The University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) is marking its 40th anniversary with celebrations this week beginning in Mission on April 2.
University president Dr. Mark Evered said he would be making his way to other UFV campuses for festivities this week.
The Fraser Valley was granted its first college in 1974 after residents “hounded” the provincial government for 10 years, said Evered. “The community was really ready and [the school] has grown tremendously. I’m proud of what has been developed here.”
The school started with 2,000 students and it now serves more than 15,000.
UFV and Mission, despite some differences, have grown together and developed successes for students and the community.
The college became a university-college in 1991 and achieved full university status in 2008. In addition to Mission, there are UFV campuses in Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Hope, and Chandigarh, India.
While a chart can outline the university’s four-decade history, it cannot capture personal stories, said Evered as he introduced Heather Stewart, one of the university’s first instructors, to the crowd that gathered for the event Wednesday morning.
“We taught everywhere at the time,” said Stewart, who recalled being in a building on Coqualeetza grounds, while a friend taught in a church basement.
Stewart retired from teaching in 1996, but has kept an eye on the university’s progress.
“It hasn’t lost its sense of community,” she noted.
UFV now offers 100 programs spanning master’s and bachelor’s degrees, diplomas, certificates, apprenticeship and trades training, and continuing studies. Research activity has faculty and students working together on partnerships, including those with NASA, the Surrey Fire Service, and Natural Resources Canada. UFV Cascades athletics teams have won national championships, such as first in CCAA men’s and women’s golf in 2013, first in CCAA women’s volleyball in 2013, and bronze in CIS women’s basketball in 2014.
For more information on UFV’s 40th anniversary, including a historical timeline and events planned for this year, visit ufv.ca/40.