The University of the Fraser Valley raised just over $210,000 at its sixth annual Town and Gown event Nov. 10 at the Abbotsford campus.
The total more than doubled the goal of raising $100,000 to fund 100 scholarships.
Guests were honoured by Stó:lo drummer Xotwes Jonny Williams from the Cheam Nation, who presented a meal song and then led guests in learning several Halq’eméylem words and phrases.
Anita Nielsen, executive director of advancement, announced the recipients of the UFV Ripple Makers paddles, presented annually to donors in recognition of their financial support to UFV.
Loyalty paddle recipients were honoured for supporting UFV for 15 or more years, with tribute paid to Dr. Malwinder S. Dhami and family, Paul and Jackie Hogan, Dr. Sylvie Murray, Stacey Irwin, and RBC (represented by Nicky Kang).
The Lifetime paddle, bestowed to donors contributing $100,000 or more, was presented to Dr. Malwinder S. Dhami and Jason Dhami, who received a standing ovation for their family’s longstanding support totalling $228,000.
Several new donations were announced during the evening.
Dr. James Chamberlain, who received an honorary degree from UFV in 2021, established with husband Jean-Marie Russell the 2SLGBTQ+ Pride Endowment Leadership Award. This $25,000 endowment will provide a $1,000 scholarship each year to student leaders engaged in queer activism in the Fraser Valley.
Fellow honorary doctorate recipient Dr. Malwinder S. Dhami announced a new pledge of $26,500.
The final surprise gift of the evening was a donation of $40,000 from Karen and Warren Nelson in support of student emergency funding.
This year’s student speaker was Trisha Kumar, a bachelor of business administration student and scholarship recipient, who praised UFV for taking a real-life approach to learning and giving students a chance to conduct meaningful applied research.
UFV honoured two alumni with Distinguished Alumni and Young Distinguished Alumni awards.
Matt Douma, who earned a bachelor of science in nursing in 2006, was named Distinguished Alumni for his leadership in nursing education and health research.
Douma is a registered nurse and a health care educator who served on the front lines of the COVID pandemic and is also building a career as a researcher and academic in the health sciences field.
Once he completes his PhD, he hopes to teach full time at the university level at the University of Alberta.
Kara Chan, who graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in 2013, received the Young Distinguished Alumni award in recognition of her work in the energy sustainability field.
Chan is an energy sector professional focused on climate resilience policies, currently working in management at Ausgrid, one of Australia’s largest electricity distributors.
Also recognized at the Town & Gown event were the recipients of the Betty Urquhart Community Service Award.
Amber Price of Chilliwack was honoured for her extensive community development work and leadership on multiple grassroots initiatives. Anastasia Krapchatova was honoured for leading community initiatives to enhance the quality of life for local seniors during the pandemic.