New agreement signed with Kamloops Indian Band at convocation

October 06, 2005, vol. 34, no. 3
By Marianne Meadahl



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Eighteen SFU graduates accepted their degrees and diplomas at a convocation ceremony in Kamloops on Sept. 16, while the university and the Kamloops Indian Band used the occasion to sign a new partnership agreement.

The agreement builds on a relationship between the university and the band that spans 17 years and continues to provide post-secondary programs at the Kamloops site.

“This partnership agreement commits SFU and the Kamloops Indian Band to work together in a positive and good spirit of mutual respect,” Vp-academic John Waterhouse told the gathering.

“We need to think of education as building opportunities for our people in the present and for future generations,” said Kamloops band chief Shane Gottfriedson. “We live in times of diversification and need a skilled work force within all our communities for positive outcomes. It's partnerships like this that bring us longterm benefits.”

During the ceremony nine students who completed degrees in arts and social sciences or general studies were recognized.

Another nine received undergraduate certificates in First Nations language proficiency and native studies research.

While many of the program's graduates are of aboriginal ancestry, director Marianne Ignace says non-aboriginal students have also chosen to attend the Kamloops program to complete their degrees because of “the excellent opportunities the program offers for community-based social research training, archaeological and cultural resource management, and the unique opportunity to study First Nations issues from the vantage point of the First Nations community.”

Most of the current and recent anthropology and archaeology graduates of the program are already working on archaeological and cultural impact assessments throughout the Interior, and in research positions with First Nations communities and other organizations, she adds.

Graduating students Jessica Arnouse, from Neskonlith, and Christina Casimir, from Kamloops, received this year's Dr. Aimee August scholarship award, given to graduates for academic achievement as well as their contributions to the preservation of their aboriginal culture, language and heritage.

Meanwhile, at a special ceremony Sept. 14 in Kitimat, 11 students who were the first to complete SFU business' customized Alcan executive MBA program were recognized for their achievements.

They were part of a group of 17 students who spent two years completing the graduate diploma in business administration, then a further two years completing their executive MBA. The 11 students will convocate in October.

The Alcan-funded program also included students from local employers Methanex, Eurocan and Earth Tech.

“Companies in out-of-the-way places often have difficulty convincing employees to stay,” says Tom Brown, director of customized graduate business programs at SFU.

“This kind of program provides the skills they need now, prepares them for future promotions which may take them to other sites and is a useful retention strategy because employees can see that the company takes their careers seriously.”

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