The University of the Fraser Valley welcomed community supporters to its Abbotsford campus on November 10 for the sixth annual Town & Gown, a celebration demonstrating the transformational power of a UFV education.
The event was the first in-person Town & Gown since 2019 and raised $210,690 in support of students. This more than doubled the event goal of raising $100,000 to fund one hundred new scholarships.
UFV President Joanne MacLean welcomed guests and thanked them for supporting UFV. She remarked on the energy on campus as most classes and activities have now returned to in-person formats after the restrictions of the pandemic.
“We have missed connecting with people. These connections make us stronger as a society. They create the powerful energy and strength we draw from community — a community that is beginning to become more diverse. Thank you for the strength you bring to our university and to the Valley.”
Guests were honoured by Stó:lō 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 (19 years), Paul and Jackie Hogan (17 years), Dr. Sylvie Murray (17 years), Stacey Irwin (17 years), and RBC (20 years) 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 delighted guests in attendance when he 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.