Rocky Mountain College (RMC) first opened its doors in Calgary in 1992 but has over 130 years of experience providing quality Christian education. That's because RMC is built on two solid foundations resulting from the merger of Hillcrest Christian College (Medicine Hat, AB) and Mountain View Bible College (Didsbury, AB). Rocky Mountain College is sponsored by the Canada West District of the Evangelical Missionary Church of Canada. The faculty, staff, Board of Governors, and student body represent more than 25 denominations.
RMC is built on two solid foundations resulting from the merger of Hillcrest Christian College (Medicine Hat, AB) and Mountain View Bible College (Didsbury, AB).
An Historic Merger
RMC has a long and rich heritage of over 90 years of offering quality Biblical education. RMC is the result of a merger between HCC of Medicine Hat and MVBC of Didsbury.
In June 1989, the district conferences of the Evangelical Church and the Missionary Church voted to approve in principle the merger of their two institutions, sell the existing campuses, and elect members to the Founding Board of the new urban college, RMC in Calgary. The same conferences, in 1991, approved the purchase of the 4039 Brentwood Road facility. Rev. Randy Steinwand was appointed the first president in July 23 of the same year. RMC welcomed its first students in September,1992. RMC became debt free with the completion of the sale of the HCC and MVBC campuses. Rocky Mountain College: A Centre for Biblical Studies welcomed its first students in the fall of 1992.
RMC is one of the few examples of a successful college merger.
Mountain View Bible College
Mountain View Bible College, the oldest of the two merging colleges, opened in 1926 in Didsbury. The founder of Mountain View, Rev. Alvin Traub, operated short-term classes in the Didsbury church from 1920 to 1926. As District Superintendent, Traub was deeply concerned because few young people were hearing God's call to pastoral and missionary service. Many of those who listened went for training in the United States and never returned to serve in western Canada. It was his vision to train young people for ministry and lay leadership.
The College fulfilled the vision of its founder by training pastors and missionaries.
Mountain View Bible College was probably best known throughout Alberta, British Columbia, and Washington for its a cappella choir. The choir tours included many concerts in settings not related to the supporting denomination. Most of the student body sang in the choir – a fact that surprised and interested most people who heard them sing.
The Canada West District of the supporting denomination had, on average, about 20 congregations. Many of these were smaller with only 2 or 3 in city locations. Accreditation examiners were impressed at the financial success of the college in light of its very small supporting constituency. The giving of denominational people was supplemented by alumni giving and from agencies such as King's Kattle.
King's Kattle was the creation of cattleman Stanley Kellsey with the assistance of Donald Taylor and Lynn Hunsperger. Investors contributed units of $100 towards the purchase of cattle that were raised by farmers free of charge. At the time of sale of the cows, the original purchase price was returned to King's Kattle and the profits went to MVBC. Many times this source of funds made the difference in balancing the college budget.
Mountain View's instruction was a combination of academic excellence and emphasis on personal spiritual growth. Early on, faculty had graduate degrees and gave strong leadership in personal spiritual growth.
The College fulfilled the vision of its founder by training pastors and missionaries. In its 66 years, 214 of its graduates became pastors or pastors' wives, and 62 entered missionary service. Most became committed laypersons serving God in their vocations.
The Mountain View campus is now home to a senior housing development. The Education Centre is a Medical Centre and recreation centre for seniors. Hallman Hall is a single bedroom apartment. The sale of this property was important for the financing of the purchase of the facilities for RMC.
Hillcrest Christian College
Hillcrest Christian College opened in Medicine Hat in 1947. Regina Bible Institute (RBI), which opened as an independent institution in 1938, was moved to the Calvary Evangelical Church in Regina in 1941 under the direction of Rev. F. S. Magsig. When the city of Regina would not allow the facilities to be expanded, RBI moved to Medicine Hat which was more central to the conference.
Magsig indicated that Hillcrest was needed because the district in western Canada was far from other institutions of the denomination, and because other inter-denominational colleges in the west were Calvinist in tradition. Training in the Wesleyan-Arminian tradition was considered very important.
The College opened in Medicine Hat in rented facilities for one year until the district approved purchase of a former fire hall. Property in south east Medicine Hat was purchased for a larger campus on which classes began in 1961. It took a major investment to develop the campus which was the college's location until it moved to RMC. Two major complexes were completed on the site which were later enlarged. A President's house was later constructed as was a building leased to the Royal Bank.
Hillcrest Christian College served a total of 1,755 students and of those, 646 graduated from its programs. Many graduates entered pastoral ministry and missionary service.
For much of its existence, Hillcrest had a high school department and a liberal arts program. A joint program was later operated with Medicine Hat College which required students to take course work at both institutions and apply credits towards degree programs at Hillcrest. A strong Bible emphasis was always part of the program.
When the college moved to Medicine Hat, the Hillcrest Book Shop opened. A print shop opened in 1975 which served both the College and the Conference. College Cattle also began operations in Medicine Hat. Area farmers and ranchers planned together to provide beef for the College. At times, when more beef was donated than the College could use, the animals were sold and the profit went to HCC which was a significant boost to the success at Hillcrest.
October 27, 1989, Hillcrest received official notification of its full accreditation by the Accrediting Association of Bible Colleges. That notification came after years of diligent work. This accreditation was transferred to Rocky Mountain College upon its opening and affirmed two years later by an accreditation team from AABC.
Hillcrest Christian College served a total of 1,755 students and of those, 646 graduated from its programs. Many graduates entered pastoral ministry and missionary service. Hillcrest graduates have faithfully supported RMC in recruitment of students and in financing its operations.
The Hillcrest campus is now a Chinook Village seniors complex. The site was developed by the Evangelical Housing Society.