A free flow of cupcakes and congratulatory pats on the back welcomed news that UBCO is halfway to its $100 million fundraising goal announced only this week.
In a press conference trumpeted as “one of the most important public initiatives the campus has ever undertaken,” UBCO brass said they have already brought in $52 million to be put toward things like research funding, library facilities, student financial support and community engagement.
The school plans to bring in another $48 million as part of the fundraising campaign dubbed Start an Evolution.
Further measures to bolster the university’s fundraising prowess will be announced next week at UBC’s Point Grey campus in Vancouver.
“This will be the largest campaign in the history of the Okanagan,” said UBCO deputy vice-chancellor and president Doug Owram, although admitting that history is only six years long.
Established in 2005, UBC’s second campus has grown exponentially since the expansion was unveiled by former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell.
With nearly four times the number of students as its first intake year, UBCO has added buildings for an engineering department, for a larger fine arts area, more arts and science students, medical students and residence areas resembling high-end townhouses in the past six years.
This campaign was unveiled in the University Centre, one of the newer buildings opened on the site.
During the press conference it was also announced that build-out will continue with the addition of a gym dubbed the Hangar Fitness and Wellness Centre.
This latest addition was made possible by a $3.5-million donation from Flightcraft founder Barry Lapointe and his wife Mary Jo Schnepf, who were on hand to explain their generous donation.
“I think if any of us have gone through any educational thing…there is stress. And there’s no real place to let it loose,” said Lapointe, noting their vision includes 20,000 square feet of workout space.
While a gym for the school’s athletes was among the first facilities to go in, The Hangar will provide basic treadmills and workout machines for the average student to get a break from their studies, according to Lapointe, who has been on the university’s board of governors for six years.
The campaign will be led by Ross Langford, a partner of Farris, Vaughan, Wills and Murphy, with former senator Ross Fitzpatrick serving as honorary chair.
Other fundraising partners, known as campaign cabinet members, will include local lawyers Theresa Arsenault and Paul Mitchell, Vernon-based KPMG managing partner Dave Adams, Capri Insurance partner Robin Durrant and Provident Energy Trust co-founder and director Randall Findlay.