UFV celebrates 40th anniversary with ongoing commitment to success and community


By Anne Russell. The University of the Fraser Valley celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2014. It was a year to be proud of, one that included building openings, program launches, local and international activities, and student, faculty, staff, and alumni success, both locally and beyond.

Flickr slide show of year-in-review images here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ufv/sets/72157649455943360/

40th anniversary

Friday, April 4 marked 40 years since Fraser Valley College was proclaimed. To celebrate this special day, Premier Christy Clark officially opened UFV’s Agriculture Centre of Excellence, and UFV co-sponsored a lecture by astronaut Chris Hadfield, former commander of the International Space Station. UFV also held celebrations in Hope, Mission, Abbotsford, and Chilliwack during the first week of April.

At its June Convocation ceremonies, one of UFV’s honorary degree recipients was chosen as a nod to our roots: Doug Hamilton, the first chair of the Fraser Valley College board in 1974. Other honorary doctorate recipients were educational innovator George Siemens, whose selection was symbolic of the future of education, and entrepreneur and philanthropist Charllotte Kwan, who was recognized for her work empowering artisans.

UFV continued to celebrate its 40th in the fall, with community parties in Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Hope and Chandigarh, India, and co-sponsorship of the Celebration of Light in Mission.

In keeping with its agricultural roots, UFV also partnered with the Chilliwack Corn Maze. The corn maze’s design for 2014 was in the shape of UFV’s 40th anniversary logo, and proceeds from a special UFV Day on Sept 13 went to scholarship funds.

UFV also named its inaugural Top 40 alumni list to commemorate the 40th anniversary, and honored them at UFV’s Giving Thanks donor appreciation event in October.


Student achievements

More than 2,300 students graduated from UFV in 2014, earning 2,700 credentials.

Student-athlete Nicole Wierks was recognized as UFV’s top undergraduate scholar, earning the Governor General’s silver medal for her perfect 4.33 GPA over her last 30 credits. Wierks and her UFV Cascade team-mates also placed third in Canada at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport national basketball championships.

Brennan Gleason was a member of the first graduating class of the Graphic and Digital Design program, based at UFV’s Mission campus. He earned the Governor General’s bronze medal for having the highest marks in a diploma program. Gleason created a unique, eye-catching identity and bottle for High Seas Brewing Co — a homebrew brand he and his roommate Steve created so their small batch beer would have a style all its own. But he skyrocketed to internet fame soon after by producing a resume in the form of Resum-Ale, custom-designed beer labels and packaging extolling his strengths and assets.

Other major student award winners were Governor General’s gold medal winner Shannon Torhjelm and Lieutenant Governor’s medal winner Angela Lebedovich.

Business and aviation student Charles L’Hommecourt was named Ch’nook scholar through a provincial program recognizing Aboriginal business students who demonstrate personal and professional achievement.

Business students in associate professor Mark Breedveld’s sales class worked with Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce to increase memberships through a targeted sales drive.

UFV Global Development students Cydney Myers, Kara Hanson and Carolina Silva launched the social media initiative #sharemynextmeal, a charity challenge designed to encourage food bank donations.

More than 3,300 students signed up to be part of the new Co-Curricular Record program, designed to formally recognize extracurricular learning and activity.

More than 53 students took part in the Student Leadership Summit, taking in workshops such as Thinking Outside the Box and Conflict Resolution.

Geography students worked with the Fraser Valley Regional District for regional planning initiative for the Minter Gardens site.

History student Pierce Smith worked with the Chilliwack Museum and Archives on a project that created an interactive map of residences of Chilliwack soldiers who were killed in World War I.

In addition to presenting three plays and a directors’ festival, Theatre students worked with Abbotsford Police, Vancouver Police, and Abbotsford Hospital in role-playing for crisis scenarios.

Dozens of students presented their research from a variety of disciplines at the annual Student Research Day. The best were later recognized at the Student Research Awards.

UFV once again produced the Stand Out student magazine, designed to recognize student leaders from across the university.

The Peer Mentoring program paired senior Arts students with newcomers for support, guidance, and friendship.

This year 245 students were enrolled in the co-op program and 91 students were placed in co-op jobs in their field of study. Another 214 students were placed in work-study positions on campus.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing students are participating in a Fraser Health research initiative looking at nurse-sensitive adverse events.

The Certified Dental Assistant program is installing computers at the dental chairsides in UFV’s clinic so that students will graduate with proficiency working with the latest technology to support electronic documentation.

Welding student Dawson Procee took first place at the Skills Canada regionals and then again at the provincial competition to earn the right to compete at nationals.

