250 News - Your News, Your Views, Now

October 27, 2017 8:59 pm

Charles McCaffray Honoured for Role in Creation of UNBC

Wednesday, September 28, 2016 @ 3:27 PM


Liam Stewart grandson of Charles McCaffray, UNBC President Daniel Weeks and Tom Steadman unveil plaque – photos 250News

Prince George, B.C. – What  has been known  as the Administration Building at UNBC, is now, officially,   Charles J McCaffray Hall.  The name change honours  the man who  was a  driving force behind the development of  the University.20160928_1401101

With  McCaffray’s widow Anne,  children and grandchildren on hand,  McCaffray was  lauded for his vision and  for being , as friend and co-founder Tom Steadman  termed,  “doggedly persistent”.

(at right, portrait of Charles McCaffray by Monique Germain)

It was  McCaffray who  first  floated the idea of a university  in the North of B.C in the  mid 80s . A member of the academic community in Prince George and President of the College  of New Caledonia,  McCaffray believed  having a university in this part of the province, would  make it easier for  those living in the north  to get a post secondary education .

Not one  to seek recognition,  the late Charles McCaffray was a member of the “No Name Group” which  met  ’80s  to talk about  post secondary education in  northern B.C.   Later,  he would be part of the Interior University Society which would spearhead the  push to create a university. Today’s recognition was  one  Steadman  believes McCaffray  would understand   and appreciate “I think he always honoured respectful recognition.”

McCaffray’s friend and fellow founder, Tom Steadman  said today   was  bitter sweet  “It’s sad because Charles is not with us today,  but gosh, it’s a pleasure to stand here in what I  think is a fabulous building, this Administration Building,  which will now become the Charles J McCaffray Hall.”20160928_1413451

( at right, a flash from the past as UNBC President  Daniel Weeks  sports  a  button that was available during the time  locals were  campaigning for a university.)

Steadman  says looking back  to the time when McCaffray  suggested  a university for the north,  “It was a time when  we were the folks who lived beyond Hope. We were the people who never seemed to get a  nod from the people in Victoria, We were the people who had to  go and, not me, Prince George people,  northern people, we did this on our own.  We brought those guys to the table, and   I think today  those Prince Georgians who remember the $5 petition support,   the terrible coloured sweatshirts those  orange,  God they were awful,  the bumper stickers  that said the Northern U.  Those people who can still remember those things,  they’re the people who dragged  the Province, sometimes not totally willingly, to the table   and said Prince George is going to stand on its own,  we will  have this university.”

Three of McCaffray’s grandchildren are  studying at  UNBC now,  two ( Owen and Liam Stewart) play  for the Timberwolves Mens Soccer team.

“I hope the  people of today, the students, and the students of the future come to understand Charles’ contribution to this place,  he was the intellectual spark plug for UNBC”  said Steadman.

McCaffray  and other  members of the founding group were honoured by the University in 2004 with honourary degrees.



2 of his grandsons play on that team. Thanks to Dr. McCaffray for having the gumption to get Victoria to listen to us northern folk.

    Thank you for pointing out my error. I have made the correction.
    Elaine Macdonald-Meisner

Thank you Charles, I went to CNC when he was the President.

A man with vision, not many of them around anymore… but a fitting tribute to Charles McCaffray.

I was an original employee of UNBC and I think that it’s wonderful that people like Charles McCaffray are being honoured in this manner. Tom Steadman was also a huge support to us during the creation and the building of UNBC. It would be very wise for UNBC to continue to honour the contributions made by these early founders.

UNBC should also finally recognize the immense contributions made by the original staff and faculty members. UNBC would not have been built without their vision, creativity, and hard work. I am so proud to be a member of that dedicated group who turned the dream of UNBC into reality.

Comments for this article are closed.