Richert, George Edward (1936-2016)

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George Richert
Source: Mennonite Heritage Centre (Winnipeg)

George Edward Richert: university professor, administrator and advocate for peace and justice, was born 27 January 1936 in Waldheim, Saskatchewan, Canada to Abram Richert (22 February 1896-26 December 1984) and Mathilda “Hilda” Schultz Richert (15 August 1896-19 June 1969); he was the youngest of one daughter and three sons. Abram Richert was a teacher in a local school; this may have influenced George’s vocational choices. On 27 June 1957 he married Pearl Kathleen Janzen (5 January 1934- ), daughter of Isaac Leonard Janzen (23 August 1893-11 November 1970) and Nettie Mae Dirks Janzen (3 July 1907-25 June 2001); together George and Pearl had two sons, Colin and Dean.

George obtained BEd and MEd (1965) degrees at the University of Saskatchewan, and later a PhD in Educational Administration (1968) at the University of Alberta. His thesis was on “Bureaucratic Characteristics in Educational Organizations and their Relationship to the Leader Behavior of the Superintendent.”

Although he began his teaching career in the 1950s in a one-room school in Saskatchewan, George Richert went on to major roles at two universities. He served at the University of Regina as a professor, and later Dean of Education, for 11 years, and taught internationally in Nigeria for several years. He was then President of Menno Simons College, affiliated with the University of Winnipeg, from 1992-2001, leading the college during a decade of significant growth, and directing it as it became a central part of the newly formed Canadian Mennonite University in 1999.

During his tenure at Menno Simons College George also taught International Development Studies, was a friend and supporter of the Chair of Mennonite Studies, and served on the editorial board of the Journal of Mennonite Studies.

George Richert had a long association with Mennonite Central Committee. He chaired MCC Canada beginning in 1993, also placing him on the joint MCC Canada and U.S. board from 1993-1999. He, with his wife Pearl, also served internationally with MCC. He worked as interim country representative for Iraq, Jordan, Palestine and Israel from 2004-2007; interim regional representative in the former Soviet Union from 2008-2009, and interim country representative for Ukraine-Russia-Kazakhstan in 2011.

He was also active within his denomination, serving as assistant moderator of the Conference of Mennonites in Canada from 1987-1993.

In addition, with his unwavering commitment to fostering peace and justice, George lived, worked and provided consulting services in a variety of countries around the world. In the 1970s he chaired the Ghanaian Task Force which was developed for teacher educators in Ghana. In the 1980s he did consulting on the Indonesia Teacher Education Project. In the 1990s he focused on China and Iraq, and travelled to Iraq with medical supplies in 1999 in connection with his MCC duties.

George also gave leadership to many educational councils throughout his career, that involved connections across education organizations and government agencies. This included roles such as Special Advisor to the federal Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development on Self-Government of First Nations peoples.

George Richert was a big man who loved golfing, wore big shoes, and freely shared his generous heart and hearty laugh while making significant contributions to Mennonite post-secondary education and to the improvement of education around the world.


“Former MCC Canada Board Chair Passes.” Canadian Mennonite 20, no. 12 (6 June 2016): 22.

"George Edward Richert." GRANDMA (The Genealogical Registry and Database of Mennonite Ancestry) Database, 16-01 ed. Fresno, CA: California Mennonite Historical Society, 2016: #95637.

“George Richert.” (in)edition (University of Winnipeg) 18, no. 8 (11 June 2001): 10. Web. 17 July 2016.

Peachey, Dean. “George Richert (1936-2016).” Journal of Mennonite Studies 34 (2016): 357-358.

“Remembering George Richert.” Menno Simons College. June 2016. Web. 21 July 2016.

“Richert, George.” Parkside Memorial Funeral Home. 11 April 2016. Web. 21 July 2016.

Publications by George Richert

Richert, George E. Teachers helping teachers : an evaluation of the international development assistance program of the Canadian Teachers' Federation. Ottawa : The Canadian Teachers' Federation, 1986.

Author(s) Dean Peachey
Date Published July 2016

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Peachey, Dean. "Richert, George Edward (1936-2016)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. July 2016. Web. 8 Aug 2020.,_George_Edward_(1936-2016)&oldid=135303.

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Peachey, Dean. (July 2016). Richert, George Edward (1936-2016). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 8 August 2020, from,_George_Edward_(1936-2016)&oldid=135303.

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