Celebrating UFV Ripple Makers: Angela Au and Allen Au

  • December 13, 2023

A group of people holding a paddle.

In the heart of the Fraser Valley, the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) is known for education, innovation, and partnerships. At the core of its success lies the unwavering support of donors who understand that investing in UFV is investing in the future. The Ripple Maker recognition program was established to honor those whose contributions create a lasting impact, not just in the Fraser Valley but also resonating across Canada and around the world.

On November 27, UFV gathered to celebrate two outstanding Ripple Makers: Angela Au and Allen Au. The commitment the Aus and their family company, Auguston Town Development Inc., have made to UFV has created ripples that extend far beyond the confines of the institution, touching the lives of countless individuals.

UFV acknowledges the pivotal support offered by Angela and Allen. Their collaboration with UFV, enhanced in recent years by Auguston’s Abbotsford Tech District project, has become a shining example of how partnerships can transform education and drive innovation.

Accompanied by Gavin Dew, Chief Strategy Officer, Abbotsford Tech District, the Aus joined (Acting) President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. James Mandigo, Vice-President of Community Engagement Susan Mide Kiss, and Dean of the College of Arts Dr. Sylvie Murray, for a presentation and conversation; two current UFV students and one alum who are recipients of scholarships funded by the Aus also joined the conversation. The afternoon included a visit to UFV’s Indigenous Teaching Garden, a space anchored by wooden sculptures reflecting Coast Salish carving techniques and filled with plantings indigenous to the area, carefully cultivated to allow for teaching and reflection. Down the path from the Indigenous Teaching Garden is another gathering place — a community fire pit, recently built and sponsored by Auguston Town Development Inc. and Abbotsford Tech District.

A group of people standing in front of a firepit.

The recognition of these Ripple Makers involved the presentation of hand-painted paddles, a physical representation of their commitment. Each UFV Ripple Maker paddle is hand-painted by UFV Visual Arts and Graphic Design students, engraved, and varnished by Joel Feenstra, an Associate Professor with the Faculty of Applied and Technical Studies.

Angela and Allen Au have been honored with a Lifetime Paddle, a distinction bestowed upon donors whose cumulative giving totals $100,000 or more. Their journey began with an annual pledge of $15,000, resulting in the establishment of 20 AU BAK LING / Auguston Town Development Inc. Annual Scholarships, each valued at $750.

The impact of their contributions has been substantial, totaling $167,500 and has supported students across various disciplines. Notably, these scholarships have benefited students in Agriculture Science, Science, Automation and Robotics, Engineering Physics in Mechatronics, and Computer Information Systems, showcasing the diversity of their philanthropic influence.

Beyond scholarships, Angela and Allen have extended their support to broader initiatives. Their recent donation of $80,000 toward a joint research, engagement, and planning initiative between UFV’s Food and Agriculture Institute and universities in central Canada is particularly noteworthy. This initiative is poised to shape the planning and design of Abbotsford Tech District, with UFV as the core academic partner in the development of the B.L. Au Centre for Innovation and Food Security. This collaboration not only advances UFV’s research capabilities in agricultural innovation but also addresses global challenges in agricultural technology. It is a testament to the Au’s commitment to fostering innovation and addressing crucial issues such as food security.

Auguston’s commitment to students continues to shine through, with an increased scholarship contribution of $40,000 for the upcoming academic year. This significant boost will focus on Indigenous education, entrepreneurship, and food security, embodying a dedication to creating opportunities for diverse and underrepresented voices in education.

“Education and entrepreneurship have always been central to our family’s values,” said Angela Au, noting their family company’s roots in textbook publishing. “Supporting UFV students to realize their dreams and goals is our way of paying forward our family’s success,” said Allen Au.

“I can’t think of a better place than the Fraser Valley to build a hub for innovation,” said Gavin Dew, Chief Strategy Officer for Abbotsford Tech District, “and we couldn’t ask for a better partner than UFV.”

As we celebrate siblings Angela and Allen Au as UFV Ripple Makers, their story exemplifies the transformative power of philanthropy and collaborative partnerships. Through their generosity, they have not only changed individual lives but have also contributed to the broader advancement of education, innovation, and prosperity in the Fraser Valley and beyond.

Visit the gallery to see photos of the UFV Ripple Maker paddle presentation to Allen Au and Angela Au.

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