When Georgina Becker answered the door of her Omineca Street home in Vanderhoof nearly three decades ago, she didn’t know she would soon be part of a movement that changed the future of Northern BC.
Dr. Alvin Willis Mooney, a legendary figure in the Vanderhoof medical community and a tireless advocate for more post-secondary education options for northern residents, was standing at her doorstep,. Dr. Mooney asked Becker to add her name to the Interior University Society petition, a cause pushing for the creation of a new university in the region.
“He had significant influence and an ability to reach people,” Georgina says. “People paid attention. I thought that it could be the place where my kids end up going to school and how great that would be.””
With a young family of her own, Georgina didn’t think twice about contributing $5 and adding her name to the society’s growing membership rolls.
Not only did Georgina heed his call, so did her mother. Audrey L’Heureux, who died in 2013, was also among the 16,000 residents who joined the Interior University Society.
Audrey, who owned the Nechako Chronicle newspaper along with Dr. Mooney in the 1970s, spent most of her career reporting and editing newspapers. She began as a Vanderhoof correspondent for the Prince George Citizen, before taking over as editor of the Chronicle. She also edited newspapers in Smithers and Kitimat.
During that time she amassed a collection of historical data, which she eventually turned into two self-published books on the history of the region. Her research now resides in the Northern BC Archives at UNBC so future historians can use it as a resource to continue their studies of the region.
What started with a simple signature and a $5 pledge has turned into so much more for Georgina and her family. Her son, Laine Becker, earned his Bachelor of Science in Nursing from UNBC earlier this year.
Laine and Georgina Becker
Laine already had a family of his own with deep roots in Prince George when he decided to go back to school in his late 20s to pursue a career in nursing.
With the Northern Collaborative Baccalaureate Nursing Program at his doorstep, he was able to stay with his family, get his education, and start his new career in one place.
“It was a good fit for me,” Laine says. “To go somewhere else just didn’t make any sense.”
Georgina says she’s proud of Laine, not only for achieving his degree, but also for his decision to stay in the North where he can continue to give back to the community.
Laine’s decision to study nursing helps to complete the circle that started when Dr. Mooney knocked on Georgina’s door in the 1980s.
While watching graduates receive their diplomas this spring, the scope and reach of UNBC began to soak in for Georgina.
Were you one of the 16,000 who signed the petition? Tell us your story here: http://www.unbc.ca/25/public-campaign-update-form