Kwantlen Polytechnic University is presenting KPU Foundation Board of Directors member Bill Wright with an Honorary Degree for his voluntary service.
Wright, a retired lawyer who focused his practice on the credit union and co-operative system, has volunteered on the KPU Foundation for nearly two decades. He is passionate about education and creating quality, lifelong learning opportunities for KPU students.
“In these astonishing times of COVID-19, when formal convocation ceremonies are not possible, I truly appreciate the honour of being conferred an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree is in the recognition, not the ceremony,” says Wright.
“We are proud to give this deserving award to Bill,” says Dr. Alan Davis, president and vice-chancellor of KPU. “His passion for education is evident in his service to the KPU Foundation and especially the students at KPU, as he continues to open access to lifelong learning opportunities.”
After graduating from the University of British Columbia in 1960, Wright began his law career with Davis and Company and moved up to become managing partner, over a 30-year period where the law firm grew from 20 lawyers to 100.
With his specialized knowledge of credit union operations, Wright worked with BC Central Credit Union, now known as Central 1, to develop it into an integrated financial facility serving the entire credit union system, including entry into the European financial market. In 1980 the World Council of Credit Unions asked him to prepare a report assisting the Australian credit union movement development on a national scale.
After developing an interest in affordable housing and how housing co-operatives can play a role, Wright assisted in the development and construction of the first housing co-operative in B.C. and served as a national director of the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada. He has volunteered and continues to volunteer with many non-profit organizations around Metro Vancouver, and in the Downtown Eastside.
“Looking back on my career I am amazed at and grateful for the diversity of opportunities my law practice provided; challenges, satisfaction and the privilege of knowing so many outstanding people,” he adds.
“KPU is lucky to have Bill as part of its community. He is genuinely interested in the success and education of students,” says Steve Lewarne, executive director of Advancement at KPU.
“He frequently volunteers to sit on the Scholarship and Awards Selection Committee and takes this responsibility seriously as he reads each application and student story to ensure that the most qualified students receive their award.”
For the graduating students, Wright has this piece of advice: “Earn with your head, spend from your heart!”
Covid-19 precautions prevented KPU holding a formal convocation ceremony in the first week of June so the honorary degree was announced in a video tribute to the Spring Class of 2020.