Rosy and Steven Chan Memorial Bursary


Rosy and Steven Chan married during the depression. Rosy, born in Vancouver in a family of ten children, was able to complete grade ten before having to leave school to go to work. Steven, born in Victoria, was the eldest of twelve children. Steven only completed grade six due to the attempted segregation of Chinese children in the schools of the time. When Steven was taken out of school to be segregated, he never returned to public school. Instead, he went to work in the family business. He took courses to upgrade his education including cooking, first aid, and restaurant management. Rosy and Steven valued hard work, commitment to community, and family values.

Rosy and Steven were from close families, where there was importance placed on the ‘family meal’ together, and the value of respecting your elders. Rosy and Steven had six children who grew up in Victoria – so they were kept very busy. Rosy was an active homemaker, keeping the family fed, sewing clothes, growing a garden, volunteering at the church, engaged in fundraising, and occasionally working in the family restaurant. Steven worked six days a week in the family restaurant, where he was the dinner chef and the accountant. Steven worked closely with four of his brothers and they all participated in group decision making. In retirement, both Rosy and Steven continued to work in the community and volunteer at the church. Steven and his brothers volunteered at the seniors centre to cook a meal from time to time for the group. Rosy was an amazing baker, often baking many dozens of cookies and cakes for fund raising, church teas, and for social events. 

Rosy and Steven valued education as the pathway to have a better life. Neither one of them had university education. However, they valued learning, and were avid readers. They encouraged all of their children to go on to get a trade, or get a post-secondary education. Two of the adult children obtained doctoral degrees. The remaining adult children were in health care, kitchen staff, elementary school education, and fashion design. Rosy and Steven were proud of their children and what they achieved through education.

The donor of this award, Dr. Adrienne Chan has been a donor to universities and colleges since the 1970’s. She believes in supporting education as a fundamental way of fostering citizenship. Her philosophy aligns well with her life’s work and her strong commitment to social justice, first as a social worker, then as an educator. Adrienne is a Professor Emeritus at the University of the Fraser Valley, and an alumnus of the University of Victoria, UBC, and the University of Kent at Canterbury (UK).

Adrienne came from a family of six siblings with a strong commitment and history of giving back to their community, whether it was time, talent, or funds. Adrienne is a third-generation Canadian of Chinese descent. Her grandfather Chan Dun travelled on a working boat to Victoria in 1893 and had to pay a head tax upon arrival. He established a family and encouraged hard work and working together, in order to be successful.  Adrienne’s values and attitudes were further cultivated in junior high school when she was involved in the Canadian Red Cross as a volunteer, doing fundraising, and working towards the betterment of marginalized peoples. Giving was engrained the family culture, to support society and the betterment of communities. 

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