The UVic Torch · University of Victoria Alumni Magazine · Autumn 1998

Alumni President's Message

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by Betty Clazie

This is my first opportunity to write about my new role as Alumni Association president. About five years ago I began my involvement on one of the alumni board committees and serving as the alumni representative on the Senate Continuing Education Committee. I learned how alumni members could become involved with the university and that there are areas where the voice of alumni needs to be heard to help the university stay connected to its larger community. Over the last five years I have seen alumni play a more meaningful role on campus-we are making a difference in campus projects and student needs.

Take for example the Alumni Association's recent accomplishments: the Five-Year Strategic Plan was developed; the On-Line Community was created; the Alumni Excellence in Teaching Award Display was completed; our World Wide Web site was re-designed; and over $30,000 in grants were awarded to students and various campus organizations. We are especially proud of our Excellence in Teaching awards which over the last 10 years have honoured 21 outstanding UVic educators.

As president, my goals are to maintain our present programs, increase the presence of the alumni on campus, raise awareness of the association with alumni who may not have time to visit the campus but would like to stay connected, and dedicate our resources to those who need it most-the students.

The Alumni Association's mission is "to encourage, in partnership with the University, a life-long relationship between UVic alumni and their university". Whether it is volunteering on a committee or task force, responding to telephone surveys, keeping in touch through e-mail or simply reading our web page or the Torch you are in contact with your university. The Alumni Association is your voice on campus. We are here, and we are working to maintain the "life-long relationship" that is so important to the university.


W.C. (Bill Mearns)

W.C. (Bill) Mearns, a founder of the University and the first person to recommend the purchase of the Gordon Head property on which UVic was built, passed away May 2. He was 88 years of age.

Mearns' plan of land acquisitions (from the Department of National Defense, the Hudson's Bay Company, the City of Victoria and CJVI radio) for the new university was spelled out in a 1956 letter to the Victoria College Council's Building Committee chaired by Judge Joseph Clearihue.

"The four parcels suggested would then provide an area considerably in excess of 200 acres and I think would be a very minimum of ground area necessary...even on a relatively short term basis of 50 to 100 years," Mearns wrote.

The plan helped ignite public enthusiasm for an autonomous, degree-granting university for Victoria and Mearns was named to a Victoria Chamber of Commerce committee that lobbied for the creation of UVic.

Mearns was a member of the University's original Board of Governors, serving from 1963-69 but his involvement with UVic spanned four decades.

"He stayed in touch with UVic presidents over the years," said President David Strong. "Certainly during my stay at the university I have counted on the sage counsel and captivating dialogue either in person or through thoughtful letters written in his precise script. He was a friend of the University as well as a personal friend."

Born in Victoria, Mearns graduated from Victoria College in 1927. He earned engineering degrees at Stanford University and the University of Washington and he completed Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program.

His entire career was with B.C. Electric which later became B.C. Hydro. After graduating from Stanford, he began his career at B.C. Electric as a meter-man, rising through the ranks to serve as executive director of B.C. Hydro from 1962-69.

Mearns-a generous supporter of the University-was honorary chair of the UVic Challenge Campaign from 1990-95. He received an honorary doctor of laws from UVic in 1991.

Feature | Around the Ring | Notable Alums | Alumni News | Development News | Travel | Keeping in Touch | Branch Contacts | Where are You Now? | Vox Alumni

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