Canadian Mennonite University’s (CMU) board of governors announced the appointment of Cheryl Pauls as the university’s second president. Currently a faculty member of CMU, Pauls assumes her new duties Nov. 1, 2012. She follows president Gerald Gerbrandt, who retires June 30.
“Our board is excited to appoint Dr. Pauls to this role,” said CMU board of governors chair Marlene Janzen. “We are grateful for the careful discernment and thorough process of the search committee that identified Pauls as both analytical and visionary, with a strong commitment to the mission and core values of CMU. Our board is confident in her abilities to find creative ways to strengthen and broaden our student base, programming, funding structures, and constituent relationships.”
“I consider it an honour and joy to accept this position,” said Pauls, a graduate of one of CMU’s predecessor colleges, Mennonite Brethren Bible College, who holds a doctor of musical arts from the University of B.C. “I welcome the opportunity to engage in CMU’s visionary commitment to ‘radical dialogue and generous hospitality’ in ways that are at once bold and compelling for the highly diverse groups of people that this university draws together.”
Currently a professor in piano and music theory, Pauls is a well-established solo and collaborative pianist, known particularly for performances of new music and for multimedia worship events. Pauls has also undertaken projects on the interface of studies in music theory and performance with those in memory, physiology, liturgy, and cultural expression.
Pauls’ administrative and leadership gifts have been recognized throughout her time at CMU. From 2000–2007, she served as coordinator of the music department, and played a key role in program development. Since 2008, she has been chair of the Shaftesbury campus and member of the president’s council. Her keen sense of performance resulted in her regularly playing a lead role in planning major public events.
“The primary imperative of my role as CMU’s next president,” said Pauls, “is to support and sustain the impulse of the university’s mission so that it resonates both within and beyond the institution, and to work collaboratively to sustain the will and the capacities of our CMU community to achieve the university’s strategic goals and mission.”
“Each area of studies is vital to animating the CMU mission,” said Pauls. “The more the mission is put through the ringer of the rigorous beauties and strange apprehensions of each discipline, the more effectively that mission and its participants will act within today’s most urgent challenges and generous hopes.”
Search committee chair Ron Loeppky said, “In Dr. Cheryl Pauls, we are delighted to present a person who is well qualified academically, well connected with the church, has a clear understanding of the constituency, and a strong passion for the institution and for CMU’s vision and mission.”
Pauls’ nomination came from multiple sources, noted Loeppky. “She was recognized both internally and externally for her special gifts and abilities in leadership.”
The search committee began its work in fall 2010. Loeppky notes: “We cast a wide net, advertised extensively, and received interest from across North America.”
“We are pleased,” said Janzen, “that in Cheryl Pauls we have found a president who creates an exciting dynamic for growth by building on legacy, living faithfully, inspiring creativity, and pursuing excellence.”
Born and raised in St. Catharines, Ont., Pauls grew up in Grantham MB Church. Pauls has made her home in Manitoba since 1983. She and husband Bryan Harder have two boys, Nicholas and William. The family attends River East MB Church, Winnipeg, where she recently completed a term as church moderator.