University of the Fraser Valley

50 Remarkable Alumni: Decades of authentic community connections for Stacey Irwin

50 Remarkable Alumni: Decades of authentic community connections for Stacey Irwin

Stacey Irwin was a leader on day one.

And she hasn’t stopped since.

Irwin (BBA ’97) co-founded the UCFV Alumni Association and sat as its first chair — a position she held until 2008 — but her contributions didn’t end there, thanks to an incredible commitment to community, driven by three principles of success: be open to new opportunities; stay committed to continued learning; and dedicate yourself to making your community a better place.

Throughout her almost three decades with Prospera Credit Union, Irwin has seen the financial institution through it all, including its recent merger with Westminster Savings Credit Union in 2020. Still, one thing remains the same: her incredible talent for making connections that benefit the people and places around her.

For this and more, Irwin is among UFV’s 50 Remarkable Alumni.

“I’ve been with the company for 26 years and although my roles and the financial institution landscape have changed, leadership is a constant — something you learn to do and adapt,” she says.

That authentic and genuine ability to lead is especially important in Irwin’s current role of Director of Digital, Payments & Business Partnership.

She developed leadership skills in part through a dedication to community — chairing several community organization boards, including the Rotary Club of Abbotsford and the Abbotsford International Airshow, where she was the first female board chair.

She’s also been an integral member of the UFV community, serving on the UFV Board of Governors, UCFV Foundation Board, many committees and as the first chair of the UFV Alumni Association in addition to being recognized as a UFV Ripple Maker, receiving her loyalty paddle in 2022.

“I graduated from university, and I’ve been dedicated to my community ever since,” says Irwin.

Irwin dedicated much of her early career to supporting UFV and its students. She was a member of the Friends of UCFV Society that worked hard to get university status. It took considerable effort to build up a community of UCFV alumni, many meaningful conversations and encouragement to gather interest. But the hard work paid off.

In 2001, Irwin successfully co-founded the UCFV Alumni Association, and sat as the first chair; a position she held until 2008.

“The director of community relations, Bob Warick, approached me upon graduation while the university began developing its five-year strategic plan,” says Irwin. “He wanted me involved along with a few other alumni to help define what the UCFV Alumni Association would mean to the university (that did not have an alumni association) and its importance. This also contributed to the success of our receiving university status several years later.”

When reflecting on her time at UFV, Irwin fondly recalls being on the board of governors when the university began the development of the Institutional Learning Outcomes, which were first introduced in 2012 by Eric Davis, VP Academic and Provost. To her, the learning outcomes fit well with the institutional priorities, but could also be applied to her personal practice.

Irwin admits that there is a common thread that runs through all the work she has done for the university and community where it can be applied.

“It’s for the students,” she says. “They’re the future. That’s what we’re investing in, in everything we do. And I believe strongly in that.”

That commitment extends far beyond platitudes. Prospera Foundation recently announced $200,000 of support for the UFV Student Wellness Centre, being provided over two years. “My worlds continue to come together and that speaks to the values of both organizations that I’m proud to be part of.”

When thinking of all UFV students, Irwin imparted this wisdom, gained from her own experiences:

“Don’t be afraid to open doors,” she says. “You meet the best people and have the best experiences by taking opportunities and opening doors.”

Irwin has watched the institution grow from a university college to a full-fledged university. All the while, she’s played a part in its growth, giving her time, talent, and treasure all along the way.

“I encourage everyone who is able to give back in some way or another to the community; find your passion,” she says. “It’s so important. It’s how our community thrives.”

More than 50,000 people have graduated from UFV since 1974. Over the next year, we’ll be introducing you to 50 remarkable alumni.