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VIU's Ceremonial Convocation Suite

Coast Capital SavingsA celebration to recognize Coast Capital Savings’ gift to Vancouver Island University (VIU) of a unique Ceremonial Convocation Suite was held today in the Malaspina Theatre on the University’s Nanaimo campus.

More than 150 people attended the elegant celebration including Her Honour, The Honourable Judith Guichon, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, to witness the unveiling of the suite, made up of a Chancellor’s chair, a President & Vice-Chancellor’s chair and a Bentcorner box designed to hold degree parchments. The suite was created by world-renowned artist Arthur Vickers, OBC, DFA, and given by Coast Capital to the University with the goal of inspiring and celebrating future generations of students, graduates and alumni.

“Coast Capital’s community promise focuses on building a richer future for youth in our community, and an inspiring and beautiful gift like this fits with that philosophy,” says Wayne Berg, Chief Commercial Officer of Coast Capital Savings. “We know that encouraging people to pursue their educational dreams is a powerful way to build stronger communities, here in BC or wherever VIU graduates’ lives take them. Now, when VIU graduates walk across the stage and see this beautiful suite built to celebrate them and their significant accomplishment, I hope they will feel tremendously—and rightfully—proud of what they’ve achieved. It’s our hope that these inspiring symbols will also make them realize they are a part of something bigger than themselves, and that they will go on to inspire other young people to pursue their own educational goals.”

The Ceremonial Convocation Suite is an awe-inspiring masterpiece by Vickers that reflects a profound connection to his First Nations culture and heritage. It took thousands of hours to design and produce. The artist created 22 original images referencing students, teachers, the natural and spirit worlds, and the architecture of VIU. All this is presented within the context of the continuity of wisdom and knowledge through the Elders going back to the beginning of time.

“We become who we are through the teachings of our ancestors,” says Vickers. “The ancient wood, which has been recovered from Vancouver Island has seen so many world events and through its growth rings it tells the story of our past and our history.”

Rich and inspiring in its message, the suite is breathtaking in its physical creation. Of particular note is the holographic effect or “chatoyance” Vickers has achieved as the 24 karat gold leaf designs shimmer through the refraction of light into the centuries old grey ghost cedar wood fibres.

The suite will take pride of place at VIU’s convocation ceremonies. The University’s Chancellor Louise Mandell will sit in the chair known as “The Keeper of Wisdom and Knowledge” and the President & Vice-Chancellor Dr. Ralph Nilson will sit in the chair known as “The Keeper of Knowledge”. The degree parchments will live in the Ceremonial Parchment Bentcorner Box (Huupukwanum). Vickers hopes that as the students walk up to receive their degrees they will leave their imprint on the ancient wood leaving a lasting legacy of their own achievements – their own story – on the box.

“We are very grateful to Coast Capital Savings for their foresight and vision in making this gift to Vancouver Island University,” said Nilson. “With their support, Arthur has created a magnificent legacy piece that will inspire our students and graduates for generations to come. It will lend a significance to the convocation ceremony that will demonstrate and reinforce the value of the experience they’ve had pursuing their post-secondary education at VIU. The fundamental values of VIU and of our partner Coast Capital Savings have been beautifully captured in these ceremonial pieces. I know they will have a profound impact on our students, faculty, staff, and our broader community.”

Louise Mandell, VIU’s Chancellor was also at the event and discussed the profound impact the suite will have on VIU’s students far into the future.

“We live in a world of continuing relationships, linked by a higher vision of what it means to be human. To Coast Capital Savings, the VIU community, Arthur Vickers, and all those who participated in this dream of creative partnership, I honour you. This transmuted spirit of creation will mold the mindset of all subsequent generations.”

When the suite is not in use at VIU’s convocation ceremonies it will be on public display on the University’s Nanaimo Campus in the Welcome Centre (Bldg 300).