|Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Institute for Sustainable
Horticulture receives first gift as a university of $250,000 from Peter
Dhillon, president and CEO of Richberry Group of Companies. (Pictured
from right to left) David W. Atkinson, Kwantlen Polytechnic University
president and vice-chancellor; Peter Dhillon, president and CEO of
Richberry Group of Companies, and family; Christine Brodie, Kwantlen
University Foundation board chair; and Jeff Norris, Kwantlen University
Foundation executive director. (Photo courtesy Kwantlen Polytechnic University)
Richberry Group’s gift will be directed towards the Institute for Sustainable Horticulture (ISH), one of four applied research centres at Kwantlen. With the goal of fostering dialogue and collaboration among industry, community and government, the research centres are information hubs that are responsive to the needs of the communities that Kwantlen serves. The ISH, in particular, focuses on promoting, building and researching sustainable landscapes, the use of urban agriculture, integrated pest management, and "green" greenhouse energy. Construction began on the new facility in June 2008 at Kwantlen’s Langley Campus and will be completed in early 2009.
“We are very pleased to announce our continued support towards agriculture with our donation today to Kwantlen Polytechnic University,” said Peter Dhillon, president and CEO of the Richberry Group of Companies. Dhillon, Canada’s largest cranberry producer, is one of the largest shareholders of Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc., a co-operative that generated $1.68 billion US in 2006 and has a 70 per cent share of the global cranberry juice market.
Ranked number 32 in Vancouver Magazine’s 2007 50 most powerful people in B.C., Dhillon has served extensively on many local and national boards, currently serving on Simon Fraser’s board of governors, Vancouver International Airport Authority, Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc., and acting as a trustee of CanWel Building Material Income Fund. Previous positions held included the Board of Directors of Atomic Energy Canada, director and chairman of the Audit Committee of the Vancouver 2010 Organizing Committee (VANOC), director of the Vancouver Olympic Committee, vice-chairman of the Provincial Agricultural Land Commission, vice-chairman of the B.C. Ferry Corporation, director of Seacor Environmental, director of Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, and director of the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation.
The Richberry Group chose to support Kwantlen Polytechnic University because Dhillon believes in accessible education and giving back to the community. Dhillon earned his BA in History from the University of British Columbia and an LL.B with honours from the University of Leeds. ”As a Richmond resident for the past 30 years, I am grateful to have Kwantlen in our community, to provide Richmond residents of all ages the opportunity to attend a university,” said Dhillon. “My family and I have long believed in the importance of education and recognize the value in supporting causes that are meaningful to us.”
The Richberry Group continues to support agriculture as this is the second material donation directed towards the advancement of agriculture. It follows an earlier donation to the University of British Columbia.
A NEW KIND OF UNIVERSITY
“This commitment comes at a pivotal moment for Kwantlen,” said Kwantlen president and vice-chancellor David W. Atkinson. “We are a new kind of university that pledges to be community-responsive in its research and programming. Sustainability, urban agriculture and green energy are issues that we need to address today. With Mr. Dhillon’s generous support, the ISH will continue to focus on these very important matters.”
In recognition of his generosity, Kwantlen will name a research lab in its new greenhouse centre. Dhillon chose to name the lab, the “R & H Dhillon Entomology Suite” after his parents, Rashpal and Harbhajan, who were a tremendous influence in his life. “I wanted to honour them through this gift,” said Dhillon. “My father was a well-known member of the community, business leader and philanthropist. My desire to give back comes from him.”
His parents invested in cranberry bogs in Richmond and Pitt Meadows in the late 1970’s and the Richberry Group grew to become Canada’s largest producer of cranberries. Rashpal also gained distinction as the country’s first Indo-Canadian police officer, having joined the RCMP at the age of 19.
Christine Brodie, chair of the Kwantlen Foundation board of directors and long-time resident of Richmond, expressed her gratitude. “Peter is a prominent leader in both the agriculture industry and the Richmond community,” Brodie remarked. “We are extremely excited to announce this donation, being the single largest contribution to Kwantlen University and the Institute for Sustainable Horticulture. Richberry Group’s gift has the power to forge the path for others to follow and we are extremely grateful for his demonstrated commitment to Kwantlen.”
The Kwantlen Foundation was established in 2000 and raises funds in support of the University’s students, projects and programs.
For more information or to make a donation, visit Kwantlen.ca/foundation or call 604-599-2010.