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Planting Roots for Future Generations

July 31, 2023

Myrna and Terry Daniels pictured together on campus in 2023.

Myrna and Terry Daniels have a very deep philanthropic history with UVic. Both attended the institution as students; Terry studied science and engineering at Victoria College in the 1950s and Myrna studied French at UVic on a scholarship as a mature student in the 1980s.

Since becoming alumni, the couple have previously established scholarships: the Terry and Myrna Daniels Scholarship in Music, the Terry and Myrna Daniels Award (Entrepreneurship) the Terry Daniels Scholarship in Engineering and the Myrna McEwen Daniels Scholarship in French.

Recently, they have established a new $50,000 endowed fund that will provide one or more awards of $2,000 to Indigenous undergraduate students in the Faculty of Education who are entering or continuing with the Bachelor of Education program in Indigenous Language Revitalization.

I think education really is the doorway to success in all areas of life."

Growing up in Vancouver, Myrna’s dream was to become an elementary school teacher. Instead, she pursued various avenues of customer service, her last employment being with CU&C Insurance in Vancouver before moving to Victoria to marry Terry in 1974. Her love of the French language eventually led her to consider attending UVic at the age of 38. While shaking off doubts about her ability to return to school as a mature student, her decision was solidified after her first year, when she learned that she had received a scholarship to continue her studies of French at UVic.

Myrna reflects on UVic as a welcoming community and says the relationships she was able to create, even as a mature student, left lasting impressions on her life. She says the spirit at UVic was undeniable, and she admired how dedicated the students were to their studies. However, one person she was never able to meet was Adeline Julienne Deloume, the woman responsible for her scholarship, as she had since passed away. “I wanted so much to thank her, it meant the world to me. At the time, it was about my lifetime of work with French coming to fruition. The honor was just so extraordinary for me. So, that's another reason I wanted to pass that on.”

Terry grew up in Prince Rupert before heading off to Victoria College as a young man to study science and engineering. He went on to become chairman of Daniels Electronics, the company founded by his father in 1938. Daniels Electronics designed and manufactured customized digital and analogue radio repeater systems capable of working in extreme climates.

Many of his early customers were Indigenous groups and fishermen up the coast of BC, who he got to know very well. He recalls meeting Chief Tom Brown in Klemtu, a Kitasoo Tsimshian village on Swindle Island, who he describes as gentle, understanding and a good leader. Through these experiences, Terry came to the realization that we are not all so different.

Do the best job you can and treat all people as equals."

Under Terry’s leadership, Daniels Electronics was a long-time supporter of the UVic co-op program and hired many UVic graduates to work as engineers at the company. At the time the business sold, it employed 17 UVic graduates. He says he knows how hard it can be to get started in a meaningful career. "That is why we do our small part with this scholarship because every little bit helps,” says Terry.

As a little girl, Myrna often listened to a radio program called Hawaii Calls that was broadcast directly from the beach in Waikiki. She recalls hearing the ocean waves and falling in love with Hawaiian music. Years later, after meeting Terry, they travelled to Hawaii together and deepened their appreciation of the Hawaiian culture.

Their blossoming love of Hawaiian culture led them to realize how Indigenous Hawaiians are working hard to preserve their heritage. Myrna reflected that she had never met Indigenous community members when she was in school and cannot recall learning any Indigenous literature. Later, she came across a Google Talk by Dr. Anton Treuer, a professor of Ojibwe at Bemidji State University in Minnesota and author of the presentation ‘Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to Ask.’ He notes that from kindergarten to grade 12, he had never heard anything about his Indigenous community in school, either. “The same thing is happening in our province and community; we need to turn that around,” says Myrna.

Myrna still gets teary-eyed when she recalls hearing UVic Professor Carey Newman tell the story of the hummingbird who says, “We do what we can,” while flying to help put out fire drop by drop. This scholarship is Myrna and Terry’s way of passing on a beautiful legacy to future generations. They hope the scholarship will directly reach students who wish to preserve Indigenous culture and teach.

Enjoy every moment of learning at UVic. The memories you create today will last your lifetime."

Thank you, Myrna and Terry, for your continued generosity! We are deeply appreciative and grateful to have you as a part of the UVic community.