In recognition of his distinguished service to Acadia Divinity College (ADC), the Board of Trustees conferred the honour of President Emeritus on Rev. Dr. Harry Gardner during their meeting on November 4, 2021. When making the announcement, President Rev. Dr. Anna Robbins highlighted the extraordinary impact of Dr. Gardner’s leadership on the College during his tenure as President from 2008 to 2019.
“In conferring this title on Dr. Gardner, we recognize his distinguished service as President, where he consistently went beyond the normal duties and responsibilities of the role. There is no doubt that he has had an extraordinary impact on the life of Acadia Divinity College.”
Dr. Gardner is the first ADC alumnus to become President of the College, graduating with a Master of Divinity in pastoral ministry in 1977. In addition to his role as President, he also occupied the Abner J. Langley and Harold L. Mitton Chair of Church Leadership and taught courses in pastoral ministry, leadership, and Christian spiritual formation.
Dr. Gardner’s leadership impacted all aspects of the life of the College, ensuring an academically robust curriculum, a strong financial foundation, and a spiritually formative experience for students. During his tenure he oversaw the expansion of research through Centres of Excellence, increased endowments for scholarships and bursaries, led the Trustees through a building project for a renewed facility, and completed a successful capital campaign that included the full funding of an academic chair. All these initiatives positioned ADC extraordinarily well to meet future challenges and opportunities.
Through his service with national and international bodies, Dr. Gardner has ensured that students and alumni were at the leading edge of theological education. Above all, Dr. Gardner remained a pastor at heart. His passion for the development of each student as a whole person ensured confirmation in their personal calling and their preparation to serve as Christian leaders.