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New bursary endowment honours family’s legacy while supporting Okanagan’s future educators

May 18, 2019

Andrew Clunas passed away half a century ago, but his constant championing of the importance of education has reached across the generations to benefit students in the Okanagan School of Education. His family’s gift of a $100,000 endowment will create, in his name, two bursaries of $2,000 each annually for students in the Okanagan School of Education.

Born in Scotland in 1883, Andrew Clunas began studying as a dentist’s apprentice, but when his father decided the family should immigrate to Canada, the dutiful son and oldest child abandoned his studies and helped guide the family to the Canadian Prairies where they homesteaded and prospered. Then, in 1927, Andrew, his wife Ada, and their children left Saskatchewan for Vancouver. However, when the Great Depression hit and work became scarce, Andrew and his young family moved a short distance north to the Lynn Valley to work a farm they owned there, determined to avoid the need for government assistance. Boasting a cow, a few goats and chickens, an orchard, and a large garden, Andrew and Ada worked diligently and raised four healthy children. Reflecting on life’s tribulations, Andrew spoke regularly and highly of the value of an education, always encouraging his children to pursue learning.

Andrew must have made quite the impression on his family, considering his daughter, Mary Campbell (BEd ‘65), went on to secure a degree in education from UBC. In fact, she continued her lifelong learning by occasionally taking courses at UBC up until 2004. Fast-forwarding half a century from Andrew’s passing, Mary found herself looking to leave a legacy for herself and her family. Shortly before passing away in the fall of 2018, she chose to create this endowment in her father’s name which would benefit students pursuing studies in education at UBC Okanagan.

Mary’s nephew Malcolm Petch, audio visual specialist at UBC’s Okanagan campus, states, “My cousins and I were so pleased to know that, even though the bursary was named after our grandfather, the fact it supports education students gives the endowment an even richer legacy: honouring Mary’s father, Mary herself, Mary’s desire to honour her father, and their shared passion for education. More than this, the legacy also honours the education students who will be learning to teach future generations. The legacy literally does continue to spread out across time. How cool is that!”

“The Okanagan School of Education is thrilled to receive the bursary funds to support prospective educators’ studies. The opportunity to invest in educators as lifelong students of learning is at the heart of our OSE teacher education program and these bursaries will remind all of us of this importance yearly,” says Margaret Macintyre Latta, interim director of the Okanagan School of Education.