October 9, 2020
With the physical and mental well-being of UBC Okanagan students and the community top of mind, the Stober Family have donated $1 million to support student scholarships, research and community health initiatives over the next five years.
The gift comes during a pivotal period of growth for the campus and opportune timing. More than half of the generous gift will be nearly doubled by Aspire, a fundraising initiative, which will create a total of $1.9M of opportunities for students.
The donation will create needs-based and merit-based scholarships and will immediately provide critical funding for student support. In addition, a $500,000 Stober Fellows Program will be formed within the School of Health and Exercise Sciences to help recruit the next generation of health scientists. The fellowships will support an unprecedented number of students at the undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate levels.
“Generations of students will graduate from UBC Okanagan having been supported by the Stober family endowment—creating real, tangible difference in the community long into the future,” says Professor Lesley Cormack, deputy vice-chancellor and principal at UBC’s Okanagan campus. “With these new scholarship and fellowship opportunities in health, exercise science and mental health, not only will students benefit but so too will initiatives that improve the lives of so many in the Okanagan.”
One such program is the UBC Okanagan Social Work Mental Health Clinic—a research, training and treatment centre that provides services to children and their families experiencing serious mental health issues. A portion of the Stober Foundation funding will go to provide an additional 15 student practicum placements with the potential to serve up to 75 clients and their families.
Similarly, the clinical psychology training program will benefit from support for two postdoctoral students. Plans are already underway for one of these positions to create a community-facing pain service where trainees will support clients living with chronic pain under the supervision of a registered clinical psychologist.
“These kinds of training and learning opportunities in service to the community are the reason this partnership between UBC Okanagan and the Stober Foundation are so impactful,” says Keith Brewster, executive director of the Stober Foundation. “We have the opportunity to make a real difference in people’s lives and deliver quality, evidence-based research and ideas to those that need it most.”
Some of the awards have already been given to incoming students for the 2020/21 academic year, with the bulk of the funding being spread out over the next five years.
“The Okanagan benefits enormously from having a top-tier research university right in our back yard,” says Brewster. “I hope that the scholarships and awards we create today will help foster excellence in health research and support the well-being of our community for many years to come.”
UBC’s Okanagan campus is an innovative hub for research and learning founded in 2005 in partnership with local Indigenous peoples, the Syilx Okanagan Nation, in whose territory the campus resides. As part of UBC—ranked among the world’s top 20 public universities—the Okanagan campus combines a globally recognized UBC education with a tight-knit and entrepreneurial community that welcomes students and faculty from around the world in British Columbia’s stunning Okanagan Valley.