycare for the children of poor families and building homes for the destitute elderly. For her part in reflecting Jesus to the neglected people of her homeland, Cindy Luu was honored as Prairie’s Distinguished Alumna for 2014.

Doug and Margaret Nichols, '66/'67

Distinguished Alumni 2013

Doug Nichols came to Prairie a year after his conversion and graduated in 1966. Margaret had been raised in a missionary family and completed her studies a year later. After Doug spent two years in India with Operation Mobilization, they were married in 1968. Following a year of camp and rescue mission work, the Nichols were accepted by Overseas Missionary Fellowship and went to the Philippines.

From 1972 to 1990 they were on loan to Christ for Greater Manila, a Philippine organization of which Doug was the director.

CGM invested in many areas including ministry to street children, camping, prison ministry, literature work, evangelism, Bible distribution and church planting. The vision continued to expand and ACTION International was formed in 1975 with Doug as one of its founding directors. In 1982 he was appointed International Director. With a focus on evangelism, discipleship and development, some 260 ACTION missionaries now minister among the extreme poor and provide leadership training for pastors in 24 countries around the globe.

After a serious bout with cancer in 1994, Doug went to Africa to work with Rwandan refugees who were dying by the thousands in refugee camps. Despite his ongoing battle with the disease, he and his wife have continued travelling and ministering to the present time. Margaret’s main ministry during their twenty years in the Philippines involved hospitality, teaching women’s Bible studies, and caring for their family of two adopted children. The Nichols now reside in Seattle, WA where Doug serves as ACTION’s Founder and International Director Emeritus and Advocate for Children in Crisis and Pastoral Leadership Development and with Global Diaspora Network. Margaret joins Doug whenever possible as he travels and speaks worldwide. Active in missions for over forty years, the Nichols were chosen as Prairie’s Distinguished Alumni for 2013 for their dedication to compassionate care of the poor and service to the body of Christ worldwide.

Miriam Charter, '71

Distinguished Alumni 2012

Miriam Charter was born to missionary parents in China just before the start of the communist era. The family returned to Canada and Miriam was raised and educated on the campus of Prairie Bible Institute where her parents were on staff. At the age of 7, almost at the same time that she accepted Christ into her life, Miriam clearly knew that God had called her to be a missionary. After graduating from Bible College in 1971, she went on to study education at the University of Calgary and then taught for several years in the public school system.

While attending university, Miriam attended Foothills Alliance in Calgary. She literally fell “in love” with the church and offered her life to God to serve the Body of Christ. Her gifts and calling were affirmed by godly mentors who encouraged her to enroll in seminary. She earned her Master of Divinity in 1980 and felt God clearly directing her to serve believers suffering under the restraints of communism in Eastern Europe. Her focus was on discipleship within the persecuted church in Romania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland. Through an underground seminary program, she developed a previously unheard-of and far-reaching ministry, teaching women to disciple other women in their own cities. Twelve years later she returned to North America and began doctoral studies with Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Chicago.

In 2006 Miriam joined the Trinity faculty as Director of the PhD (Educational Studies) program and Associate Professor of Educational Studies. She is now teaching and giving leadership to the Intercultural Studies (undergraduate) division of Ambrose University College in Calgary, AB. For her dedication to the cause of Christian education, her outstanding service to the church of Jesus Christ worldwide and her passion for believers who suffer intensely for their faith, Dr. Miriam Charter was honored as Distinguished Alumna for 2012.

David Voetman, '57

Distinguished Alumni 2011

In January of 1956 students gathered in Prairie’s dining hall listened in stunned silence to news that five young missionaries had laid down their lives in the jungles of Ecuador. That event would change the course of the future for Bible College Junior Dave Voetmann (BC’57). He knew a cause worth dying for and determined to take the place of Nate Saint to fly the gospel to those who have never heard the good news. After seven years of flight and aircraft maintenance training, Dave and his wife Marilee left for Rhodesia in 1964 to begin a 42-year career with Missionary Aviation Fellowship in Africa.

