Representatives from the University of Northern British Columbia’s past, present, and future gathered at the Prince George campus today to kick off a 10-month celebration that will culminate with UNBC’s 25th anniversary on June 22, 2015.
“This year represents a significant milestone in the history of UNBC. As a northern institution, it is a time for us to boldly envision our future, to challenge ourselves, and to continue our evolution as a leader in post-secondary education in the North and beyond,” says UNBC President Daniel Weeks. “The faculty and staff at UNBC have positioned us to both continue our world-class research on important issues and educate the next generation of northern leaders. This is the mandate that was envisioned for us a quarter century ago, and one to which we are proud to aspire.”
In 1988, 16,000 people donated $5 and joined a public campaign calling on government to create a university for the North. On June 22, 1990 the BC government passed the UNBC Act, officially creating UNBC. During the intervening 25 years, UNBC has grown to become a leader in research and education as well as an integral part of the Northern BC community.
Tree planting commemorates UNBC's history, present and future
That history was celebrated today as a Linden tree was planted in the University’s Ceremonial Loop at the main entrance to the campus. Founders prepared the hole, alumni and students planted the tree, and children from the UNBC Childcare Centre covered the tree’s roots with soil – representing the establishment of UNBC, its present, and future.
The new tree is just the beginning. Over the course of the anniversary year, UNBC will recognize the 16,000 founders who comprised the social movement that spurred the University’s creation. The Natural Resources and Environmental Studies Institute will plant 16,000 trees throughout Northern BC in the spring of 2015. Also in honour of the founders, UNBC will institute The 16,000 Legacy Award. The $2,500 award is available to two or more full-time undergraduate students annually with preference given to those who signed the petition or their descendants.
“UNBC has so much to celebrate this year, including the many accomplishments of our faculty, staff, students, and alumni,” says Tracy Summerville, Chair of UNBC’s 25th Anniversary Steering Committee. “Through the support and ideas from the University community at large, UNBC will use this anniversary to showcase its strengths and build toward a future that Northerners can proudly call their own.
Partners fund the Sustainable Communities Demonstration Project
Earlier, as part of the kick-off of the 25th anniversary, Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk announced a funding partnership that will see an expansion to UNBC’s bioenergy system connecting the student residences, daycare, and I.K. Barber Enhanced Forestry Lab to UNBC’s award-winning energy system. Contributors to the $2.2 million project include the Government of BC, UNBC, TransCanada Corporation, the Omineca Beetle Action Coalition, and the BC Bioenergy Network. Pacific BioEnergy announced it will be donating the wood pellets to fuel the expanded system.
Winter Games Closing Ceremonies coming to UNBC
The 2015 Canada Winter Games also got involved with the official kick-off, announcing that the closing ceremonies will be held at UNBC. The Games, the largest multi-sport and cultural event to ever be held in Prince George and Northern BC, will help shine a spotlight on the community, with UNBC’s campus to play a major role as home to multiple sporting venues and the grand finale.
A year full of celebrations to come
UNBC’s 25th Anniversary events will take place throughout the academic year, and include a Discovery Centre during the 2015 Canada Winter Games as well as a five-part discussion series where the public will have the chance to help shape the agenda for a University they helped create 25 years ago. Regional celebrations will also take place in Terrace, Gitwinksihlkw, Quesnel, and Fort St. John as part of graduation ceremonies in June.
The 25th anniversary celebrations will conclude over the course of June 20 to 22, 2015. Inspired by the accomplishments and contributions of UNBC faculty, graduates, and honorary degree recipients, the weekend will provide a stage upon which graduates can showcase and present their ideas for the future,
For a full schedule of events and updates throughout the year, visit www.unbc.ca/25