Philanthropist leaves legacy

How will we be remembered and who will remember us when we are gone?

To the Editor,

Re: Philanthropist dies at 92, April 22.

Leaving a legacy is a question I think many of us grapple with. How will we be remembered and who will remember us when we are gone?

Last week when the headlines announced Sidney Sharman had passed away, I couldn’t help but wonder if people would understand the profound effect he had, and will continue to have, because of his willingness to give.

I had the pleasure and honour of getting to know Sid personally, because of his generous support of Vancouver Island University students. I also had the privilege of witnessing firsthand the powerful legacy he created through his generosity.

I spoke to nursing students who had received scholarships funded by Sid, who told me they would not have been able to continue in their studies without his support. Some of those students are now working in hospitals on the Island, touching the lives of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people. Those scholarships are funded through an endowment which ensures they will continue even though Sid has now passed.

I’ve also spoken to students in VIU’s Health and Human Services programs who are today training in a state-of-the-art nursing simulation lab, which was also funded in part by Sid. Those students will now be even better prepared to enter their chosen profession.

When I reflect on what Sid is leaving behind, it’s clear that his is a legacy to aspire to, an example of how an act of generosity can affect so many people, sometimes in unexpected and far-reaching ways. By giving to VIU students he not only changed their lives but the lives of the people those students will go on to care for.

He will be sorely missed. However, I know that Sid’s legacy is one that will live on, and be a lasting reminder to all of us that a generous spirit has the power to truly change someone’s life.

Ralph Nilson
president
Vancouver Island University

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Opal frustrations creating danger

Traffic-calming on Opal Road has increased driving speeds on Rock City Road, says letter writer

RDN bylaw allows people experiencing homelessness to camp overnight in some parks

Board of directors unanimously passes park use regulations bylaw

RDN board passes budget but concerned about ‘enormous’ costs

Regional District of Nanaimo tax requisitions will increase $34-$56 this year

Nanaimo high school jazz students unite for JazzFest

Vancouver-raised jazz vocalist Laila Biali will join students on the Port Theatre stage

Commute in Nanaimo slowed as SUV goes up onto highway barrier, gets stuck

Accident happened at 5 p.m. on old Island Highway and Highland Boulevard

VIDEO: Minister says consider coronavirus outbreak when planning for spring break

Foreign Affairs minister points to rash of new cases appearing in places like Italy and Iran

Vancouver Island RCMP officer assaulted during traffic stop

On Feb. 21, a member of the Comox Valley RCMP was assaulted… Continue reading

B.C. man who pulled a gun on off-duty cop gets two years in prison

Encounter also led police to a home where 100 guns and explosives were found

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

COLUMN: Forestry no longer close to top of B.C.’s economy

Our reactions to a forestry downturn reflect the past, not the present

Caught on camera: Police release video of man who allegedly stole seaplane in Vancouver

Police say the man broke into the Harbour Air terminal and then got into one of the seaplanes in the harbour

51 health professionals send letter to Trudeau, Horgan panning northern B.C. pipeline

They point to studies about the health and climate change risks from pipeline

Most Read