In January of 1956 students gathered in Prairie’s dining hall listened in stunned silence to news that five young missionaries had laid down their lives in the jungles of Ecuador. That event would change the course of the future for Bible College Junior Dave Voetmann (BC’57). He knew a cause worth dying for and determined to take the place of Nate Saint to fly the gospel to those who have never heard the good news. After seven years of flight and aircraft maintenance training, Dave and his wife Marilee left for Rhodesia in 1964 to begin a 42-year career with Missionary Aviation Fellowship in Africa.

During Rhodesia’s struggle for independence when all roads were land mined and in the post-war chaos of Congo and the Simba uprising, Dave carried in personnel to open up remote hospitals and mission stations. The desperate famines of the 80s meant ferrying thousands of pounds of food and supplies. After more than 10,000 flight hours in eight African countries Dave returned to the US where he became spokesman and fundraiser for MAF. Mission organizations were in desperate need of a faster, more robust turbine-powered bush aircraft so Dave began promoting the vision of an airplane especially built for humanitarian and mission purposes. The Quest Aircraft manufacturing company was born and in March of 2009 MAF took possession of its first new 10-passenger Kodiak.

A friend has this to say about Dave: “When I look at his initiatives, his courage under frightening circumstances, and his thousands of hours of pioneer flights over impenetrable jungles, I consider Dave one of our great missionary heroes. “While flying people and goods in and out of some of the wildest places imaginable, he used every landing as an open door to present the gospel…and without the vision of this one man, I’m convinced the Kodiak would not exist today.”

Jake Leverette, '54

Distinguished Alumni 2010

Born into a Texas farming family, Jake Leverette trusted Christ as his Savior at the age of eleven. While in his teens he sensed the call of God on his life but he refused to yield and continued on in agriculture. After marrying Peggy in 1947, he went to work for the Quaker Oats Company in San Antonio, selling feed to farmers and ranchers. They attended church and got involved in home Bible studies but Jake refused to surrender to the Lord until a life-changing experience prompted both him and Peggy to change their minds.

They moved from the Texas plains to the Canadian prairies to train at Prairie Bible Institute where they grew spiritually as they soaked up the Word of God.  

Following graduation in 1954 Jake was asked by the Extension Department to travel with Prairie’s musicals team during the summer months and then alone in the winter, conducting evangelistic meetings and deeper life conferences and encouraging young people to attend Prairie.

His first pastorate was a summer assignment back in Texas and he later led the fellowship that became the Mount Olive Evangelical Free Church in Three Hills.

From 1957 on, Jake and Peggy served churches in Alberta, Manitoba, Texas, Minnesota, California, Ontario, Florida and Saskatchewan. Much of their ministry involved evangelism and the planting of new churches. For eleven years he served the North American Baptist Conference as Regional Minister and pastoral mentor for Manitoba and Saskatchewan and later northern North Dakota. 

Jake retired from full-time ministry in 1999 and has since served in eleven churches in an interim capacity. Mission trips to Brazil, Uruguay and Cameroon allowed him to do evangelism, church planting and seminary work. For his service to the Body of Christ and his dedication to pastoral ministry, Jake Leverette was honored as the Distinguished Alumnus of 2010.

Laura Mae Gardner, '53, '56

Distinguished Alumni 2019

Laura Mae Gardner graduated from both Prairie High School (’53) and Prairie Bible College (’56). She joined Wycliffe Bible Translators but continued her studies, earning both a BA in Psychology and an MA in Counseling as well as a Doctor of Ministries in Missions and Counseling from Denver Seminary. She and her husband Richard were Bible translators with Wycliffe and from 1962 to 1980 they translated the New Testament and the Jesus Film into Quiotepec Chinantec, a tonal language of southern Mexico.

Dr. Gardner’s work with Wycliffe Bible Translators and SIL expanded into counseling missionaries in areas of their personal and inter-relational lives, assisting in missionary care, conflict resolution and the impact of trauma. She and her husband trained twenty-two therapists and developed an array of preventive materials. Dr. Gardner is a prolific writer in her field as well as an internationally respected consultant and speaker to other mission organizations and a consultant for US soldiers traumatized by war.

