UNBC Caps off Milestone Year with Community Celebration

June 20, 2015

Prince George, BC – The University of Northern British Columbia’s 25th Anniversary year reached a rousing climax with a community gathering that celebrated the University’s founding and its many achievements, while charting a course for its future.

“UNBC’s 25th anniversary has been a valuable opportunity to celebrate our unique history, while also examining the difference this University has made across Northern BC, Canada, and the world,” says UNBC President Dr. Daniel Weeks.

UNBC 25th Anniversary
The Khast'an Drummers led the procession as the 25th Anniversary Community Celebration got underway. Download high-resolution image.

More than 300 people gathered at the Charles Jago Northern Sport Centre for the 25th Anniversary Community Celebration: The Founding and the Future. The event featured an inspiring series of presentations, beginning with a presentation by Dr. Tracy Summerville, chair of the 25th Anniversary Steering Committee, explaining the significance of the three axes upon which UNBC’s Prince George campus is built.

The event featured a number of additional presentations:

  • Chief Dominic Frederick welcomed those in attendance to the traditional territory of the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation.
  • Margaret Warcup, a member of the original Interim Governing Council from 1990, provided an explanation of UNBC’s Coat of Arms and other ceremonial items.
  • Ron Sebastian, a Gitxsan artist and carver of UNBC’s Ceremonial Chairs and Talking Stick, described his experience carving these intricate pieces of art, which have become key components of UNBC ceremonies, including Convocation. Grand Chief Ed John also spoke about the Talking Stick via video.

Former UNBC president Charles Jago, right, hugs his old friend, carver Ron Sebastian, the creator of UNBC's Ceremonial Chairs and Talking Stick, which Sebastian is holding. Download high-resolution image.

  • Shirley Bond, MLA for Prince George-Valemount, reflected on the role of government, and how small gestures can make a large difference.
  • Current UNBC student Samantha Unger, along with Dr. Weeks, unveiled the installation commemorating the names of the 16,000 Northern British Columbians who signed a petition in the late 1980s calling on the provincial government to create a university for the North.

UNBC President Dr. Daniel Weeks (left) and the Unger family watch the 16,000 names of petition signers scroll by
. Download high-resolution image.

  • Samantha's father, Wendell Unger, is one of those 16,000 and was featured in a video presentation about the impact UNBC is having on families.

  • Three distinguished alumni, Cameron Bell, Hazel Nyce, and Ryan Matheson, spoke about their experiences at UNBC. Matheson was officially named as chair of UNBC’s Board of Governors, the first UNBC graduate to hold that position.

 President Weeks congratulates Matheson on his new position.
 President Weeks congratulates Ryan Matheson on his new position. Download high-resolution image.

  • The community celebration concluded with a speech by Dr. Weeks, that covered the university’s past, its present, and delivered a vision for its future. The anniversary was multifaceted for UNBC; events, initiatives, and projects helped preserve and publicize the university’s history, gave tribute to its earliest supporters, educated current students about the origins of their university, celebrated the research and learning that is the cornerstone of the university, and envisioned the path UNBC will take as it enters its next quarter century.

“This year has been filled with memorable moments for the UNBC community, and projects such as the one to honour the 16,000 petition signers and the planting of 16,000 trees across Northern BC will leave behind a legacy for many years to come,” says Tracy Summerville, Chair of the 25th Anniversary Steering Committee. “I offer thanks to the 25th Anniversary Steering Committee, UNBC’ s students, faculty and staff, and everyone else who helped make the 25th anniversary of UNBC such an outstanding success.”

The year began with a kick-off celebration on Sept. 2, 2014, that featured a symbolic tree planting by founders, current students, and UNBC daycare children. The kick-off was followed by a series of public events that catered to founders, current and former staff and faculty, students, alumni, and members of the larger community. 

“Today we’re pivoting into our next quarter century, and imagining a future for UNBC based on leadership, excellence, and engagement,” adds Dr. Weeks. “Congratulations to everyone who played a role in making our 25th anniversary so special.”

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