Gathering, as we do every day, on the traditional and unceded territories of the Scia’new (Beecher Bay) First Nation, we sometimes pause to consider not only the land upon which we learn and work but also the generous people who help make this possible.
In conjunction with last month’s on-campus meeting of the Pearson Board of Directors, we had the opportunity to salute some of our friends and supporters at a Campus Renewal Celebration in the “like-new” (thanks to donors) Student Common Room.
“All donors are committed, skilled and enthusiastic individuals who are working diligently to help us continue to realize Lester B. Pearson’s dream of an international UWC school devoted to peace, sustainability and thoughtful dialogue on Canada’s West Coast,” said Pearson Board of Directors Chair Anne McLellan.
Désirée McGraw, President and Head of College, added, “It is your enthusiasm and generosity that is making it possible to renew and re-found this beautiful campus and this wonderful school.”
Yet another long-time supporter of Pearson College UWC supplied the very special token of appreciation given to our guests that day. Nanoose Bay artist Theo Dumbrowski is a former, long-time teacher and, together with his wife Eileen, a House Parent. They donated a series of original campus and waterfront paintings to the College which were given to our guests, in the form of beautiful reproduction prints.
The Student Common Room was recently renovated into a comfortable and welcoming zone for relaxation, reflection and friendship that has a magnificent view over Pedder Bay. So, it was fitting that we recognized local manufacturer Van Isle Windows who supplied the glass that “reflected” both top-level safety standards and energy efficiency. The community-minded company, represented by Linda Gourlay and Chris Lamothe, supplied discounted product for renovated buildings across campus.
Helen Pinel, a true friend of the College, has been a passionate supporter for more than 30 years. She is also the mother of Year 12 Alumnus David Pinel. Her generosity ranges from sponsoring a room in Japan House, where David lived, to scholarship support for a current student.
In her speech McLellan added, “She didn’t stop there — at last month’s One World Performance and Expo, Helen purchased 15 tickets for all her friends to attend!”
Next, we thanked and honoured retired RCN captain and World War II veteran Chris Pratt, along-time Metchosin resident and host family program volunteer. Pratt and his family have been friends of the College from the very beginning.
In addition to his personal support to the College and students, Chris also dedicated a donation in honour of his sister, Jean Milner, who passed away in 2014, to support upgrades and renovations to the Chemistry Lab in the Academic Building. View a quick video that features the highlights of the renovated building.
Sylvia Ommaney & Stanley Shapiro, from nearby Salt Spring Island, are also long-standing Host Family volunteers and supporters of Pearson. Sylvia is a Patron of the College and has been giving for a quarter-century, including several contributions directed towards the Chemistry Lab upgrades.
Yaz Romahi, a Year 19 alumnus from Jordan, is a classic success story who lives in the U.K. with his wife Noemi Roy and their two daughters. As a volunteer member of the Pearson Investment Committee of the Board, the JP Morgan Asset Management Portfolio Manager offers his financial advice and expertise. He also shared an inspiring story (one which we’ll tell you in a future edition of Pearson eNews) of why he chose to dedicate his support for the refurbished Japan House dayroom to his father, Prof. Seif Wadi Romahi.
Finally, we recognized and thanked Cynthia Baxter who made her first donation to the College in 1974 towards the original construction of buildings on campus. Baxter is a Special Patron of the College and served on the Board of Directors from 1980-1987 and again from 2001-2007.
A member of the extended Molson family, this philanthropically-inclined Canadian family’s support was vital in funding the construction of several buildings on campus – notably the Molson Pool and the waterfront Marine Sciences building. Cynthia established a generous endowed Scholarship Fund in memory of her father, Thomas Henry Pentland Molson that supports bilingual students from Quebec to attend the College.
Cynthia has generously contributed towards various projects, ranging from endowment funds, scholarships and the annual fund, capital projects including most recently to the renovations of Japan House and also to support the UWC National Committee of Canada which selects students from across this country to attend Pearson and the other 16 UWC schools around the world.
A heartfelt thank you to all our generous supporters! We could not do it without your support.