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CMU Celebrates Communications and Media Program
A donor who made the communications program possible envisions CMU educating strong communicators of Christian faith to work in radio, television or print newsrooms.

It has taken vision, commitment and several years of dedicated work to bring CMU’s Communications and Media program to fruition.

CMU President Gerald Gerbrandt receives a cheque for $50,000 from Elmer and Hilda Hildebrand.

In April 2009, CMU celebrated the program and those who made it possible. “I am so pleased that we are formally celebrating the Communications and Media program and honouring the person who had such a vision for this program,” said CMU President Gerald Gerbrandt.

The program was made possible by a $300,000 pledge from Elmer Hildebrand, owner of Golden West Broadcasting. As part of that commitment, he presented Gerbrandt with a $50,000 cheque. “On behalf of Golden West we are pleased to continue supporting this program,” said Hildebrand, whose broadcasting company owns 33 radio stations across Western Canada.

Hildebrand said he had a vision for CMU to educate strong communicators of Christian faith to work in radio, television or print newsrooms. He said too often newsrooms lack writers and reporters who have a solid spiritual grounding.

CMU’s Communications and Media students must take courses in areas such as Biblical and Theological Studies, Humanities, Social Sciences and Science alongside their Communications and Media requirements

“Communication embraces all of life; and so, rather than being constructed as a professional program, this program is constructed as a Bachelor of Arts requiring that our students have a breadth of intellectual experience and engagement,” explained Vice-President Academic Earl Davey.

Communications and Media program has long been part of the academic plan for CMU. CMU first offered Communications and Media courses as a concentration within Social Sciences in the 2005-2006 school year. In 2008-2009, the program came into its own right, offering a three and four-year Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Media.

The program has already had one graduate, Jeremy Siemens, in 2008. He now works as Communications Director at Mennonite Collegiate Institute in Gretna.

CMU has also recently added a second faculty member to the Communications and Media program.

David Balzer comes to the program with a strong background in communication. He has an M.A. in Speech Communication from California State University and previously worked as a media producer at Family Life Network (FLN), a multicultural Christian media outreach organization supported by the Mennonite Brethren Conference of Manitoba. Balzer is a former co-host of GodTalk, FLN’s call-in radio show on Winnipeg radio station CJOB.

He joins Donald Benham, who has both a journalism degree and an M.A. in Canadian Studies from Carleton University. Benham has a depth of experience in journalism and public relations, and has taught at both Red River College and the University of Winnipeg.

Carol Thiessen is interim director of communications Canadian Mennonite University. Phone: 204 487-3300. Website:

Originally published on the CMU Website, April 2008.




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