Briercrest College and Seminary

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Coordinates: 50°27′21.99″N 105°48′53.17″W / 50.4561083°N 105.8147694°W / 50.4561083; -105.8147694

Briercrest College and Seminary
Established 1935
President Dr. Michael B. Pawelke
Undergraduates 640
Location Caronport, Saskatchewan, Canada
Campus Rural area
Affiliations University of Saskatchewan, AUCC, ATS, ABHE.

Briercrest College and Seminary is a private Christian post-secondary educational institution located in Caronport, Saskatchewan, Canada. It comprises a college and a seminary, and operates the Caronport High School.


Its precursor was a home Bible study in the village of Briercrest, Saskatchewan, which grew to include several members of the community. Eventually the group formed a new church, the Briercrest Gospel Assembly. The people needed a pastor to lead the church and wanted to open a Bible school.

Henry Hildebrand was a student at Winnipeg Bible Institute and a circuit riding preacher with Canadian Sunday School Mission (CSSM). Mr. Sinclair Whittaker, one of the believers at Briercrest, was a businessman and a former Conservative member of the provincial legislature. He contacted Henry, informing him of their need for a pastor and their desire to open a Bible school. Eventually Hildebrand agreed to join them at Briercrest.[1]

Briercrest Bible Institute opened its doors on October 19, 1935, and 11 students enrolled. A rented house served as dormitory, classroom, and office for the school. Mr. Hildebrand was principal and Mrs. Annie Hillson, Mrs. Isabel Whittaker, Jean Whittaker, and Margaret Rusk helped with teaching and administration. Donald McMillan joined them in the second term as assistant principal.

By 1946, they had outgrown their facility, and Mr. Whittaker arranged the purchase of Royal Airforce Base #33 in Caron for $50,000. The new facility was dedicated on July 1, 1946, and the task of converting the airbase into dormitories, classrooms, offices, and staff housing began.

Caronport High School opened in September 1946. A grade school also began that year. Enrollment grew in all of the schools and many new buildings were constructed to accommodate the growing student body. In the early 1970s, the schools began to recognize the need for academic credibility. Briercrest became a candidate for accreditation with the Accrediting Association of Bible Colleges (now the Association for Biblical Higher Education) in 1973, and became accredited in 1976. The school was given authority to grant degrees in 1974.[2] In 1979, a distance learning program was launched. In 1982, the name Briercrest Bible Institute was changed to Briercrest Bible College. The seminary began in 1983, and receive accreditation from the Association of Theological Schools in 1998. College enrollment grew from 285 in 1970 to 775 in 1985. More recently, enrolment has been in decline.

The school's mission statement is as follows:

"Briercrest College and Seminary is a community of rigorous learning that calls students to seek the kingdom of God, to be shaped profoundly by the Scriptures, and to be formed spiritually and intellectually for lives of service."


Briercrest College and Seminary offers one-year certificates, Associate of Arts degrees, Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts, and Master of Divinity degrees. Each program includes courses in Bible and theology, Christian ministry, liberal arts, and the social sciences along with many electives. The college has been accredited by The Association for Biblical Higher Education since 1976.[1] The seminary is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools. The seminary employs a modular format (typically one course in one week) for most of its courses.

Briercrest also offers distance learning courses at both the college and seminary levels.

The college is associated with the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology (SIAST) and has transfer agreements with the universities of Regina and Saskatchewan.

In early 2011 Briercrest and Minot State University announced a partnership allowing students to complete a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Bachelor of Science in Education degree from both schools in five years. The program requires students to complete their Bachelor of Arts degree during the first three years at Briercrest college and the final two at Minot State earning the Education degree. Minot State offers five different concentrations for its B.S.E. As such a students completing this program may select earning a Bachelor of Science in:

  • Elementary Education
  • English
  • History
  • Music
  • Physical Education[3]

Briercrest also offers other concurrent degrees with Minot State University such as:

  • Addiction Studies
  • Communication Disorders
  • Social Work

Student life[edit]

The majority of Briercrest College students live in residence and participate in a school meal plan in a dining hall operated by Sodexo.