Laura Mae served Wycliffe as the International Vice President for Personnel, responsible for candidate assessment and selection, training and leadership development. She also serves on the Boards of Wycliffe USA, Missionary Aviation Fellowship and MAF International as well as the Global Member Care Network of the World Evangelical Alliance Mission Commission. She and her husband have worked as Wycliffe’s Jungle Camp staff, field administrators, directors of the International Counseling Department, and coordinators of missionary care. They travel worldwide as international personnel consultants and trainers.

For her dedication to missionary service and compassionate care of the Body of Christ, Dr. Laura Mae Gardner was named Distinguished Alumna for 2009.

Ron Homenuke, '87

Distinguished Alumni 2008

Ron Homenuke learned to skate on a backyard rink and his fascination with the game of hockey, along with hard work and determination, eventually earned him a place in the Western Canada Major Junior Hockey League as a member of the Calgary Centennials. Drafted by the Vancouver Canucks at the age of 20, his fiercely competitive energy on the ice was matched by a party lifestyle and strong opposition to the Christian faith. Injuries hampered his professional career, however, and a hard check in training camp ended his dream of playing in the big leagues for good.

Ron had been impressed by the vibrant testimony of a friend who had come to faith in Christ and decided he needed the same, but there was little outward evidence of change. In 1976 he enrolled in a wildland recreation program at Selkirk College in BC. On an early-morning climb to the top of the Kokanee Glacier during a class excursion, Ron lost his footing and slid over the edge, plummeting 1500 feet to the bottom of the cliff. A fractured skull and massive brain stem injuries left him in a coma for three weeks. After 52 days in the hospital, the former pro hockey player entered a rehab facility where he had to learn to walk and talk all over again.

Finally taking his faith seriously, Ron came to Prairie Bible College and by 1985 he was a full-time missionary with Action International, reaching out to the street children of the Philippines. Despite the challenges of his disability, Ron brings dignity and hope to despair boys and girls and many are seeing the love of Christ made real in someone who truly cares. For his personal demonstration of the compassion of Christ, Ron Homenuke was named Prairie’s Distinguished Alumnus for 2008.

Don Richardson, '57

Distinguished Alumni 2007

Following graduation from Prairie in 1957, Don Richardson and his wife, Carol Joy (Soderstrom, BC’57) went to Dutch New Guinea (now Papua, Indonesia) with World Team, then known as RBMU. Living there in virtual isolation from the outside world, they planted churches among the Sawi, a stone-age tribe of headhunting cannibals.  Over the next fifteen years, Don designed an alphabet, authored 19 primers, taught the tribesmen to read, and translated the entire New Testament into their language. 

The progress of sharing the gospel was slow until Richardson discovered what he called a “redemptive analogy” in the Sawi culture that involved the giving up of a beloved son to bring peace between warring tribes. 

Understanding came and more than half of the tribe found a saving faith in Christ. The world’s largest circular building made strictly from un-milled poles was constructed in 1972 as a Christian meeting place by the Sawi.

From 1977 to the present Don has served World Team as minister-at-large, speaking and teaching in churches, at conferences, and on college and seminary campuses.  An ordained pastor, he is the author of Peace Child, Lords of the Earth, Eternity in Their Hearts, and Secrets of the Koran and co-produced the story of Peace Child on film. Don also taught at the US Center for World Mission in Pasadena, becoming Director of Tribal Peoples Studies and was instrumental in launching the Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. Following Carol’s passing in 2004 Don wed Carol Joyce Abraham and they now reside in Orland, Florida.  Don holds an honorary doctorate of literature from Biola University and his books have had a significant impact on missiology and ongoing missionary work.

Dr. Ted S. Rendall, '56

Distinguished Alumni 2006

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1933, Ted Rendall came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ at the age of 12 through the influence of a Youth for Christ team that included the Rev. Billy Graham. After Bible training in the UK, Ted traveled in 1953 to the prairies of central Alberta to attend Prairie Bible Institute. Upon graduation in 1956, he was invited to stay on to serve on Prairie staff in a variety of capacities beginning as associate editor of the Prairie Overcomer. Ted invested countless hours in research as an assistant for Mr. L.E. Maxwell, Principal of PBI. 

His growing teaching and writing ministry at Prairie would span the next four decades, impacting the lives of countless students through clear biblical exposition. In total, he served on staff for 43 years as a faculty member, administrator and senior editor of Prairie’s publications.

