2012 a year to celebrate at UFV

Nursing students celebrate their graduation at the new Chilliwack campus at Canada Education Park

Nursing students celebrate their graduation at the new Chilliwack campus at Canada Education Park

It was another busy year at the University of the Fraser Valley, one filled with building and campus openings, student and faculty success, athletic and cultural achievements, and community engagement.

As the university breaks briefly for the holiday season, here’s a look at 2012 in review.

Building boom

UFV had major facilities open in three communities in 2012:

  • In Abbotsford, the university partnered with the city to create the UFV Clearbrook Centre on the lower floor of the Clearbrook library, in the heart of the Abbotsford’s civic centre. The new location opened in January and is home to UFV’s Continuing Studies and Applied Business Technology programs along with other courses and special events.
  • The District of Mission invested $500,000 to help fund the creation of a new graphic design lab at the UFV Mission campus at Heritage Park Centre, which opened in September. The campus is now home to the newly revamped and revived Graphic and Digital Design lab, and students have state-of-the-art equipment to work with.
  • And in Chilliwack, UFV opened the long-awaited next phase of its Chilliwack campus at Canada Education Park in May. This $44-million project was an extreme renovation a former military building into a bright and beautiful home for the Faculty of Health Sciences and other courses and programs offered in Chilliwack.
  • Late in the year UFV also received its largest donation ever when BMO Financial gave its former building at Five Corners in downtown Chilliwack to the university. The Chilliwack Economic Partners Corporation pledged renovation funds that combined for a $1.5 million gift.

Student achievements

  • More than 2,000 students graduated from UFV at Convocation ceremonies in June held at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre.
  • Top academic awards went to Donna Alary (governor general’s gold medal), Ricardo Gigglberger (governor general’s silver medal), Marina Parapini (governor general’s bronze medal), and Kyriel Funk (lieutenant governor’s medal). Deans’ medals went to Rosanna Martens, Deni Hawley, and Crystal Drouillard.
  • Biology grad Jenna Peters from Abbotsford was awarded a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship in recognition of excellence in her biochemistry research done at UFV. The award, valued at $17,500, is a prestigious one, given to only the top students across the country based on the student’s research ability, academic GPA, and leadership skills. She is using the award to help fund her PhD studies at the University of BC.
  • Electrical apprentice Gordon Kearns won the silver medal at the Skills Canada national competition in Edmonton. The 21-year-old Chilliwack resident, who grew up in Boston Bar, placed second in the category of post-secondary electrical installations.
  • Students excelled overseas, completing internships in Tanzania and India, and study abroad terms at partner universities.  Business students at UFV’s Chandigarh, India, location even got to meet PM Stephen Harper.
  • Kinesiologist Joanna Sheppard once again took a group of students to Antigua to conduct physical education and life skills sessions for elementary school children.
  • Closer to home, geography student Daniel Huesken and other students and alumni got to work with NASA scientists on a project at Kelly Lake in the BC Interior, Fine Arts students completed a school mural in Mission, media and communications students shot a video about a project where children dance with seniors at a long term care home, and kinesiology and nursing students led fitness activities for seniors at a care home in Abbotsford.
  • Eleven students, several of them Sto:lo women, took part Lens of Empowerment project, a three-course program that examined the lives and experiences of women in Stó:lō territory. Four of the eleven students and several UFV faculty members were off to Loughborough University in England to show the students’ art to the world. The conference, titled Home/Land: Women, Citizenship, Photographies, explored similar issues to those were approached by the students in the Lens of Empowerment program.
  • A group of biology students and faculty headed to field school in Ecuador this past summer.
  • History students taking Local History for the Web built web pages about the Fraser Valley’s experience of World War II.
  • Culinary Arts students launched a popular gourmet dining prix fixe menu experience Tuesday and Wednesday evenings at Rivers fine dining lounge

Faculty, staff, and administration achievement

  • The UFV Teaching Excellence award went to Dr. Sheryl MacMath of Teacher Education, and the inaugural Research Excellence award went to Dr. Olav Lian of Geography.
  • Dr. Wenona Victor was hired as UFV’s first Indigenous Studies faculty member. She will be working to launch this area of studies at UFV.
  • Three outstanding UFV employees were honoured in the inaugural Employee Excellence awards. The awards recognize and celebrate employees who have inspired others through their outstanding achievement within the university and/or their community. Hope centre coordinator Hilary Kennedy (now retired), senior advisor on indigenous affairs Shirley Hardman, and political science professor Rita Dhamoon were all honoured at a recent ceremony.
  • Dr. Peter Raabe spoke about the role of philosophy in counselling at the UNESCO Korea Second World Humanities Forum in Busan, Korea in November.
  • Vice-Provost Peter Geller, an expert in the visual history of the Canadian North, helped resurrect and tour a 1919 film about the Hudson’s Bay Company that had been forgotten in an archive in England.
  • Gwen Point of the Social Services and Social Work department, along with her husband Steven, who is a UFV alumnus and recently finished his term as Lieutenant Governor of BC, received honorary doctorates from the University of Victoria.
  • UFV president and vice chancellor Mark Evered received the Queen’s Jubiliee Medal in September.
  • UFV welcomed new registrar and university secretary Al Wiseman, dean of science Lucy Lee, dean of health sciences Joanne MacLean, vice provost Peter Geller, and VP students Jody Gordon, and appointed Dr. Sue Brigden as dean of community access and open studies.

Community outreach


  • hosted an Indigenizing the Academy conference at the aboriginal gathering place at its new Canada Education Park location, bringing aboriginal educators from across Canada together for three days.
  • conferred honorary degrees on Sto:lo elder Ray Silver Sr., rock and roll radio pioneer and veteran broadcaster Red Robinson, and professional hockey player turned advocate for child sexual abuse victims Sheldon Kennedy .
  • gave the Betty Urquhart community service award went to the Choice program at the Agassiz Centre for Education, and Pacific Riding for Developing Abilities (Chilliwack).
  • honoured Distinguished Alumnus George Hemeon and, for the first time, a Young Distinguished Alumnus, Alex McAulay.
  • ran a successful Lost Alumni campaign, finding and registering many alumni who had previously been out of contact with UFV.
  • held a free concert and poetry reading to celebrate the launch of Peace Studies at UFV
  • hosted the premiere of  Tracks Across the Sand, a new DVD set by the university’s Canada Research Chair Hugh Brody, about the ‡Khomani San and their land claims in South Africa.
  • recognized scholarship, award, and bursary sponsors at the annual Changing Lives awards ceremony and at individual ceremonies for several corporate donations.
  • hosted another successful season of theatre, a round-table for teacher education programs from throughout BC, several lecture series and numerous special presentations, forums, and events.


UFV launched:

  • a Data Analysis post-degree certificate to train data scientists for the social media world and traditional businesses
  • a Global Development Studies degree
  • a revamped Graphic and Digital Design diploma.


  • UFV’s men’s and women’s basketball teams both qualified for post-season playoffs in 2012 and the men placed fourth in Canada.
  • The women’s soccer team qualified for post-season play but lost in the first round
  • The women’s volleyball team placed third in Canada in 2012 and is currently ranked #1 in CCAA rankings in Canada for 2012/13
  • The women’s basketball team is currently ranked #2 in Canada in CIS national rankings for the 2012/13 season.

“At UFV we are committed to being a leader in our communities and providing the best undergraduate university education in Canada,” said UFV president Mark Evered. “Looking back at the year 2012, we can find many encouraging and inspiring examples of how we are living and breathing those goals in every endeavour we undertake as a university.”

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