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Redeemer University Appoints Fifth President

March 9, 2022
David Zietsma
David Zietsma

Redeemer University has appointed David Zietsma as its fifth president. Zietsma brings a wealth of experience, passion, and vision to the position. He has served as Redeemer’s interim president since the departure of Robert Graham in April 2021. Prior to that he served as provost and vice president, academic and in a variety of other leadership roles since 2010.

Redeemer’s presidential search launched last summer when the university’s board of governors appointed a committee that included several board members, faculty, and staff, some of whom are also alumni. The board then hired Phelps Group, an executive search firm, on recommendation from the search committee.

Phelps conducted an extensive survey of students, faculty, staff, board members, and a limited number of additional external stakeholders to help inform the search process and identify potential candidates. In early 2022 a short list of candidates began the final interview process.

“Dr. Zietsma brings a strong blend of academic expertise, business acumen, and leadership experience to the presidency,” said board chair Denis St-Amour.

“Redeemer’s board of governors is enthusiastic about his vision, wisdom, and ability to lead the university into an exciting next chapter. His love for God and his passion for the mission of Redeemer is palpable.”

Having served on the university’s President’s Council for nearly 12 years, Zietsma was deeply involved in developing the 2020 and 2025 strategic plans.

From 2015 to 2017, he served as vice president, marketing enrollment, and from 2017-2020 he served as vice president, external relations and enrollment. During this time, he worked closely with stakeholders to increase Redeemer’s reach and impact. He led new efforts in student recruitment, fundraising, and marketing, including tuition restructuring and the Re Campaign, the largest fundraising campaign in Redeemer’s history.

From 2010 to 2015, Zietsma served as dean of humanities while also holding the appointment of associate provost, curriculum from 2013 to 2015. He led the development of the new core curriculum that launched in 2016, strengthening the Christian liberal arts and science mission that shapes students at Redeemer by getting them to think beyond the bounds of their major area of study, integrating faith, life, and learning. From 2007 to 2010 he also served as assistant professor of history in the history department.

Zietsma earned a Ph.D. in history from the University of Akron, a master of arts in history from the University of Waterloo, and a bachelor of arts from McMaster University. He also has a diploma in business marketing from Mohawk College.

“It is a real privilege to serve the university as president, and I will do my best to continue to increase the university’s positive reach and impact,” said Zietsma. “I believe that the purpose of learning and scholarship at a Christian university is to be fully invested in bringing the renewing love of Jesus Christ to all areas of life. We do that through students and graduates’ bringing hope to neighborhoods and communities and to the people they live and work with.”

Zietsma assumes the president title effective immediately. A formal inauguration ceremony will take in the fall of 2022.