T.S. Rendall was President of Prairie Bible Institute from 1986 to 1992 and Chancellor from 1992 to 1997. He also served in long-time pastorates with Bethel Fellowship Church (twenty years) and the Prairie Tabernacle where he served the congregation from 1975 to 1997. Following that time, he held the offices of Chancellor Emeritus of Prairie Bible Institute and Pastor Emeritus of Prairie Tabernacle Congregation.

On April 29, 1984, Ted was awarded the Doctor of Divinity degree from Providence College and Theological Seminary (formerly Winnipeg Theological Seminary). Dr. Rendall’s legacy of ministry includes seven books and hundreds of articles. His extensive personal library of some 32,500 volumes (the TS Rendall Collection), is now housed at Olford Ministries International in Memphis, Tennessee, where Dr. Rendall is on the faculty as minister and professor in residence. He and his wife Hester travel extensively around the globe as conference speakers. In recognition of a lifetime of biblical exposition through teaching and writing to equip the Body of Christ, Dr. Ted Rendall was honored as the Distinguished Alumnus for 2006.

Les & Madeline Troyer, '55

Distinguished Alumni 2005

Born into an Amish family, Les Troyer became a Christian at the age of 26 and met his future wife Madeline at Prairie. After graduation in 1955 they began pioneer work with Wycliffe Bible Translators among the Ga’dang people of the Philippine highlands. They had hoped to remain there and see the scriptures translated, but after just three years they were called to Manila where Les became Branch Director.  As relationships opened up with the Philippine government, he was made a member of the Presidential Commission for minorities and a consultant on tribal affairs for the Department of Defense, also serving as Secretary of the Voluntary Agencies of the Philippines.

In 1970 the couple moved to Kathmandu to direct Wycliffe’s Nepal Branch. By working closely with the National University Les was able to cement public relations with the government and strengthen the work of the mission. As a result, many tribes throughout the Himalayas heard the gospel and several now have portions of Scripture in their own language. The next move was to Washington, DC, as home director of Wycliffe’s eastern division. Through all of these journeys, Madeline played a strong support role as secretary, hostess, bookkeeper and publishing assistant, as well as raising their five children.

Leaving Wycliffe in 1980, Les pastored two churches in Ohio, during which time he became manager and editor to Billy Graham’s eldest daughter, Gigi Tchvidijan, and Director of Donor Relations for Samaritan’s Purse at the request of Franklin Graham.  He also used his writing talents as a contributor to a newspaper devoted to Amish and Mennonite communities worldwide. Throughout the years, however, the people of the Ga’dang tribe were never far from Les and Madeline’s hearts.  At ceremonies honoring them as Distinguished Alumni for 2005, the Troyers described their joy in knowing that, forty-two years after they began the work, the translation of the New Testament into the Ga’dang language had finally became a reality.

Jim & Anna Leckie, '54

Distinguished Alumni 2004

Jim Leckie met his wife Anna while attending Prairie Bible College from which they both graduated in 1954. The following ten years included additional schooling for Jim at Columbia Bible College in South Carolina and various leadership roles with Youth for Christ in Virginia and Pittsburgh. God then opened the doors for Jim and Anna to form Youth Guidance Incorporated, a mentoring and summer camp program for troubled teens and their families. Through this ministry thousands came to know Christ as their Savior and experienced the power of the Holy Spirit to bring real hope and lasting life change. 

Twenty years later, God led Jim and Anna to form another outreach based on their experiences with at-risk youth.  Family Ministries Inc. was formed with the goal of developing strong marriages that would in turn develop strong families.  A vital component, The Gathering of Men, was a special program to assist husbands in fulfilling their role in the marriage relationship.  More than 1500 men have come to Christ through this ministry.  While teaching the biblical pattern for marriage, Jim and Anna Leckie were used of God to bring physical, emotional, and spiritual healing to hurting hearts and broken homes throughout the Pittsburgh, PA area.  

Youth Guidance and Family Ministries ultimately merged to form Family Guidance, Inc.  The organization now runs nine major programs, including the original mentoring ministry and a greatly expanded summer camping program. In 2001 the Leckies retired from active service with Family Guidance but Jim retained the title of Retired Chairman and Founder, providing counsel as needed.

