Business owner and philanthropist to receive honorary degree

Driven by a desire to give back to community, Prince George business owner Selen Alpay's hard work and business acumen have facilitated his numerous and far-reaching accomplishments in community caring and community development.

April 6, 2023
Prince George business owner Selen Alpay will receive an honorary degree at the graduate celebration in Prince George at the end of May.

Prince George, B.C. – Selen Alpay, an established Prince George business owner, community leader and philanthropist, will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Northern British Columbia during the 2023 Convocation ceremony at the Prince George campus on May 26.

Alpay has been the owner of the Canadian Tire store in Prince George for 15 years, but his career trajectory with the retail business franchise began more than four decades ago as a young man growing up in the Kitchener-Waterloo region of Ontario. He attributes his success as a businessperson to hard work and determination, Alpay held every position the franchise offers before advancing into management and, eventually, ownership.

Facilitated by his business accomplishments and motivated by his compassion, Alpay has contributed to community locally, regionally, and beyond. For eight years, Canadian Tire has been the presenting sponsor of the UNBC Timberwolves Legacy fundraiser, with all proceeds raised going directly to scholarships and bursaries for UNBC student-athletes.

“To be receiving this honorary Doctor of Laws degree from UNBC is both humbling and gratifying,” says Alpay. “My biggest goal in life is to touch as many lives as I can, having the most impact on them for both success and happiness.”

Alpay is a tireless supporter of many causes, both with his time and through philanthropic giving, that contribute to the health and well-being of residents in Prince George. His business has been a major sponsor for the Canadian Cancer Society, BC Cancer Society, Canada Winter Games, Prince George Community Foundation, and National Indigenous People’s Day. Alpay has personally raised significant funds for the Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation and contributed to the capital investment for the YMCA’s Foundry Youth Health Centre. He also donates annually to several youth events aimed at removing barriers to access including School District 57’s Hockey Academy, Jumpstart and free swims with the City of Prince George.

The impact of Alpay’s generosity extends far beyond Prince George. He is Chair of the Pinball Clemons Foundation in Toronto, which provides mentorship and financial support to marginalized youth.

He has travelled to Kenya to aid in the construction of two schools, a water treatment plant and a farm. In Haiti, he funded an upgrade to a hospital for solar power to enable patient care at night. He has also spent time in Ecuador supporting a campaign to ensure wells for clean drinking water in several villages.

Alpay will receive the honorary degree during the afternoon ceremony celebrating the Class of 2023 at Convocation on May 26.