Stephen Canning Memorial Scholarship

Stephen Canning inspired people to live life without fear.

Stephen, a popular fourth-year student in environmental studies and creative writing, was an accomplished mountaineer and a passionate outdoor adventurer. He wanted to make his living climbing and skiing down great mountains while capturing the beauty of the wildness with his camera, then recounting his adventures in writing.

Canning died in May, 2004 while descending Mount Logan, Canada's tallest peak.  Grieving friends and family wanted to remember Canning in a way that honoured his strength of character and his passion for the outdoors.  His friends and family organized a fundraising event to create a scholarship in environmental studies in his name. The event drew hundreds of people.

"We thought we'd have a nice turnout," says Eric Higgs, director of the School of Environmental Studies, "but we were overwhelmed with the support we received.  It was just amazing."  More than 300 people came out to support the fundraiser, which included a silent auction and sale of Canning's best mountain photography.  Cash donations were dropped into a pair of his old ski boots.

"A tremendous outpouring of grief was transformed into this incredible community spirit and generosity," says Higgs.  The event raised over $16,000 in one evening in donations and pledges. The fund is still growing.  The funds have endowed an undergraduate scholarship in environmental studies to assist students who exhibit Canning's qualities.

"Stephen was a remarkable young man who gave much to life and to the people around him," says Higgs. "We want to encourage students, like Steve, who have his sense of adventure and love of life."

The Stephen Canning Scholarship in Environmental Studies is a testament to the inspiration he was, and will continue to be, for future UVic students.

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