The College of New Caledonia (CNC) is flying its flag at half-mast to honour the life of founding member Berenice Haggarty who recently passed away.
Haggarty joined a grassroots movement for post-secondary education in the 60’s as an elected member of the Burns Lake School Board. At that time, the only option for education beyond high school was in Vancouver. As a result, very few northern B.C. students were pursuing post-secondary education.
Haggarty was an original member of the Regional College Committee, which formed in 1963. After four years of lobbying and planning, followed by a plebiscite and referendum, the first college courses were held in leased space at Prince George Secondary School.
Following that achievement, Haggarty turned her attention to the Lakes District and, due to her efforts, established a CNC campus in Burns Lake in 1976.
“Berenice was a tremendous and inspiring visionary and advocate for educational opportunities for all students in the Lakes District,” said CNC Lakes District Regional Principal, Corinne George.
After retiring from CNC’s Board of Governors, Haggarty served on the Lakes District Community Advisory Committee until illness kept her housebound. Even then, she continued to be a strong supporter of the
Lakes District campus. After every advisory meeting staff would expect a call from her, asking to be updated.
“Bernice had a significant influence on the formation of CNC, and through her insightful vision post-secondary education was made available to students in northern B.C.,” said CNC President Henry Reiser.
Haggarty was an active community member who also volunteered with the Canadian Cancer Society and her local church. She juggled her volunteer duties while continuing to be a very involved mother and wife.
In 2001 she received the International Year of the Volunteer Award and two years later was awarded the Governor Generals Caring Canadian Award, which recognizes an outstanding contribution to the community and Canada.
If you would like to learn more about Haggarty’s contribution to northern post-secondary there is an interview with her at: https://videos.cnc.bc.ca/Watch/k7K4Wmp5
Families have requested in lieu of flowers, a donation to the Canadian Cancer Society would be appreciated.