Jim and Anna’s servant hearts, their individual gifts and humble teamwork have created an impact that will be felt for generations to come. For their dedication to the care and Christ-centered growth of individuals, marriages and families, Prairie was pleased to honor Jim and Anna Leckie as Distinguished Alumni for 2004.

Ron Guderian, '64

Distinguished Alumni 2003

After graduating from Prairie in 1964, Ron Guderian eventually earned his PhD in medicine from the University of Washington.  In 1975 he began work at Hospital Vozandes in Quito, Ecuador, offering a training program for young doctors. Almost three decades later this program is still in existence with five Ecuadorian universities sending medical students to the hospital where many have come to know the Lord.  Travelling with medical and evangelistic caravans throughout remote areas of the Ecuadorian jungle, Ron and his team came across their first case of a disease thought to exist only in Africa. 

When Dr. Guderian eventually diagnosed the condition as Onchocerciasis, more commonly known as River Blindness, the Ecuadorian Health Department asked him to coordinate an official investigation.  Years of careful research led to the discovery of an effective and inexpensive treatment and Ecuador became the first country in the world to declare River Blindness under control, due largely to the dedicated work of Dr. Guderian. Because of the effectiveness of his research and the creativity of his solutions the World Health Organization asked Ron to present his findings to a conference in Geneva in 1982.  He was also a member of the Expert Advisory Panel on Parasitic Diseases from 1985 to 1999 and his advice is still sought by international health agencies such as the US National Institute of Health and the WHO.

Ron has received multiple research and scientific awards, including International Scientist of the Year and Honorable Citizen of Ecuador, and his medical findings have been printed in 64 publications. He now serves with Northwest Medical Teams International, a Christian agency dedicated to providing medical and economic relief for underdeveloped countries and for victims of disaster. For his life-long efforts in blending science and evangelism, Dr. Guderian was named Prairie’s Distinguished Alumnus for 2023.

Patricia Davis, '51, '54

Distinguished Alumni 2002

Beginning her missionary service in Peru in 1956, Dr. Patricia Davis (McKerihan HS ’51, BC’54) lived among the tribal people of the Peruvian jungle, inspired by the challenge to “preach the gospel where Christ was not named.” Together with her husband Harold, Pat worked under Wycliffe’s sister organization, the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) as an advisor and trainer for literacy programs serving twenty-eight different ethno linguistic groups.  After Harold’s sudden death in 1971 Pat remained in a remote village, training teachers and supervising schools and textbook development. 

In addition to the high school and Bible college education received at Prairie, Pat earned a degree in elementary education from Dallas Baptist University, an M.A. in foreign language education, and a PhD in education, both from the University of Texas.  Her doctoral dissertation was awarded the International Reading Association’s Outstanding Dissertation of the Year Award.

More than forty-five years after first setting out for the mission field, this dedicated servant continued to use the teaching abilities God had given her on an increasingly global scale as lecturer and consultant for linguistics courses in Africa, Asia, Europe, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and South America.  She stayed passionate about teaching others to read, preparing the way for the light of God’s Word to reach into empty, aching hearts.

For faithfulness and excellence in her contribution to global literacy development, Patricia Davis was named as Prairie Bible Institute’s Distinguished Alumna for 2002. 

Cordell Darling, '57

Distinguished Alumni 2001

Cordell Darling attended Prairie High School and Bible College, graduating in 1962, and settled with his wife Joanne in Oshawa where he moved into the field of Life Insurance. Ministry was Cordell’s first love, however, and when the doors closed to a career in missions, he served as crusade director for one year with the Campbell-Reese Evangelistic Association.  In 1970 he returned to Prairie as Physical Education director, impacting young lives and motivating them both spiritually and physically.

In 1974 Cordell set up a Life Insurance business in Three Hills where God blessed his efforts for 31 years. Many times, he was one of the top ten producers across Canada for his company and was also a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Round Table to which only 3% of the sales force worldwide is admitted.  Cordell commanded the deep respect of his colleagues and clients with his knowledge of the business and his personal principles and integrity. He often spoke at youth camps and conferences and served on the boards of Japan Evangelical Mission, Prairie Bible Institute and Mt. Olive Evangelical Free Church. His passion for young people showed in his constant encouragement and interest, especially for the teens in his Sunday school class. The business clients and colleagues he befriended were often drawn to the Lord through his example and high standards.