Faculty, staff, and administration achievements

Dr. Lenore Newman, who holds UFV’s Canada Research Chair in Food Security and the Environment, was named to the inaugural cohort of the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars. She and her team also presented research on the B.C. Agricultural Land Reserve on the occasion of its 40th anniversary.

Dr. Michael Gaetz of the Kinesiology and Physical Education program received the UFV Research Excellence award for 2014 for his community-based health research projects.

Dr. Andrea Hughes of Psychology received the UFV Teaching Excellence award.

Dr. Carl Peters received a Social Science and Humanities Research Council grant to continue his work on poet bill bissett.

Criminologist Yvon Dandurand and colleagues completed an Assessment of the Criminal Justice System in Ethiopia (in support of the Government’s criminal justice reform efforts). The report was officially released by the Government of Ethiopia and the United Nations.

Several criminology/criminal justice professors collaborated on a new book titled Eliminating Crime: The Seven Essential Principles of Police-Based Crime Reduction.

Adult Education program head Seonaigh MacPherson served as head of the training subcommittee for BC Prior Learning Action Network. She also received funding to study the role adult education plays in cultural and linguistic sustainability.

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing faculty taskforce was formed to complete a comprehensive review and revitalization of the BSN curriculum. Starting in September 2015, the BSN program will implement a revised concept-based curriculum reflective of the latest graduate competencies and standards and innovative student-centered educational strategies.

The BSN faculty research group completed a five-year longitudinal study examining the academic performance, stress levels, and learner experience of the three-year fast track nursing student and the four-year program student. Faculty will be presenting preliminary results of the study at the annual Western Regional Canadian Association of Schools of nursing conference this coming February.

Dr. Peter Raabe of the Philosophy department was invited to present at the 6th International Conference on Humanities Therapy in South Korea. The field of humanities therapy includes art, music, poetry, philosophy and other forms of therapy.

Chief Financial Officer and Vice-President Administration Jackie Hogan received the Association of Women in Finance’s 2014 PEAK Award for Excellence in the Public Sector. The awards honour women who have achieved excellence in the field of finance.


Alumni achievements

UFV released its first-ever Top 40 Alumni list, recognizing excellent UFV alumni, ranging from recent graduates building their careers to leaders who were students in the early days of Fraser Valley College.

Patti MacAhonic was named Distinguished Alumni winner for 2014, while Tanya Jonker was recognized as the Distinguished Young Alumni winner.

The Alumni Association drafted a new strategic plan that will follow a vision of “All Alum Engaged” and encourage alumni to invest their time, talent, and treasure in their alma mater.

The Alumni Association also launched a new brand identity, including a refresh of Alumni Hall at the Abbotsford campus, with a new emphasis on highlighting alumni success.

UFV produced UFV Alumni Work Here window signs so that businesses and organizations can highlight their relationships with UFV and its alumni.

Several alumni were elected or re-elected to positions on municipal councils in the 2014 elections.

Geography alumnus Dan Huskein (BA ’12) was featured in the Maclean’s magazine 2015 guide to jobs in Canada for his work as a geographic information systems technician.

ECE/CYC alumna Marilyn Michell won the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Early Childhood Education for her work in the Language Nest program at A:lmelhawtxw Early Education Centre.

New alumna Libby Griffin is sticking close to UFV. She received a $46,000 Hakai Graduate Scholarship to conduct environmental research on the BC central coast. Now enrolled as a graduate student at Simon Fraser, Griffin continues to work under the mentorship and supervision of UFV’s Dr. Olav Lian in his Luminesence Dating Laboratory on the Abbotsford campus.


New programs and courses

UFV introduced Music Ensemble singing class elective that had the hallways ringing with the sound of choral music for the first time.

UFV’s Continuing Education department worked with the Communication department to introduce a Public Relations certificate that will launch in early 2015.

The Teacher Education program welcomed a secondary school cohort for the first time.

UFV launched an Engineering Physics diploma with a specialty in mechatronics, the study of the interface of mechanics and electronics found in modern technology.

Other new programs and options introduced included:

  • Management post-degree certificate
  • Economics major
  • French major
  • English Honours: Creative Writing degree option
  • Mathematics Honours option.

Other programs approved by UFV and awaiting external approval include:

  • Peace and Conflict Studies major and minor
  • Indigenous Studies major and minor
  • Theatre major
  • Bachelor of Professional Communication
  • Bachelor of Media Arts.

