Deborah Buszard, UBC deputy vice-chancellor and principal of the Kelowna campus. Photo: Barry Gerding/Black Press

Fitzpatricks donate $1.25 million to UBC Okanagan

Donation to help fund new study space, create scholarship for local students

The family connection to UBC runs deep in Senator Ross Fitzpatrick’s family.

His mother graduated from the university as did he, his son Gordon and two of his grandchildren.

That family link to UBC will carry on in perpetuity thanks to a donation of $1.25 million by Fitzpatrick and his wife Linda to the teaching and learning centre at the Kelowna campus, to be called the D. Ross Fitzpatrick Great Hall.

Already tagged with the abbreviated moniker Fitz Hall, Fitzpatrick said he was inspired by the UBCO Student Union’s commitment of $10 million towards the $35 million project cost.

“For Linda and I to do this, I think our interest was to support the students, but the students are really supporting us,” Fitzpatrick said at ceremony to announce the donation held at the campus on Wednesday, attended by many university and political dignitaries including Senator Nancy Greene Raine.

“We were inspired by the students agreeing to fund their own facility, by pledging $10 million towards it over a number of years. I don’t know any other university where this has happened. And when you listen to the students as we had the chance to do today, you can see what dedication and how important education is to these young people.”

The teaching and learning centre, currently under construction, will feature an expansive two-storey hall on the ground floor with about 6,400 sq.ft. of flexible, multi-use space. It is being built to the north of the current campus library, the most highly used library in the UBC system.

The centre’s objective is to address a critical need for flexible classroom and laboratory space, and alleviate library overcrowding.

Included in the Fitzpatrick donation is an additional $250,000 to create the Ross and Linda Fitzpatrick Centennial Scholars Endowment Fund.

Bursaries from this endowment will support incoming UBCO students who demonstration academic excellence, leadership and financial need. Special emphasis will be placed on students from the South Okanagan and through the UBC Blue and Gold Campaign for Students.

“I was able to get my education thanks to bursaries and scholarships like the one we’re creating today,” Fitzpatrick noted. “I can’t think of a more fulfilling pursuit than to offer the opportunity of a university education to those who may otherwise not have the financial means.”

Fitzpatrick’s strong ties to UBC are also matched by his deep roots to the Okanagan. Born to an agricultural family in Kelowna and raised in Oliver, he completed his Commerce and Business Administration degree at UBC in 1958 and was awarded a UBC Honorary Doctorate in 2012 for his work and contributions to the community.

Related: CedarCreek sold to VMF Estates

His career led him to find success as an entrepreneur in the aerospace, oil and gas, and mining industries across North America.

In the 1980s, he returned to the Okanagan to promote value-added agriculture, founding CedarCreek Estate Winery and pioneering the planting of vinifera grapes in the region to produce high-quality wine.

He served in Canada’s Senate from 1998 to 2008, representing Okanagan-Similkameen, and was awarded the Order of B.C. in 2009.

“The Fitzpatrick family’s impact in this region is already immense and this gift will inspire and support future generations of UBC students. Fitz Hall is the perfect embodiment of their legacy in the Okanagan,” said Deborah Buszard, UBC deputy vice-chancellor and principal of the Kelowna campus.

Trophy Ewila, president of the UBCO Student Union, said a commitment to funding of the project confirmed in a 2014 student-passed referendum was a reflection of student’s investment in the future of education.

“Many of them will not be here to benefit from their donation but they still saw the benefit it will bring to others in the future. It seemed like a crazy idea at first but impossibility is broken when we stand together,” Ewila said.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


@BarryGerding
barry.gerding@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Jeep crashes into vehicle and drops down embankment

An accident occurred on Greenwood Drive

Penticton & Wine Country Chamber of Commerce to offer “speed-dating” style candidate forums

Participants will have 5 minutes to chat with each participating candidate

Injured mountain biker rescued from trail

A helicopter was needed to safely extricate a injured mountain biker from Blind Mice trails

Penticton neighbourhood surprised by emergency response team activity

RCMP officers were conducting emergency response training

Bird migration open house draws more than 100 people

Rare chance to observe conservation work

VIDEO: Rare close encounter with whale pod spotted off B.C. waters

Pod of southern resident orca whales breach within arms length of whale watchers

Who’s running in Penticton’s election?

Candidates for the Penticton municipal and school board election

Rattie scores 3 as Oilers blank Canucks 6-0

Vancouver slips to 1-5 in exhibition play

Veterans Affairs ordered to take second look before supporting vets’ relatives

Liberal government ordered officials to adopt a more critical eye

Dead B.C. motorcyclist was member of group that raced down mountain road

Some group members record their rides on Strathcona Parkway and post times to page

Indigenous athletes in spotlight at BC Sports Hall of Fame

New gallery to feature Carey Price, Kaila Mussel and Richard Peter

Okanagan College student population climbs

Enrolment up nearly 14 per cent

B.C. couple who went missing on flight from Edmonton named by family

Family released a statement Wednesday saying they’re still intent on finding the two-seater plane

Coldstream supports Okanagan College Campus residence project

Project would see a 100-bed residence on the Vernon campus in Coldstream

Most Read