Cordell often wondered why God didn’t have him on the “front lines” as a pastor or missionary. While he knew that faithfulness to the Lord was what really mattered, he never fully realized the impact he made. After turning the business over to his son, Cordell joined Prairie’s Development Division on July 1, 2001. But on July 13 a fatal car accident ushered him into glory to hear his Savior’s “well-done” and understand at last how mightily God had used him. Prairie conferred its first posthumous Distinguished Alumni award in 2001 to Cordell Darling for “a life of faithful service to God, to his community, and to Prairie.”

Verner Strom, '49

Distinguished Alumni 2000

Verner (Vern) Strom (’49) made a public confession of faith in Christ at the age of 12 and was influenced to attend Prairie where exposure to a great variety of missionaries created in him a desire to serve overseas. Vern and his wife Dorothy (Carmack’46) began service with the Evangelical Alliance mission (TEAM) in Japan in 1950 and spent ten years in pioneer church planting in a rural area where idolatry had been entrenched for centuries. When Vern later became Field Chairman, the move to Tokyo thrust the Stroms into a different world of inter-mission activities and work with the national church leadership.

His responsibilities included literature, Bible college, camp work, Board Chairman of Tokyo Christian University and president of Japan Evangelical Missionary Fellowship.  Under his guidance several fruitful projects were developed, among them Word of Life Press and the Pacific Broadcasting Association, the lead in evangelical radio and T.V. broadcasting in Japan.  Vern also served on the executive committee of the 1967 Billy Graham Crusade and co-founded the Total Mobilization movement to provide training to churches for simultaneous evangelistic campaigns. The church begun in his home is now a growing congregation in Tokyo with its own building and national leadership. A gentle love of people coupled with extraordinary giftedness in administration earned Vern the respect and admiration of those he led for 27 years. 

In 1987 the Stroms returned to Canada where Vern became the Canadian Director for TEAM.  After retirement in Calgary, Vern continued using his administrative gifts as chairman of New Life League, board member of International Student Ministries, and elder at First Alliance Church, as well as Chairman of the Board of Evergreen Family Friendship Service, an organization working in China. Vern Strom was honored as Prairie’s Distinguished Alum for 2000 in recognition of his dedication to evangelism in Japan and excellence in administration and field leadership.

Helen Krueger, '49

Distinguished Alumni 1999

Helen Krueger first heard the gospel at the age of thirteen on her father’s radio. At Bible camp she learned of the need for missionaries and committed her life to service in Africa.  To prepare, she enrolled at Prairie where faithfulness and perseverance became real concepts to her.  “I realized that I was not my own,” she says. “I belonged to the Lord, to serve Him all my life, and there would be no turning back.”

His growing teaching and writing ministry at Prairie would span the next four decades, impacting the lives of countless students through clear biblical exposition. In total, he served on staff for 43 years as a faculty member, administrator and senior editor of Prairie’s publications.

T.S. Rendall was President of Prairie Bible Institute from 1986 to 1992 and Chancellor from 1992 to 1997. He also served in long-time pastorates with Bethel Fellowship Church (twenty years) and the Prairie Tabernacle where he served the congregation from 1975 to 1997. Following that time, he held the offices of Chancellor Emeritus of Prairie Bible Institute and Pastor Emeritus of Prairie Tabernacle Congregation.

On April 29, 1984, Ted was awarded the Doctor of Divinity degree from Providence College and Theological Seminary (formerly Winnipeg Theological Seminary). Dr. Rendall’s legacy of ministry includes seven books and hundreds of articles. His extensive personal library of some 32,500 volumes (the TS Rendall Collection), is now housed at Olford Ministries International in Memphis, Tennessee, where Dr. Rendall is on the faculty as minister and professor in residence. He and his wife Hester travel extensively around the globe as conference speakers. In recognition of a lifetime of biblical exposition through teaching and writing to equip the Body of Christ, Dr. Ted Rendall was honored as the Distinguished Alumnus for 2006.

