← Back to Institutional Records

Mennonite Collegiate Institute – Gretna, MB

Proper Title

Mennonite Collegiate Institute fonds

Dates of Creation

1913–1914, 1927–1929, 1934–1975

Physical Description

28 cm of textual records

Administrative History

The Mennonite Collegiate Institute (MCI), originally known as the Mennonitische Bildungsanstalt (Mennonite Educational Institute, MEI) was founded by the MEI School Society in 1888. The school opened its doors in Gretna, Manitoba in 1889 under the direction of teacher Wilhelm Rempel. Heinrich H. Ewert was hired as the school's principal and teacher in 1891, opening the door for the provincial government's support since he had the qualifications required by Manitoba's Department of Education.

Under Ewert's leadership the school experienced its incorporation in 1893, the curtailment of governmental support in 1903, and the 1904–1908 controversy regarding the location of a new school building. When Altona was chosen above Gretna and Winkler as the site of the new school, Gretna supporters appointed Ewert as the principal of a new school of their own which they named the Mennonitische Lehranstalt (Mennonite Collegiate Institute). Both the MCI (Gretna) and the new MEI (Altona) were dedicated in 1908.

Following its re-opening as the MCI, the school in Gretna underwent several administrative changes. In 1930, the School Society that had founded the institute transferred its control of MCI to the Mennonitische Schulkonferenz von Manitoba (Manitoba Church–School Conference). When this organization disbanded in 1936, the school fell into the jurisdiction of the Conference of Mennonites in Manitoba (CMM), which soon relinquished its control to the Schulverein der Mennonitengemeinden Manitobas (Inter-Mennonite Society, Manitoba) in 1939.

The school was rebuilt in 1964–1965, following a fire that had destroyed the facility in 1963. Major renovations to the dormitory and gymnasium were made in 1976. During the same year (1976), the MCI again began accepting governmental support, signalling a movement towards the educational mainstream that was ushered in with the appointment of Ken Loewen as principal. This trend was somewhat reversed with the "Think Tank" which met in 1986 to provide direction and purpose for the MCI and whose recommendations reflected a renewed commitment to the values espoused by the school's founders.

H.H. Ewert was succeeded by Gerald H. Peters as principal of the MCI at the time of his death in 1934. Other principals include Paul J. Schaefer, Gerhard Ens, Ernie Wiens (as acting principal), Ken Loewen, Allan Dueck, Dave Regehr, Paul Kroeker.

Scope and Content

The material in this collection consists of school yearbooks, catalogues, articles, and correspondence showing faculty members, students, courses offered, and student life on campus. It also includes a few reunion books and a transcript of a radio broadcast on Menno Simons’ life and teachings.

Custodial History

The custodial history of this fonds is unclear.


  • Volume 817.
  • Finding aid consists of a file list.
  • Significant amounts of German.
  • The official repository for this collection is located at the Mennonite Heritage Centre, Winnipeg.
  • No restrictions on access.
  • Described by Leslie Wiebe, June 14, 2002.
  • Location: Institutional Records – Mennonite Collegiate Institute.

File List

Volume 817

  1.  Articles and Correspondence. – 1934, 1937, 1946–1949, [1987?].
  2. Transcript of a Radio Broadcast during the Church School Hour. – “Menno Simons: Sein Leben and Seine Lehren.” – [197-?].
  3. Reunion books. – Class of 1954, Class of 1957.
  4. Course Catalogues. – 1913–1914, 1948–1950, 1953–1954, 1958–1961, 1962–1963, 1964–1966, 1967–1968, 1970–1971, 1972–1973.
  5. The Mosaic Yearbooks. – 1927, 1929, 1946, 1949, 1950, 1952, 1954–1959, 1961–1964, 1966, 1967–1971, 1975.
← Back to Institutional Records