Esteemed community leader to receive Distinguished Alumni Award

May 29, 2012 - 7:30am

Don Hubbard, esteemed community leader and champion for life-long learning, will receive Vancouver Island University’s Distinguished Alumni Award at the spring convocation ceremony June 5.

The award recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of VIU alumni who have earned provincial or national prominence as a result of their exceptional professional achievements and/or service to society.

Hubbard has enjoyed a 47-year association with VIU as a student, Board member and volunteer.

A graduate of the Heavy Equipment Operator program in 1966, he is regarded as a tireless community volunteer who established a remarkable career while giving his time and energy to make the region a better place.

“I am humbled by the great honour that has been bestowed on me,” says Hubbard. “I owe a debt of gratitude to so many people who went out of their way to help me on my journey. Over the years, I had wonderful training and experiences at the BC Vocational Training School which evolved into Malaspina University-College and then to VIU.

“In particular, the Adult Basic Education program really helped me get a start on my career path. When I look back, there are so many people who took the time to help and mentor me, now I am trying to do the same for others.”

Hubbard learned the ethic of hard work while growing up on a family dairy farm in Cedar. At age 14, he quit school at John Barsby Secondary to work in logging camps, eventually returning to Nanaimo to work in construction.

He enrolled in the BC Vocational and Trades School (VTS) to complete the Heavy Equipment Operator program where he learned how to operate bulldozers, graders and scrapers.
Hired by Hub City Paving in 1965, Hubbard worked his way through every piece of machinery and desk job possible, learning all aspects of the business.

After marrying wife Lynne in 1966 and starting a family (two daughters Lana and Joanne) Hubbard returned to night school. “I wanted to be home more and couldn't move up the ladder in the business world without my grade 12 diploma,” he says. “The Adult Basic Education program was my start.”

Taken over by a multi-national company, Hub City sponsored him to enrol in the BC Institute of Technology each winter for two years. The education paid off. Hubbard became company foreman, and general superintendent in 1980. Ten years later, he was promoted to general manager for Vancouver Island responsible for 200-plus employees.

When LaFarge Canada bought Warren Paving (Hub City’s parent company) in 2000, Hubbard was named general manager for LaFarge Northwest Division, which included Vancouver Island and Northcoast British Columbia.

While tremendously successful in his career, Hubbard is perhaps better known for his community contributions. He is past chair of Ducks Unlimited and now a member of the national board of directors. For 20 years, Hubbard has helped preserve wildlife reserves all over Canada and the United States, including the Nanaimo River estuary.

He also served as a Rotarian from 1987 to 2008 and remains a member of many other various boards and charities. In recognition of his outstanding community service, Hubbard was named Citizen of the Year by the Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce in 2006.
“My personal involvement at VIU over the past 47 years has been very rewarding,” says Hubbard. “I have met and made lifelong friends through all of the activities that VIU offers.”

One of Hubbard’s early associations with VIU was in the late 1990s when he was asked by the late Rotarian Frank Gregory to assist with building a new driveway into Milner Gardens, which had just been donated to the University. Hubbard recruited numerous trades people to the cause, resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of in-kind donations.

He was invited to join the VIU Foundation in 2000, and remains a valued member today. Over the years, he’s helped with numerous fundraising campaigns for the Library expansion, new Trades building, the Deep Bay Marine Field Station, the annual Festival of Trees and others.

Appointed to the VIU Board of Governors in 2002, Hubbard served for six years including two as Board Chair (2004 and 2005). He played an instrumental role in rallying community support when Malaspina University-College transitioned to University status in 2008.

“VIU became a different and unique model - a special purpose University that offers both Trades and academic programming,” says Hubbard. “Today, young people living on Vancouver Island can get an education close to home without the extra expense of moving to a larger centre. Access to affordable education is vitally important for the communities we serve.”

Hubbard was also a founding member of the VIU Alumni Association from 2009 to 2011. He continues to serve on the Malaspina High School board and supports VIU’s Adult Basic Education program by providing an annual bursary to a deserving student.
His dedication to community service continues with his appointment in December 2010 as Chair of the Vancouver Island Health Authority, which oversees a budget of $2-billion.

At age 66, Hubbard values time spent with his wife Lynne of 46 years, his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and pursing two lifelong passions – learning and hiking.

He is currently a part-time VIU student working towards a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology, and is training for a six-day hiking and camping expedition along the 53-kilometre Chilkoote Pass this summer.

Hubbard’s daily training schedule begins at 5:30 am with a 10 kilometre hike carrying a 35-pound backpack. He hopes to trek to Everest base camp in 2013. “I’ve always been goal driven,” he says.

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Chronological history of Don Hubbard’s 47-year association with VIU

1966 – completed Heavy Equipment Operator program at BC Vocational Training School

1966 –obtained grade 12 diploma at night school through Adult Basic Education

1997 – recruited a team of trades people to build a driveway at Milner Gardens resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in-kind donations

2000 to present – member of VIU Foundation Board; assisted with numerous fundraising campaigns including Festival of Trees, Library expansion a new Trades Building, and Deep Bay Marine Field Station

2002– established bursary to support Adult Basic Education students

2002 to 2008 – member of VIU Board of Governors (Chair in 2004/05); played a key role in rallying community support as Malaspina University-College transitioned to University status

2004 to present - member of Malaspina High School board

2009 –enrolled in Adult Basic Education program to upgrade English 12

2009 – 2011 - founding member of VIU Alumni Association

2010 to present - Bachelor of Arts program (part-time), working towards an Anthropology degree


Tags: In the Community