FORT ST. JOHN, BC – On April 28th, Northern Lights College Fort St. John campus hosted Ike Barber, founder and former CEO of Slocan Forest Products, for a day of meetings to discuss the challenges facing educators and students in the north. Barber was accompanied by Catherine Quinlan, managing director of University of British Columbia Library Services; Marleen Morris, president of Marleen Morris and Associates; and Janet Beavers, coordinator of library services for the College. Attending the meetings were College students, staff, faculty and the Board and community members representing the public library and school systems, business and industry and other regional communities. The discussion was a lively exchange of ideas about how to make the world of education more readily available to rural areas.
Barber’s generous gift of $20 million is largely responsible for the development and construction of a new wing to the UBC Main Library that will transform the facility into a state of the art educational resource. To be named the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, the new facility will make extensive use of leading-edge technology to support students, educators, researchers and lifelong learners throughout the province and the world. It will provide access to UBC’s extraordinary collection of ten million items and act as a portal to information, library, social and cultural resources around the world. One of Mr. Barber’s primary intentions for the new facility is to provide rural communities with greater educational and cultural resources. Over the past year, Barber’s fact-finding tour to rural communities and colleges around the province has helped identify the issues and challenges to education in smaller and more remote communities. He is also scheduled to visit NLC’s Fort Nelson campus in May.
Barber has been a generous donor to research and education in the past as well. His support contributed to the establishment of the I.K. Barber Enhanced Forestry Lab at UNBC and the Irving K. Barber Diabetes Research Endowment Fund at UBC. His personal mission is to support projects that will strengthen the province of BC and improve the quality of life for residents. In 2002, Barber was awarded the Order of British Columbia and an Honorary Doctor of Law from UBC to recognize his contributions to the province and education.
More information about Ike Barber and the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre is available at http://www.ikebarberlearningcentre.ubc.ca/.