Alumnus Donates $350,000 to Support Forestry Students

“You need to be resourceful when living on a farm,” says Henry David Currey, a UBC alumnus who graduated with a BASC (Agricultural Engineering) in 1950. “When things break down, you have to fix them, and that’s how it was with me.”

This combined background in engineering and agriculture allowed Henry, better known as Dave, to flourish as an entrepreneur. As the former President of Ronco Pole Structures Ltd., Ronco Fencing Ltd. and Princeton Wood Preservers Ltd., he has made a generous gift to support student awards and bursaries at UBC. A portion of that gift will benefit Forestry students for many years to come.

Born in 1926, Dave grew up on a mixed wheat and dairy farm in rural Alberta, and spent nine years learning in a one-room schoolhouse. Although no one in Dave’s family had previously attended university, he met a classmate who planned to enrol at UBC and was intrigued by the idea.

Dave recalls his time at UBC as “a working relationship.” He lived in a trailer at the corner of Wesbrook and Agronomy and cooked all his meals over a single hotplate. He studied hard, and during the summers he had to work to ensure he had enough money to return the next year.

After graduating, Dave became a franchisee with a small company, which he eventually bought out. By applying what he learned at UBC, he was able to build up successful businesses that thrived for over 40 years.

Dave’s generosity and willingness to pay it forward has allowed UBC to establish new student awards. The Dave Currey Award in Forestry recognizes students who demonstrate a combination of academic merit and community leadership. Preference is given to those with demonstrated financial need, and recipients are chosen by the Faculty.

“The support provided from these funds is intended to help deserving and committed students continue with their education,” says Dave. “This is important for people to contribute and grow.”

The help is much appreciated. David Williams, BSc (Natural Resources and Conservation) 2015, says, “This award is helping me get through the end of my degree with less debt, more options, and not a small sense of pride that maybe some of the hard academic work of the last few years has been noticed, somehow, by someone.”

Ruby Carrico is interested in how industry and environmentalists can work together to create a sustainable future. “To this end I am going to Haida Gwaii to attend an intensive field school,” she says. “This award will help support me through this coming semester and it encourages me to continue to work hard in my studies and my future career.”

Jesse Way’s background is much like Dave’s. “I grew up on a dairy farm, and many people from back home don’t further their education for financial reasons. Scholarships such as the one you have donated go a long way in reducing the financial stress of having moved away from home to go to university,” he says.

Patrik Friesen is a third-year Conservation Science and Management student who plans to become a Registered Professional Biologist. “I have a keen fascination for natural history and the human role within it,” he says. “This donation will help me to further my education and allow me the opportunity to explore these interests.”