The college dormitories have a history of being named after people who have had significant impact throughout the history of the schools. Current dormitories at Briercrest include:

Isabel Whittaker (women), known as "Whit"
Sinclair Whittaker (men), known as "Whit"
Hillson Hall (women, high school)
Glen Manor (men, high school)
Bergren Place (women)
Lewis Apartments (men), known as "LA"
Eliason Manor (men) built in 2005
Sundbo Place (married students, women, and men over 21 years of age)

The last of the war-building dormitories, known most recently as Gable Heights, was demolished in summer 2005.


The campus landmark is the 2,000-seat Hildebrand Chapel. Facilities also include a 25,000-square-foot (2,300 m2) library, nine student dormitories, a 42-room inn, a modern dining hall, a double-court gymnasium, a hockey arena, tennis courts, numerous sports fields, a recording studio, a Subway franchise, and two coffee shops.


Briercrest College and Seminary's athletic teams are known as the Clippers. Varsity sports include men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball, and men’s hockey. They compete in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference, part of the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association and formerly in the Prairie Athletic Conference until PAC dropped their membership in the CCAA in the mid-1990s. Briercrest also has a club women's softball team that plays in the Western Collegiate Softball Association. Court sports play in the Margaret P. Reimer Memorial Gymnasium and the hockey team plays in Barkman Arena, named in honour of past president and current chancellor John Barkman. The 500-seat NHL-sized rink officially opened on February 7, 2009.

Briercrest teams have medaled in CCAA national championships four times, winning its only gold at the 1977 Men’s Basketball Championship, silver at the 1991 Men’s Basketball Championship, bronze at the 2012 Men’s Volleyball Championship and silver at the 2014 Men’s Volleyball Championship. The school has produced one CCAA National Player of the Year (Gradyn Childerhose, men’s Basketball, 2012), three CCAA Coach of the Year recipients, (Carl Hinderager, men’s Basketball, 1983; Stan Peters, men’s Basketball, 1993; and Nigel Mullan, men’s volleyball, 2012) and numerous CCAA All-Canadians.

Briercrest hosted the 1993 CCAA Women’s Basketball Championships on campus and the 2014 CCAA Men's Volleyball Championships at the Yara Centre in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.


Throughout their 72-year history, Briercrest has had six presidents: Henry Hildebrand (1935–1977); Henry Budd (1977–1990); John Barkman (1990–1996); Paul Magnus (1996–2004); Dwayne Uglem (2004–2013); and Michael Pawelke (2013-Present) — Sinclair Whittaker served as president of the board until 1950.


Briercrest College and Seminary is governed by a 25-member board of directors who ensure that operational policies contribute to the guidance, empowerment, and direction of the senior leadership and staff while maintaining the health and mission of the schools.

Histories of the College[edit]

Budd, Henry. Wind in the Wheatfields: A Pictoral History of Briercrest Bible College, 1935-1985. Caronport, SK: Briercrest Bible College, 1985.

Hildebrand, Henry. In His Loving Service. Caronport, SK: Briercrest Bible College, 1985.

Palmer, Bernard and Marjorie Palmer. Beacon on the Prairies: The Men God Uses in the Building of Briercrest Bible Institute. Caronport, SK: Briercrest Bible Institute, 1970.

Palmer, Bernard. Miracle on the Prairies: The Story of Briercrest Bible Institute. Caronport, SK: Briercrest Bible Institute, [1960?].


  1. ^ Guenther, Bruce L. "Briercrest Schools" in The Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan. Regina: Canadian Plains Research Centre, 2005.
  2. ^ Guenther, Bruce L. "Briercrest Schools" in The Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan. Regina: Canadian Plains Research Centre, 2005.
  3. ^

External links[edit]

All facts, unless otherwise stated, are from Briercrest College and Seminary's web site