Crossing Borders, Building Bridges -- Stressed by your commute? Try working another country.

When Trinity Western University offered life-time Lynden resident, Ron Hendricks, the position of Development Representative, the Canadian liberal arts university didn’t seem to mind that he would be living in different country. In fact, it was exactly the sort of arrangement the school was searching for. Because of TWU’s unique student population, which is one third American, they wanted a presence in the US to meet the needs of their American partners.

And the move turned out to be a good one. This January, after only eighteen months at TWU, Hendricks has been promoted to Director of Development for the US. Hendricks’ role is to continue establishing and maintaining good relationships with TWU’s American partners; be responsible for TWU’s Foundation U.S., located in Lynden; and to raise funds for scholarships and facilities.

With so many liberal arts universities in the US, Hendricks offers an explanation why such a high volume of students cross the border to attend Trinity Western.

“American students come for a variety of reasons,” he says. “Students often choose their university because they know people who have come. They are familiar with it and want to be in community with their friends. Some want to experience life away from home without going too far geographically, so the border makes them feel farther away. But I think one of the strongest drawing points is TWU’s high academic standards with degrees recognized in the States as well as Canada.”

Hendricks notes that the value of the dollar is an important factor as well. “The cost of tuition at TWU is 50% of the cost of private universities in the States,” he says. “So in that sense, it’s a good buy. However when we ask people why they stay, it’s never about the money, it’s always the quality of education, the opportunities for leadership and growth, and the community.”

Though Trinity Western University is located in Canada, they needed a U.S. citizen to represent them and to work and travel in the United States. "We are pleased to stay in Lynden because this is our home-it's where we grew up,” says the post-merchant who had been part of the Lynden family business with his wife for over 30 years. “Our families are here and we like it here.”

Before working at Trinity Western, Hendricks and his wife owned the New Crescent Clothing store in Lynden, a store that was part of Hendricks’ heritage for three generations. Two years ago, however, the couple decided to close the store and pursue different avenues, making Hendricks available for a move to TWU.

“It’s such a good arrangement,” says Hendricks. “Even as far as local. Generally I spend three to four days per month on campus, and the rest of the time traveling or at my home office in Lynden.” And the commute? “Thirty minutes,” he says. “That’s faster than the drive to most city centers.”

When asked what he likes best about his job, Hendricks doesn’t need to pause and think. “The people,” he says affirmatively. “Without a doubt. The people that we visit with as well as the people we work with. It’s all about people and relationships.”

Some of Trinity Western's partners include TWU's US Foundation Board of Directors, comprised of Herman Fransen and Carolyn Wynstra of Lynden, WA; Gene Mulder of Ferndale WA; John Bjorkstam of Seattle WA; and Peter Horne of Camarillo CA

Trinity Western University, located in Langley, B.C., is a not-for-profit Christian liberal arts university enrolling over 3,200 students this year. With a broad based, liberal arts and sciences curriculum, the University offers undergraduate degrees in 38 major areas of study ranging from business, education and computer science to biology and nursing, and 12 other graduate degrees including counseling psychology, theology and administrative leadership.

Last Updated: 2015-07-13
Author: Keela Keeping