Briercrest-College

Briercrest College and Seminary

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 also operates 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.

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. 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.

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