Charles McCaffray Honoured for Role in Creation of UNBC
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.
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.”
( 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.