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Date: March 07, 2005

Donor, Provincial Government Help Create
New Mearns Centre for Learning

Bill MearnsThe Mearns family’s involvement with UVic spans four decades and continues today through the William C. Mearns Centre for Learning.

$20 million library complex to honour UVic visionary

The provincial government and the family of one of the University of Victoria’s earliest supporters have each pledged $5 million to expand and renovate the university’s library and increase online access to its resources. The complex, which will include new seminar and tutorial facilities and classrooms and encompass the existing McPherson Library, will be named the William C. Mearns Centre for Learning.

“This $5 million gift from the Mearns family and the $5 million from the provincial government allow us to complete the fundraising for the Mearns Centre for Learning,” says UVic President Dr. David Turpin. “Students and faculty from every academic discipline will benefit from the centre’s expanded and improved collection and study space.”

The $20 million project includes a $5 million investment from UVic and an additional $5 million from other donors. Components of the centre include an information commons with workstations and a single access point for all library resources; a media commons integrating all formats of the library’s music, audio and video collections; improved facilities and resources for students with a disability; and an Internet café.

“We’re providing some of the capital funding needed to build a modern learning centre that reflects the needs of University of Victoria students,” says Minister of Advanced Education  Ida Chong. “The new facility will comprise so much more than rows of books on shelves. This centre will foster learning here at the centre and will enable students to connect to infomation sources around the world.”

William C. Mearns was a Victoria native who attended Victoria College, UVic’s predecessor. In 1956, he urged those leading the drive to establish a university in Victoria to acquire the land that is now the Gordon Head campus. He was awarded an honorary degree from UVic in 1991 in recognition of a lifetime of service and achievement. Mearns’ children Craig, Lindsay and Marily and his widow Loula made the $5 million gift to UVic in his name. The donation is one of the most significant gifts in UVic’s history.

The state-of-the-art Mearns Centre for Learning also includes study areas with electronic information access for faculty members and graduate students, a renovated special collections and archives area with appropriate environmental controls and a 24-hour student study area.

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Media contacts:
Marnie Swanson (University Librarian) at (250) 721-8211 or mswanson@uvic.ca; Patty Pitts (UVic Communications) at (250) 721-7656 or ppitts@uvic.ca
Backgrounders:
WILLIAM C. MEARNS (1909 – 1998)
Photos page:
Donor, Provincial Government Help Create
New Mearns Centre for Learning Images

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(image: fern)