Richard Topping

Principal Topping Reappointed for Third Term at VST

The Rev. Dr. Richard Topping has been reappointed to a five-year term by The Vancouver School of Theology. Dr. Topping’s third term will begin on July 1, 2021. Topping has been Principal of VST for over 7 years, and the St. Andrew’s Hall Professor of Reformed Studies for over 11 years.

Board Chair Michael Francis made the news public following a recent meeting of the school’s board of directors. Mr. Francis noted that “Professor Topping has provided exemplary leadership during a challenging time for the Vancouver School of Theology. The Board of Governors is thrilled that he has agreed to continue in his role as Principal for another five years. Richard’s intelligence, diligence and generosity are at the heart of the school’s success. I’m sure all our stakeholders will celebrate this extremely positive development.”

In acknowledging the reappointment, Dr. Topping says he “considers it a privilege to work with the outstanding team of the board, faculty and staff whose hard work and commitment make VST thrive in the service of the Gospel. I look forward to us making the most of the challenges and opportunities for theological education with such outstanding students in this time that requires transformative and imaginative change in the service of God’s reconciling work.”

During Topping’s principalship, the Vancouver School of Theology team has led a time of renewal with new thresholds set in student enrollment, donor commitment, innovative programming, strategic partnerships and recruitment of outstanding faculty and staff. Vancouver School of Theology has recently been acknowledged for bold transformative change (In Trust), significant innovation in its Studio for Entrepreneurial Leadership (Association of Theological Schools) and as one of the ten most improved theological schools by QS university ranking.

Recent grants from the Henry Luce Foundation, the Fellowship of the Maple Leaf, The United Church of Canada, The Anglican Foundation, the MJ Murdock Charitable Trust and The Hagar family support initiatives in preparing Indigenous Leaders for the Indigenous Church, the new Congregational Flourishing through Community Engagement project and endow programs like the Certificate for Leadership Excellence through the Sauder Business School. VST is closely aligned with the Anglican Church of Canada, Presbyterian Church in Canada, and the United Church of Canada, representing over 5000 churches nation-wide.

VST has also strategically expanded its theological partnerships with institutions around the world – including Durham University in the U.K., for a Ph.D., program, the Sauder School of Business at UBC, St Mark’s College for an undergraduate program, Huron College at the University of Western Ontario and a number of theological schools in Asia – to further its reach, influence, and capacity to innovate and respond to how leaders are prepared for the church in our changing world. VST attracts growing numbers of students across the span of ecumenical traditions.