April 11, 2012
A professor at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) has been named Academic of the Year by the Confederation of University Faculty Associations of BC (CUFA BC) and will receive the honour at a gala dinner this evening at the Law Courts Inn in Vancouver emceed by Sheryl MacKay, host of CBC Radio One's North by Northwest.
Dr. Chris Opio, who has been an Ecosystem Science and Management professor at UNBC since 1995, will receive the 2012 Academic of the Year Award for his work in establishing sustainable clean water resources in Northern Uganda. Dr. Opio founded the Northern Uganda Development Foundation in Prince George to support his work and to date has established 42 wells providing clean water to more than 50,000 people. "Dr. Opio's commitment not only to establishing wells, but also to teaching communities how to manage and care for their water resources is truly inspiring," says Dr. David Mirhady, President of CUFA BC.
CUFA BC represents 4,600 university professors, instructors, academic librarians and other academic staff at the province's five doctoral universities -- SFU, UBC, UNBC, UVic, and Royal Roads University.
“I’m honoured and deeply grateful to be receiving this award from CUFA BC. My work is very special to me because I believe I’m giving hope, not only to the people in Uganda, but people around the world,” says Dr. Opio. “I also talk to youth and communities in Prince George about water management in Uganda and they are able to see how they can better manage their own water resources here in Canada. They understand that global connection.”
The awards are presented annually by the Confederation of University Faculty Associations of BC to recognize outstanding faculty members at BC's public universities who use their research and scholarly work to benefit the general public.
In November of 2010, Dr. Opio was recognized on CBC Television’s “Champions of Change” program, which celebrates Canada’s top volunteers. He was nominated as one of the top ten volunteers from across Canada who had made “an invaluable contribution to society, serving our community at home, and helping our neighbours abroad.”