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$1.25 million gift creates enduring support for students and clinical research

UBCO’s new dining hall named in honour of The Colin & Lois Pritchard Foundation

UBC Okanagan’s freshly minted dining hall in the brand-new Nechako Residence is being named after a family that continues to contribute to the growth of the campus and its research mandate.

The Pritchard Dining Hall has been named for the founders of The Colin & Lois Pritchard Foundation in recognition of their generosity to UBC Okanagan. Their latest gift of $1.25 million will create two new endowment funds to support generations of nursing students and fellowships linked to clinical research.

A $1 million fund—to be matched by UBC—will create annual Pritchard Fellowships for graduate students working on clinical research projects that involve both a UBC Okanagan investigator and an Interior Health (IH) clinician. An additional $250,000 gift, also matched by UBC, will support School of Nursing entrance awards. First-year students, or those bridging from Okanagan College to the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, will be eligible.

“Colin and Lois’ vision to support health education as well as strengthen collaboration between UBC Okanagan and Interior Health will be transformational to health-care delivery in the southern interior for generations,” says Dr. Lesley Cormack, UBCO’s deputy vice-chancellor and principal. “Countless undergraduate and graduate students will benefit from this funding, allowing UBC to attract and support the Okanagan’s future nurses and drive new solutions for health-care delivery in the region”.

The first two projects were selected in September. UBCO’s Dr. Josh Brinkerhoff and IH’s Dr. Jared Baylis will investigate airborne disease transmission in three specific health-care settings. The second involves work done by UBCO’s Dr. Christine Voss and IH’s Dr. Tom Warshawki who will examine methods to help develop, implement and evaluate interventions that will help youth in the Interior Health region manage their Type 1 diabetes.

“This new funding will help nurture evidence-based health-care innovation in the region and provide our graduate students with opportunities to work collaboratively in a clinical setting,” says Dr. Phil Barker, vice-principal and associate vice-president of research and innovation. “These research fellowships distinguish our campus and provide new paths that will allow UBCO investigators and students to work with our colleagues at Interior Health.”

The Colin & Lois Pritchard Foundation was established in 2007 with the commitment to improve lives in the Okanagan Valley, the province and globally. The foundation has contributed to health education at UBCO many times including medical student bursaries, research awards at BC Cancer, and contributions to simulation technology in the Southern Medical Program as well as co-op placements for biology students in the Kelowna General Hospital Larissa Yarr Microbiology Lab.

The Pritchard Dining Hall is located inside the newly opened Nechako Residence, one of two new student residences completed this summer.

“We are honoured to have our names associated with this beautiful new café and hope students leave UBC Okanagan remembering the friendships made and meals enjoyed in the Pritchard Dining Hall,” says Colin Pritchard. “At the same time, we are pleased to be able to help students access an exceptional nursing education at UBC Okanagan and participate in research that will change the way we understand and address various health concerns of the future.”

Earlier this year, Colin Pritchard was named the first recipient of UBCO’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal’s Alumni Builder Award—established as the campus celebrated its 15th anniversary.

Colin Pritchard received his Bachelor of Commerce degree in 1962 and his law degree from UBC in 1963. He was called to the bar in 1964 and developed a successful solicitors’ practice in addition to launching several agricultural ventures. Lois trained as a registered nurse in Vancouver and the nursing endowment fund is established in recognition of her contributions to the profession.

“Colin is a builder of the Okanagan community as well as our campus,” says Dr. Cormack. “Through his foundation, he has seeded many unique partnerships between UBC Okanagan and the broader community. He has also been more than generous with his time and is an active alumni volunteer and a strong advocate of the campus.”