Elinor Young

Distinguished Alumni 1998

Stricken with polio and paralyzed at age five, Elinor Young (’69) refused to believe that a productive life was out of the question. Years in and out of hospital for operations on ankles, knees and spine taught this determined child how to handle adversity. She finally asked the doctor to remove her braces permanently and offered her weakened body to God for whatever He had planned.

Four years at Prairie Bible College and work with Child Evangelism convinced Elinor that her abilities were not drastically limited and she applied for overseas missions. Despite initial rejections, she persevered and was accepted by RBMU for service in Irian Jaya. There in the rugged, hostile environment of the Eastern Highlands Elinor would minister to the isolated Kimyal people for the next eighteen years. The ‘bad legs woman’ was lovingly carried on mountain trails and through rivers in a crude sedan chair as she nursed, developed a written language, translated the scriptures, maintained an airstrip and became economic adviser to the tribe. She also established a school and trained young believers.

In 1991 Elinor returned home to Spokane, WA, suffering from Post Polio Syndrome. The debilitating condition marked the end of her missionary career but she was undefeated.  “The doctors said I would be an invalid,” she reacalls, “but God allowed me to serve Him in a place and in a way that few strong men have been privileged to do. What more could I ask?”

Elinor has been missionary in residence in her home church, webmaster for Spokane’s Union Gospel Mission, and led a seekers Bible study course. She also co-founded the Polio Experience Network whose aim is to present the gospel and give advice to polio sufferers.  Elinor Young was honored as the Distinguished Alumna for 1998 in recognition of a life lived in obedience to God’s call regardless of severe physical adversity.

Leslie Thompson, '49

Distinguished Alumni 1996

Les Thompson came from the Caribbean to attend high school and then Bible college at Prairie.  “L.E. Maxwell made the Bible come alive,” he remembers.  “It was that love of God’s Word begun by my father in Cuba and reinforced by Mr. Maxwell that instilled in me the desire to teach it to others.”

After graduation, Les and his wife Mary began a radio ministry in Cuba. The Thompsons were on their first furlough when Mary died while giving birth to their third son. Back in Cuba, Les was confronted by the Castro government for broadcasts comparing Christianity and communism and given one week to leave the country. The door opened for literature work in Costa Rica where he met and married Carolyn.

Latin American churches were exploding, but most pastors had little or no formal Bible training and lacked quality teaching materials. In 1977 Les began publishing resources for the Spanish-speaking church and the LOGOI program was born. By taking the training right to the churches, LOGOI has equipped over 45,000 Latin American pastors and lay leaders for ministry.

Les authored several books in Spanish, recorded ten vocal albums and produced numerous pastoral instructional videos.  In 1995 he launched a magazine known as Guia Pastoral (Pastor’s Guide).

Conducting seminars and conferences throughout Central and South America, he frequently served with the Billy Graham Association. In the words of a pastor from Puerto Rico, “If the preaching of the gospel can be made more effective in these difficult days, it will be because of dedicated men like you who have given your lives and talents so that others may grow.” Les Thompson was honored as the Distinguished Alumnus for 1997 for his work in providing accessible training to church leadership throughout Latin America.

Henry Hershberger, '57

Distinguished Alumni 1996

Henry Hershberger was raised in an Amish home with no modern conveniences and spoke a language with no alphabet.  “Our Bible was in German,” he recalls, “and few of us understood it.  As teens we were urged to join the church and be baptized, but no commitment to Christ was required.” He was drafted as a conscientious objector in WW II and began meeting other young people whose lives he admired.  Henry decided to leave the Amish community and soon met a young man who led him to Christ.

He learned about Bible translation work at Prairie and after their marriage in 1959, Henry and Ruth were asked to open a new field for Wycliffe Bible Translators. They found a home among the Gugu-Yalani in the Australian outback and began a living, unspoken witness. For twenty years they shared life with the tribe, cared for their medical needs and became their friends. Translation of the Scriptures was discouragingly slow, but in the last five years they made tremendous progress, translating the rest of the New Testament, parts of the Old, and putting together a dictionary. 

Henry‘s own people, however, did not have the Bible in their mother tongue. So back home in Ohio, he began creating an alphabet and translating the Bible into Pennsylvania Dutch. In 1996 Wycliffe asked him to survey the languages of the Hutterite communities throughout North America in preparation for translation work. 

