16,000 petition signers, 16,000 alumni

This month the 16,000th UNBC graduate will cross the stage at Convocation. The University is recognizing the milestone with the #UNBCPayItForward Campaign to help support the next 16,000 graduates.

May 2, 2022

More than three decades ago, 16,000 northern B.C. residents signed a petition, contributed $5 and joined the Interior University Society to advocate for a university in Prince George. This year, the 16,000th graduate from the University of Northern British Columbia will cross the stage at our Convocation on May 27. 

That’s 16,000 alumni who are applying the knowledge and expertise they gained at UNBC to their careers and lives. Whether it’s on the front lines in health care, as they start businesses, take on leadership roles, develop a sustainable future, or volunteer their time and talents for worthy causes, UNBC graduates contribute meaningfully to society across northern B.C. and around the world.  

The original 16,000 UNBC champions envisioned a University that would provide opportunities for northerners to receive an education closer to home and welcome students and scholars from around the world.  

“It’s remarkable to think that we now have one graduate for every person who lent their name and their $5 contribution to the cause of creating a University in northern B.C., for northern B.C.,” says UNBC President Dr. Geoff Payne. “We are fulfilling the aspirations of UNBC’s foundering supporters through our excellent teaching, groundbreaking research and the amazing impact our alumni have in our communities.”  

To mark the momentous occasion, UNBC is launching the #UNBCPayItForward Campaign. It’s an opportunity for those who have benefited from UNBC to pay it forward for the next 16,000 graduates by making a financial contribution.  

The first $50,000 raised supporting the new 16,000 Alumni Award will be matched dollar for dollar by other donors.

“Our alumni, soon-to-be 16,000 strong, benefited from the vision of our founding supporters and everyone who advocated for the creation of UNBC,” says UNBC Alumni Council Chair Isabella Wilson-Beaulieu, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing graduate. “Through the Pay it Forward Campaign, our alumni and other supporters will fund new awards so more students will have the opportunity to gain knowledge, share ideas and prepare for their careers at UNBC.”

Lucy Guan is a member of the class of 2022 at UNBC and is proud to be one of the first 16,000 graduates. Guan chose UNBC so she could play on the women’s basketball team and gain the educational foundation for a career in accounting. 

Guan, like many UNBC students, received financial support through student awards to help her finance her studies. This month, Guan is graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting and Finance and was named to the UNBC Timberwolves President’s Honour Roll with a perfect 4.33 GPA. 

“I have received more support at UNBC over the past four years than I could have ever hoped for,” Guan says. “If it weren’t for the generosity of the original 16,000 advocates, I would not be able to join the UNBC Alumni family this May. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to become a Timberwolf!”