Dr. Gwen Point was installed as Chancellor of the University of the Fraser Valley at a ceremony at its Chilliwack campus at Canada Education Park on February 4, 2015.
The installation ceremony was attended by more than 400 dignitaries and special guests, including the Honourable Judith Guichon, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia.
Dr. Point takes over from Dr. Brian Minter, who was UFV’s first Chancellor and served two terms stretching from 2008 to 2014.
The Chancellor is the ceremonial head of the University of the Fraser Valley and serves as a member of the Board of Governors and the Senate. Dr. Point will also preside over UFV’s Convocation, conferring degrees, diplomas, and certificates, and serve as an ambassador for UFV at major events.
The Chancellor is appointed by the UFV Board of Governors upon the recommendation of the Alumni Association and consultation with the UFV Senate.
The new Chancellor’s connection to the University of the Fraser Valley stretches back decades, starting in the early 1980s when she and her husband Steven (former Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia and a B.C. provincial court judge) took university-level courses there.
From Fraser Valley College student to member of the University College of the Fraser Valley board of governors, to UFV assistant professor, Dr. Point’s career and educational journey has paralleled the development of UFV from college to university.
“The UFV Board of Governors is delighted to welcome Dr. Gwen Point as UFV’s Chancellor,” said UFV Board Chair Barry Delaney. “Dr. Point has been part of UFV since our early days. She knows us well and epitomizes our commitment to quality education, student success, and regional development. We are extremely fortunate to have Gwen serve as UFV’s next Chancellor.”
“I am very pleased to be working with Dr. Point,” said UFV President and Vice-Chancellor Mark Evered. “She brings a unique balance of community and university experience, leadership and understanding. She has served our University as a teacher, a scholar, an administrator, and a board member, has held a number of offices in government, including the senior office of Chatelaine, and is a passionate leader, mentor, and role model in our community. She is an outstanding addition to UFV.”
Dr. Point recently resigned from her role as assistant professor in the School of Social Work at UFV in order to take on the volunteer Chancellor position. She taught First Nations Studies courses, including Stó:lō Nation Development, and Stó:lō Communications and World View.
“It is a real honour to be asked and a privilege to take on this role,” said Dr. Point, a member of the Skowkale First Nation who lives in Chilliwack. “I started my post-secondary education here and I was very grateful for the access it provided at the time. It was wonderful to not have to leave home to get an education. It was a very special experience when I returned here to teach full time in 2005. Now becoming Chancellor and playing a leadership role at UFV sends a message that dreams do come true and good things do happen.”
Dr. Point is looking forward to playing a leadership role as UFV plans for the future.
“It has been a pleasure to be associated with the university for its first 40 years, but I am especially looking forward to continuing our association for the next few years, because this is a very exciting time at the university. I am delighted that UFV is embracing the future, through recent revisions to our education plan, development of Institutional Learning Outcomes, and the brand new UFV 2025 visioning process, which will help us plan for the next decade and beyond.”
She said that she will miss teaching and the opportunity it provided to pass on knowledge about Stó:lō culture and history to both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students.
“My grandmother told me that what you know has no value. It’s like sand in your hand unless you pass it on to others. I know that teaching the community about the Stó:lō people has made a difference and I really believe that it is an act of reconciliation. It is helping to create a better understanding of recent history. Every class, I would see a shift and transformation in the students.”
Dr. Point added that becoming Chancellor will allow her to continue to provide leadership and mentorship to young people.
“My elders said that your greatest teaching method is one of example. You can’t do anything directly about others’ choices but you can help by setting an example. I feel blessed to have the opportunity.”
Brian Minter, UFV’s first Chancellor, was recognized at the ceremony for his many years of service to UFV.
“The UFV Board of Governors offers heartfelt thanks to our outgoing Chancellor, Dr. Brian Minter,” said Delaney. “His decades of service to the university as teacher, board chair, donor, advocate, and Chancellor have in no small way shaped UFV into the outstanding university it is today.”
“It was an honour to work with Chancellor Minter,” said Evered. “His passion and dedication to UFV has created an outstanding legacy of excellence and community connection. I have learned a great deal from Brian, and I am forever grateful for his mentorship, guidance, and friendship throughout my tenure as UFV president.”
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More about Dr. Gwen Point
Gwen Point brings extensive teaching and educational leadership experience, from elementary to post-secondary, to her new role, as well as extensive government experience from her work with provincial ministries and her service as Chatelaine of B.C.
- She has been a student, a Board of Governors member, and an associate professor at UFV.
- She holds a Bachelor of Education degree from UBC, a post-baccalaureate diploma from SFU, and a Master of Education degree from the University of Portland, and is near completion of a doctorate in education from SFU. She also holds an honorary Doctor of Education degree from the University of Victoria.
- She is a respected Stó:lō leader, mentor, and cultural advisor. She has contributed her cultural knowledge and experience to numerous books, conferences, workshops and communities, often as an invited keynote contributor.
- She has also received numerous prestigious awards over the course of her career.
- The ceremonial aspects of her Chancellor role, which will include presiding over Convocation and appearing at other special events, will be inspired both by her time as Chatelaine of B.C. and her leadership role in the Stó:lō community.
- When not busy with their professional or community roles, she and her husband Steven enjoy spending time with their children and grandchildren.