Lester B Pearson UWC of the Pacific
Location: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada; student profile: 200 students aged 16-19; founded: 1974
Introduction and brief history
Lester B. Pearson, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and former Prime Minister of Canada was the driving force behind the founding of Pearson College.
Prime Minister Pearson worked tirelessly to get the project started, but passed away before the college opened. It was decided that the college would be a most appropriate memorial and was named in Pearson’s honour.
People from around the world gave generously of their time and money to get the college underway. The first 100 students arrived in September 1974. Since then 200 students have attended each year on full scholarship.
The campus and facilities
The campus is nestled in the forest on the rugged shoreline of Canada’s West Coast near Victoria, the capital of British Columbia. Students, as well as many faculty members and their families live together in this international community.
Facilities include five student residences, a waterfront dining room, state of the art science labs, classrooms, theatre and visual arts facilities, an Education Resource Centre, and a Spiritual Centre.
The floating marine sciences centre contains a well-equipped seafront environmental systems lab. Students conduct research above and below water at nearby Race Rocks (www.racerocks.com). A hilltop observatory facilitates study about astronomy and exploration of the night skies.
Recreational facilities include a 25 metre pool and exercise room, outdoor tennis and volleyball courts, soccer field, and student common room.
Beyond the classroom
Pearson College currently offers 32 activities within the categories of creativity, action and service.
Every student rotates through kitchen service, house cleaning and village service duties and takes on a regular job (e.g. helping in the student store or being a campus fire-fighter.)
All students take a basic first aid course and expedition training. Some students enhance these skills through First Aid and wilderness First Aid service programs.
Additional activities include diving, social entrepreneurship and sustainable growth projects.
In the community
Students participate in programs to assist people who are disabled, visit the elderly, and work with disadvantaged people. Students also develop their own projects during the annual project week.
Students stage One World, a performance of international music, stories and dance at a downtown theatre annually.
“Living with friends from so many nations has changed my view of the world. Last year I lived with roommates from Italy, Hong Kong and Canada and they were not simply roommates, but listening ears and mentors. It wasn’t just a room, but a home where we shared our cultures and celebrated our differences.”
Erika, Tanzania, Pearson College 2007-2009
Pearson UWC contact details