With assistance of Coast Capital Savings and noted First Nations artist Arthur Vickers, Vancouver Island University graduation ceremonies, present and future, will feature ornate art pieces.
As part of a five-year agreement with the university, the credit union provided more than $300,000 for scholarships, programs and the art. Vickers carved two chairs – named The Keeper of the Wisdom and Keeper of Knowledge – as well as a ceremonial box to store diplomas.
At this week’s convocation ceremonies, Ralph Nilson, university president, will sit on the chair of knowledge and Louise Mandell, chancellor, the chair of wisdom.
Nilson said he wanted to see a suite that adequately reflected the university.
“What I wanted was the values of the institution reflected in the project and particularly, the most important value … is the strong focus on student success and a strong focus on the most important part of this learning environment, is the relationship between the student and the faculty,” said Nilson. “So we wanted to make sure that was reflected in the suite and in terms of the continued evolution and understanding of this.”
The three pieces took thousands of hours for Vickers to produce and features 24-karat gold leaf designs.
“You have the students that are sitting around the base of the chair of wisdom and knowledge, that are honouring the graduates that will be walking around and past them to receive their [diplomas],” Vickers said. “They’ll also walk past the educator who’s sitting in the chair of knowledge, that have all of the rest of the educators … honouring them as well as they walk across the stage.”