 Building openings and facilities development

Premier Christy Clark visited UFV to open Phase 1 of the Agriculture Centre of Excellence at the Chilliwack campus at Canada Education Park in April. This phase includes:

  • The 783 m2 Envision demonstration barn, including livestock area, milking area, poultry area, and swine area
  • A 600 m2 greenhouse featuring a multi-wall polycarbonate construction that provides a strong thermal rating and high energy efficiency. The greenhouse is the tallest in North America (12m or 3.5 storeys tall
  • A 225 m2 polyethyline greenhouse.

The university opened UFV Five Corners in August. Located at Chilliwack’s historic Five Corners at 46115 Yale Road, the former Bank of Montreal branch now houses a classroom, computer lab, meeting rooms, and offices in the 7,000 sq ft space.

The UFV Five Corners location — valued at $850,000 — was donated to the university by the Bank of Montreal. The Chilliwack Economic Partners Corporation (CEPCO) provided $850,000 to renovate the building and managed the renovation project. UFV provided $150,000 for furnishing, IT services, and other improvements.

UFV and the UFV Student Union Society continued construction on the new Student Union Building set to open in 2015. It is located west of the gymnasium complex on the Abbotsford campus. The $15-million project is financed on a cost-shared basis, with UFV students providing $10 million of the funding through a $35 per semester fee that was approved in a referendum in 2008. The university is providing $5 million of the funding, and Envision Financial is financing the project.

Community connections

Living up to its goal of being a leader of social, cultural, economic, and environmentally responsible development in the Fraser Valley, UFV was involved in a number of community outreach initiatives in 2014.

It once again hosted a Season of Theatre and the popular Absolute Style fashion show, along with graduation shows for Visual Arts and Graphic and Digital Design students, a Writers’ Weekend in Hope, a Writers and Readers’ Festival in Mission, a pechakucha event in Abbotsford, and the annual Literary Café at the Harrison Festival of the Arts.

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the Komagata Maru incident, UFV presented That Land Beyond The Waves, a specially commissioned play written by English professor Rajnish Dhawan.

UFV also recognized the 100th anniversary of World War I by presenting Great War Day, a multimedia day featuring displays, excerpts from Birdsong (a WWI-themed play), and a performance by the Great War chorus featuring songs from the era. Later in the fall, UFV English professor Prahbjot Parmar presented a lecture on her research into the Indian experience of the Great War.

Writer-in-residence Daniela Elza worked with student writers and presented public readings.

The President’s Leadership Lecture Series brought honorary degree recipients back to campus for extended talks, including Cree artist George Littlechild, entrepreneur and humanitarian Charllotte Kwon, journalist and science educator Penny Park, and Canadian rock singer and humanitarian Bif Naked.

The Research Lecture Series and Health Sciences Speaker Series also shared stimulating talks for UFV students and employees, as well as community members.

The UFV School of Business lent its support to Stó:lô Means Business, an economic business initiative focused on providing support to assist Aboriginal business growth within Stó:lô traditional territory and establishing Stó:lô as a leading centre of Aboriginal business.

Shirley Hardman, UFV’s Senior Advisor on Indigenous Affairs, served as board chair of Stó:lô Community Futures, which presented Stó:lô Business Match, an event connecting Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal businesses and organizations using an online dating/business profile tool and “speed dating” in-person meeting format.

UFV’s annual Career Fair welcomed 61 exhibitors and served more than 800 visitors. In preparation for the fair, the Career Centre organized a series of employer panel discussions and interactive employer-student workshops; 11 employers facilitated the workshops and 150 students attended them.

The Centre for Safe Schools and Communities hosted a conference on School-based Mental Health.

Reaching out to the next generation, UFV hosted Think Fun philosophy camps, Science Rocks camps, and athletic camps in the summer, and a regional science fair for schoolchildren in the spring.

As part of the summer community art course, Visual Arts students worked on five projects at Abbotsford and Matsqui recreation centres for the City of Abbotsford.

A Kin Day event was hosted by Kinesiology and Physical Education students at the Human Performance Lab at Canada Education Park. It was a day-long set of talks and demonstrations, given by faculty members and students, attended by the public, alumni, and current students.

Chandigarh achievements

UFV’s Chandigarh campus, where the university offers its Bachelor of Business Administration degree program, welcomed Premier Christy Clark and MP Ed Fast, federal Minister of International Trade, for October visits. The Chandigarh program, comprised of more than 100 students, enrolled 60 new students in September. More than 20 senior students transferred to the Abbotsford campus for their final years of schooling. The BBA program in Chandigarh will be celebrating 10 years in 2015.