“A completed translation is an exciting accomplishment,” says Henry, “but it involves years of hard slugging and discouragement.  Missionaries need a real commitment to set goals and stick with it even if progress is slow. If I were younger, I would love to do it all again.” For his lifetime investment in Scripture translation, Henry Hershberger was named Prairie’s 1996 Distinguished Alumnus.

Eleanor Beckett, '38

Distinguished Alumni 1995

As a university student in Vancouver, BC, Eleanor Beckett had turned away from the faith she was taught as a child. When it left her lost and unhappy, she finally returned to the Savior and enrolled at Prairie to study the Bible. There she was confronted by the desperate needs of the world and became convinced of God’s call to missionary service.

After graduation in 1938, Eleanor became the first teacher at Prairie High School. But the call was not forgotten and she applied to the Sudan Interior Mission for service in Africa, sailing in 1945 for Burkina Faso. She learned the Gurma language, conversing with anyone who would listen. Invited by the local chief to start a school, Eleanor taught for one year and then began to concentrate her efforts on preaching the gospel. 

The Gurma had their own way of dealing with life but had no remedy for illness and illiteracy, no concept of God’s mercy, love or forgiveness. Eleanor and her co-workers shared the good news from village to village and found people eager to listen. The church began to grow and with it came the need to teach believers to read and write and to help revise the Gurma New Testament.

Translation of the scriptures soon became the focus of her ministry. After completion of the New Testament, Eleanor began work on the Old Testament, completing two thirds of the project. Retiring in 1987, she continued checking manuscripts for the translation team, headed by one of her early students. From humble beginnings with only six believers, there are now over 540 congregations among the Gurma-speaking people. For her faithful commitment to evangelism and literacy for the glory of God, Eleanor Beckett was recognized as Prairie’s 1995 “Alumna of the Year.”

Flexible Timeline

Online Education courses have not fixed start dates. While a course is offered you may choose your start date! See full course availability here.

Students have 4 months to complete each course in their program as counted from the day they enroll in the course. A 3-credit course will usually take 80-100 hours to complete. This means it will require around 5-7 hours per week for 16 weeks to finish a course.

Students requiring additional time to complete a course can apply for a maximum of 1 two-month extension. Extensions begin on the original course due date, not on the date the extension is requested. If a course is not completed by the end of the allowed extension period, re-enrollment will be required.

Canada & United States Application

Fall 2024 (September start), Winter 2025 (January start), and Online Education (start anytime) applications are open. 

International Student Application

Prairie welcomes applications from individuals all around the world! To begin the International Student Application please click the link below. 

Master's Application

If you are applying for the Master of Leadership in Global Christian Education and need more information visit the program page. 

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Here are key opportunities you can partner with Prairie

We have launched our Campaign for Greater Impact to provide students with the very best learning opportunities and campus facilities for the decades ahead. 

In Phase One of this Campaign, we plan to invest in much-needed campus renewal, including: upgraded Infrastructure, a new Student Residence, Cafeteria, Worship Auditorium, and expanded Aviation Training Centre. A modern campus requires an investment that is bold, and even expensive, but each Campaign Project is strategic, and designed to enhance Prairie’s campus and student life experience.

Expansion of Prairie Aviation Training Centre

This expansion of PATC’s facility is a key project of Prairie’s Campaign for Greater Impact. It will increase the College’s capacity to train a new generation of Christian aviators to serve God in missions, and also address the growing need for trained pilots in the commercial aviation sector.

Scholarships & Education Fund

Invest in the next generation of missional professionals. Each year Prairie College distributes over $500,000 in scholarships and bursaries to students. We are grateful for each gift that reduces the burden of students’ tuition and allows students to fulfill their God-given professions.

Prison Bible Encounter Program

Encourage inmates in five institutions across Alberta to discover or reconnect with Jesus Christ. This fund assists the students studying the Certificate in Bible program with scholarships, resources for classes, and instruction. 

General Ministries

Prairie College is educating students to pursue a Biblical foundation for life and career.  Your contribution to this fund assists in minimizing the College’s general operating expenses.  

To allocate your gift, please select one of the donation buttons below.