Mennonite Collegiate Institute (Gretna, Manitoba, Canada)

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Mennonite Collegiate Institute was founded at Gretna, Manitoba in 1889 by a group of progressive Mennonite pioneers who had settled in the West Reserve in 1875. Its purpose was to train teachers for the Mennonite elementary schools which were then operated as private schools and after 1890 partly as public schools. From the very start the Mennonite Collegiate Institute (MCI), a private school, was supported by voluntary contributions and student fees. Until 1908 classes were held in a small building. In 1908 a three-story structure with two classrooms and room for about 20 boarding students was built. In 1912 the plant was enlarged to about three times its former size.

After World War I the Mennonite constituency which supported the MCI, and received the benefits of the school was greatly expanded by immigration of Mennonites from Russia (see Manitoba). Therefore in 1944 a building fund was started for the construction of a new building to take care of the growing student body, quadrupled in size. The new building, a modern plant with five classrooms, two large and well-equipped laboratories, and a chapel, was completed in 1946 at a total cost of some $60,000. Since the school had offered boarding facilities for boys only, four private residences were bought and converted into girls' boarding houses. In 1948 the old school building was converted into a boys' residence and infirmary. In 1952 a large auditorium capable of seating 1800-2000 was built. In 1955 a new dormitory was erected to accommodate 150 students.

Since 1916 the M.C.I, has taught the full general course for grades 9 to 12. It was not an accredited collegiate in 1956 but preferred to have its students write the Departmental Examinations at the end of June. The State Department of Education fully recognized the work of the Mennonite Collegiate Institute. In addition to the prescribed subjects, stress was placed on the German language and Mennonite heritage. In the the late 1940s and 1950s seven Isbister scholarship winners were graduated from the school, and fourteen Manitoba scholarship winners. The school had 179 students in 1955-56. The first principal was H. H. Ewert, who was succeeded by G. H. Peters. The staff in 1956 consisted of P. J. Schafer, Principal, and six teachers.


Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. III, 99.

Author(s) Paul J Schaefer
Date Published 1957

Cite This Article

MLA style

Schaefer, Paul J. "Mennonite Collegiate Institute (Gretna, Manitoba, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 13 Apr 2024.,_Manitoba,_Canada)&oldid=145870.

APA style

Schaefer, Paul J. (1957). Mennonite Collegiate Institute (Gretna, Manitoba, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 13 April 2024, from,_Manitoba,_Canada)&oldid=145870.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 617. All rights reserved.

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