Gift of Shares Creates Bursary for Undergraduate Students

Third-year Forest Resources Management student Tori Lahoda is the inaugural recipient of the J. F. Newman BSF 1962 Forestry Bursary, established in 2017 by Jack Newman.

“When I found out I received the bursary, I almost fell down. This was a huge game-changer for me,” she says. “This year has by far been the hardest of my program. I have student loans but they aren’t enough to live on. It was such a relief to receive this support.”

Jack Newman received a BSF from UBC in 1962, and after graduation went to work for MacMillan Bloedel in Port Alberni. Following two years there he relocated to the Cariboo to work for Weldwood, and spent the next 35 years in a variety of roles with the company.

“I actually felt like I was in school during my entire career,” he says. “When I was with MacMillan Bloedel I was a supervisory trainee in a large sawmill cutting five different species of wood. When I started with Western Plywood (later acquired by Weldwood) I was involved in lumber operations. Then I learned to manage their plywood operations.”

As area manager of Weldwood’s Cariboo operations, Jack managed the construction and operation of a plywood plant in Williams Lake as well as sawmills and plywood plants in 100 Mile House and Quesnel. “I lived in Quesnel and it was a lot of driving on highway 97,” he says.

Bursary recipient Tori is also familiar with the Cariboo, being born and raised in Kamloops. She was attending Thompson Rivers University and studying natural resources when she decided that her program wasn’t giving her the focus on forestry she wanted. “I came to UBC in second year, and I love it,” she says. “My profs are really diligent in their teaching and are always welcoming if you have questions.”

Tori confesses to being one of those questioning students. “I asked so many questions in field school last fall that one of the instructors offered me a summer job.” That instructor was Chris Gruenwald RPF, owner of Cascadia Environmental, an Abbotsford-based company providing operational services for forest tenure management.

During his career Jack Newman remained connected with UBC Forestry, notably in running the 10-year reunion for his class for the past five decades. He also served on the research committee of Forintek (now FPInnovations) for 10 years. Now retired for 20 years, after 35 years with Weldwood, he enjoys sports, his garden, travelling and spending time with his wife, two grown children and four grandchildren.

Jack had long considered the idea of giving back to students at UBC. “A long time ago I bought stock in CPR, and over the decades it had returned quite a bit on the investment. So I decided to give those shares to UBC Forestry. I thought a lot about which discipline to focus the bursary on. Even though my career was in forest products, I decided it would be for a student in forest resources management. We need the trees first, and we are still not managing them well enough.”

Tori is grateful to Jack, and to others who support students in UBC Forestry. “When someone is willing to give up some of their income to take weight off your shoulders, it’s such a gift,” she says.