UFV Chandigarh BBA students won top honours at the Next Generation Leaders Forum in Ontario, a global event presented by Junior Achievement Canada. The UFV student company’s ‘Bragger Jute Bag’ was named most outstanding product among all participating universities worldwide.

International connections

Social work professor Robert Harding travelled to New Zealand to explore exchange agreements with an indigenous focus, connecting the Maori of New Zealand with the aboriginal peoples of Canada.

Dr. Joanna Sheppard of Kinesiology and Physical Education led 20 students on a Champions for Health study tour in Antigua.

The work of UFV students completing internships in Tanzania was profiled in UniWorld, a publication of AUCC.

UFV hosted a number of international delegations for extended stays during the second half of the year. The UFV Trades and Technology Centre hosted 16 Chinese educators for a three-week intensive training program in teaching woodframe construction. Organized in conjunction with the Chinese National Ministry of Urban & Rural Housing Development, the program was sponsored by 11 Chinese vocational schools, nine building companies, and Canada Wood (an industry coalition that represents Canada’s forest sector’s interests in offshore markets).

A group of senior university administrators from Heilongjiang Province also took part in a comprehensive administration training program in August. UFV strengthened its relationship with Jissen Women’s University after hosting a group of students from the Tokyo partner institution at the tail end of the summer.

The Teacher Education program hosted a group from Mexico Escuela Normal del Estado in early November for a one-week Teacher Education learning exchange. Finally, UFV bid farewell to a group of instructors from Xi’an Fanyi University in China. Over a seven-week period, the group worked closely with UFV’s Teaching & Learning Centre to improve instructional skills. All of these visits were organized in partnership with UFV International.

The September intake of international students was the largest on record for UFV. To better serve our students, UFV International underwent a major renovation to create a Global Lounge, and spearheaded a number of global engagement initiatives. These will continue into 2015 and beyond.


UFV embraced its commitment to Aboriginal peoples while continuing its initiative to indigenize the university.

UFV programs and departments, including Teacher Education, Library and Information Technology, Health Sciences, and Social Work and Human Services placed students in Aboriginal organizations for their practicum and clinical placement experiences.

UFV renamed its Art Gallery to S’eliyemetaxwtexw (The Place of Dreams) honouring the traditional territory of the Stó:lô people.

The Lens of Empowerment project saw students enrol in video-documentary and Indigenous art history courses to examine the interrelationship between women, citizenship, identity and the land. As part of the project, UFV hosted a community film screening of Hands of History, a documentary about four Aboriginal women artists.

Honorary degree recipient George Littlechild, renowned Indigenous artist, returned to campus to inspire UFV students and the community with the story of his personal journey.

Eighteen Nicola Valley Institute of Technology transfer students graduated with their Bachelor of General Studies at UFV’s June convocation. They are now working in senior positions in addictions counselling and Aboriginal health in their communities; many are now in graduate programs.

UFV partnered with Stó:lô Nation to deliver Xe’lts’t: Turning the Page, an initiative to prepare Aboriginal students for employment and further education, with a focus on Stó:lô Culture and Language or Trades training.


Aieisha Luyken and Jasper Moedt, both basketball players, were the female and male athletes of the year at UFV. Moedt was also a Canada West Second Team all-star.

Women’s basketball team won the bronze medal at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport national championships. Kayli Sartori was an allstar at the national tournament.

The women’s soccer team placed fourth at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport national championships. Kara Delwo was a Canada West first team all-star and a tournament all-star at nationals. Monika Levarsky was a Canada West second team all-star and Kayla Klim won the Canada West student-athlete community service award.

The women’s golf team won its second consecutive Pacwest championship and earned silver at the Canadian national championships. The men’s golf team won its third consecutive Pacwest championship and took home bronze at the Canadian national championship.

Connor O’Dell and Jen Woods were CCAA All-Canadians, and Chris Bertram won both the Pacwest and CCAA coach of the year awards.

In July, UFV golfer Aaron Pauls became UFV’s first athlete in any sport to be chosen by Team Canada for the World University Championships, which took place in Crans-Montana, Switzerland.  Pauls’ solid play led Team Canada to a fifth-place finish. UFV golf coach and associate professor Chris Bertram was also appointed to the coaching staff for Team Canada for the World University Championships.

In men’s soccer, Colton O’Neill was a first team Canada West all-star and Ryan Liddiard was a second-teamer.

In women’s volleyball, PacWest first team all-stars were Jenna Evans and Krista Hogewoning, Kierra Noot was a second-teamer.
UFV also launched a varsity wrestling program. The grapplers compete at the Canada Interuniversity Sport level.

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