Jean and Ken Finch present Christopher Collier with the first-ever Finch Family Graduate Award at UBC.

Newly-established graduate and undergraduate awards to benefit students

A local family is giving back to the community by making a substantial donation to UBC Okanagan.

As part of Ken and Jean Finch’s commitment to enhancing opportunities for young people, their $600,000 contribution to UBC has established the Finch Family Undergraduate Award and the Finch Family Graduate Award.

These substantial awards will recognize students who have demonstrated great academic focus and success, but also the qualities of well-rounded citizens, actively contributing to the quality of life in our region through community involvement, contributions to innovation and economic development.

The first Finch Family Graduate Award was presented to Christopher Collier, a PhD candidate studying electrical engineering in the School of Engineering, carrying a prize of $14,000. The Finch Family Undergraduate Award was presented to Zachary Holland, a computer sciences student in the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences. This award carries a prize of $7,000, over the third and fourth years of study.

“The lives of our family have been enriched by the lifestyle of the Okanagan, and we consider ourselves very fortunate to be able to combine a great place to live with the ability to grow a business,” says Ken Finch. “We would like to do our part in enhancing the opportunities for young people by investing in education as a way of supporting clean, sustainable growth in our region.”

The students met with the Finch family recently to take part in the inaugural presentation of the scholarships.

“I am honoured to be awarded the Finch Family Graduate Award,” says Collier. “This funding helps to alleviate the financial burden of graduate studies as I continue my doctoral research. Thank you to the Finch family for supporting me through this scholarship.”

For Holland, having some of the financial pressure taken off his final two years of undergraduate studies has motivated him to push himself even harder.

“Receiving this award has relieved much of the financial stress associated with pursuing my education, and will enable me to remain more focused on my studies and other projects,” says Holland. “The award has also motivated me to keep working hard to be the best that I can be both academically and personally.”

The Finch family has deep roots in the Okanagan; their grandchildren are the fifth generation living in the valley.

“Ken and Jean have shown remarkable leadership by investing in our students and our young campus,” says Deborah Buszard, UBC’s deputy vice-chancellor and principal.  “Their contribution will allow us to nurture incredible young talent.”

Zach Holland, right, receives the inaugural Finch Family Undergraduate Scholarship Award from Jean and Ken Finch.