in Advancement, College News


Wolfville, NS, August 21, 2015 – Acadia Divinity College (ADC) President, Rev. Dr. Harry Gardner, today announced the three-year fundraising goals for the College, its annual alumni distinguished service award recipient, and four recent major gifts during its annual friends and alumni reception. The reception was part of the annual Convention of Atlantic Baptist Churches, this year being held on the campus of Acadia University.

Dr. Gardner, who is also Acadia’s Dean of Theology, said “Acadia Divinity College will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2018. Together with Acadia, we are proud of our record of theological education that has produced generations of effective leaders for the local church and other ministry settings. Now, more than ever, the world needs Christians who are ready to serve.”

Rev. Dr. Harry Gardner, President Acadia Divinity College

Rev. Dr. Harry Gardner, President Acadia Divinity College Rev. Dr. Harry Gardner, President Acadia Divinity College

“When we think about the leaders and alumni of this institution, we cannot help but be inspired by what can be achieved through determination and strength of character. So, too, is the remarkable individual we are recognizing for our Alumni Distinguished Service Award — Dr. Tracy vom Hagen (née Demmons) — who has established herself as an international role model. As a Staff Counsellor with the Critical Incident and Stress Management Unit (CISMU) for 18 months in Afghanistan with United Nations, she belonged to a team of mental health professionals who took on the psychological, social and spiritual support of roughy 2,000 UN staff in the country. During Tracy’s studies, she delved into the spiritual care of persons with intellectual disabilities. Her thesis work grew out of questions encountered while undertaking her clinical pastoral education residency at the Nova Scotia Hospital in Dartmouth, working as a chaplain for clients with disabilities. Tracy has also worked as a hospital chaplain in acute care and psychiatric settings. Tracy is a worthy recipient of this award.”

Dr. vom Hagen commented, “I was in Kabul, Afghanistan, with the UN for a year and a half and that work was very challenging and very rewarding. It was my first chance to work as a professional counsellor, and I really felt God’s leading through all of it.  Life and death are very real in Afghanistan, and one is forced to ask and answer very tough questions – right away.”

Dr. Gardner used his remarks to outline the strategic fundraising priorities for ADC, each designed to have long-term impact for decades to come:

  • Refurbish the College building on Acadia’s campus;
  • Ensure quality instruction through increasing endowments for key academic Chairs;
  • Support students through increasing scholarships and bursaries; and
  • Go public with the Gospel by securing an endowment for the new Centre for Christian Faith and Culture.

In addition, Dr. Gardner recognized the generosity of individuals and organizations by announcing four recent major gifts to ADC.  They are:

  • Ruth E. Eldridge – Long-time Sandy Cove, Digby County resident, Ruth Eleanor Eldridge, left an estate gift of $675,000 to Acadia Divinity College to assist in funding the education of a student or students in financial need. Ruth was the daughter of the late Clair and Lena (Mitchell) Eldridge, Sandy Cove, Digby County, Nova Scotia.  Except for a short time spent in Moncton, New Brunswick, Ruth spent her entire life in her beloved Sandy Cove. She enjoyed walks to St. Mary’s Bay and the Bay of Fundy and working in her garden. She had a deep and abiding faith and was an active member of Sandy Cove Baptist Church.
  • Marjorie E. Fountain – The funding of the Sheldon and Marjorie Fountain Chair of Evangelism and Mission received a substantial increase recently when Marjorie E. Fountain made a gift of $200,000 to be added to the endowment funds for the Chair.  Marjorie and her late husband, Sheldon, were continuous supporters of the Divinity College, and, in 1983, provided the initial funding for the Chair of Evangelism and Mission. Sheldon and Marjorie were jointly awarded honorary doctorates from Acadia in 1999, in recognition of their long service and dedication to the University and the wider community.
  • Atlantic Baptist Foundation – The importance of equipping Christians to serve was underscored by a July decision of the Atlantic Baptist Foundation to make a gift of $250,000 to the College. The Foundation recognizes the church needs well-prepared and educated leaders, requiring the best faculty.  This gift has been added to the endowment of one of the key academic chairs at Acadia Divinity College, the John Gladstone Chair of Preaching and Worship. The Atlantic Baptist Foundation has been a generous supporter of life at the College, having donated $400,000 to new academic programs and projects between 2010 and 2015.
  • The W. Garfield Weston Foundation – The funding of the John Gladstone Chair of Preaching and Worship took an enormous step forward recently when The W. Garfield Weston Foundation made a gift of $500,000 to be invested in the endowment for the Chair.  This generous gift follows earlier support from the Foundation when the Gladstone Chair was first created in 1993. As well, the Foundation has offered an additional $500,000 in funds to match any other gifts to the John Gladstone Chair of Preaching and Worship, made or pledged before the end of 2015. The Foundation investment reflects the esteem the Weston family had for the late Dr. Gladstone, their long-time friend and minister at Yorkminster Park Baptist in Toronto, and the Foundation’s enthusiasm for ADC’s program for training in preaching and worship.

Acadia University President and Vice-Chancellor, Ray Ivany, said “The College has a proud history and, as the Acadia community looks ahead to helping it celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2018, these fundraising priorities will position Acadia Divinity College for success and will confirm the vital role it plays in the spiritual life of our province and our country, and its contributions to global ministry.”

A photo gallery of the event can be found at: www.acadiadiv.ca/now



For more information, please contact Rev. John Campbell, Director of Advancement
Phone: 902.585.2218     email: john.campbell@acadiau.ca

To arrange an interview with ADC President, Dr. Harry Gardner, please contact Eveline DeSchiffart, Executive Assistant to the President
Phone: 902.585.2213      email: eveline.deschiffart@acadiau.ca

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