VIU Donor Gives Students "A Push in the Right Direction"

Celebrating student success: Salud Espiritu (left), a board member of the Pieter de Reuver Foundation and Pieter's partner, Pieter de Reuver and Michelle Corbett gather at the ABE graduation ceremony at VIU’s Nanaimo campus.

June 21, 2016 - 11:15am

New awards from long-time VIU donor help support Adult Basic Education students

Thanks to a long-time supporter of Vancouver Island University (VIU), more student awards were handed out at this year’s Adult Basic Education (ABE) graduation than at any other previous ceremony.

Forty students were the lucky recipients of the Pieter de Reuver ABE Awards, which are worth $500 apiece and available to ABE students who are residents of mid-Vancouver Island. The majority of these awards, intended to help recipients pursue further education, were given to students from Nanaimo and Parksville at last week’s ABE ceremony.

A dozen other awards were also highlighted at the event, which celebrated its 25th annual ceremony last Thursday (June 16).

Michelle Corbett, an ABE student who proudly received her high school diploma at the grad ceremony, wasn’t aware that she had won one of the de Reuver awards until a notification letter arrived in the mail just days earlier.

“It was such a surprise,” says Corbett, a resident of Port Dover, Ont. who came to VIU last September to attend classes at the Parksville campus. “It’s definitely giving me a push in the right direction.”

Since 2009, de Reuver – a Parksville retiree who previously ran an auto parts and tools business in his home country of the Netherlands – has gifted more than $200,000 to VIU via his self-titled foundation. The VIU Foundation also provided matching funds, resulting in more than $400,000 in student awards.

“We were specifically interested in ABE because it’s a bridging program that allows the students to pursue further education,” says de Reuver. “Education is a very important thing.”

“We’re so grateful for Pieter’s generosity,” says Jean Maltesen, Dean of VIU’s Academic and Career Preparation department. “His invaluable support is helping our students access an array of educational opportunities at VIU.”

Corbett, 22, will return to VIU in September to pursue a BA. She’s currently undecided about her major – but she’s interested in the Creative Writing and Journalism program. “I really want to do something global – meet as many people as I can and tell their stories,” Corbett says. “It’s great to get that feeling that you can do it. You can keep going and figure out where you’re supposed to be and what you’re supposed to do.”

For more information on Academic and Career Preparation, please visit the department’s site.



Communications and Public Engagement, Vancouver Island University

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Tags: Student Success