The late Roy Wilson’s impact on Medicine Hat College was felt once again today when a MHC classroom was dedicated in his honour.
Wilson, a former instructor, long-time School District No. 76 school trustee and recipient of MHC’s 2012 honorary baccalaureate degree, was known for saying “it is in giving that we receive.” That statement, on a memorial plaque, will now be stationed beside room S159 at MHC.
The plaque was unveiled today as Wilson’s family announced a five-year, $50,000 pledge to the Bring Back the Music program. This partnership between the Medicine Hat College Conservatory, Elm Street, and Riverside schools offers the opportunity to expose children, who may not have otherwise had the opportunity, to the arts.
Wilson’s widow Colleen said the family chose this program because music was very important to her husband.
“The string program in the schools was discontinued due to budget cuts several years ago,” she said. “As a school trustee, this was a huge disappointment to Roy.”
Colleen said that as a classical music lover himself, Roy knew and believed that the strings program brought out ability in children that otherwise they never knew they had.
“It’s an area long forgotten, and giving children the opportunity to explore music this way creates diversity and depth in individuals,” she said. “This program continues his legacy to the children of Medicine Hat and will live on in the hearts of many. We thank Medicine Hat College and School District No. 76 for their vision in bringing back the program and the many donors who have made the Bring Back the Music program a reality. It is a very fitting memorial and legacy that we hope will continue to be supported in this community.”
After Roy’s death, the Bring Back the Music program received donations from across North America in his name.
“His impact on our community could be felt near and far,” said MHC development officer Deanna Haysom. “We were touched by the tributes that poured in. Music, and his community, were clearly very important to him. We look forward to being able to sustain the program with this generous gift.”
The program, which has been underway since late 2012, has been well received by both MHC conservatory instructors and students and staff at the recipient schools.
“The meaning for the Wilson family and more specifically for ‘Dad,’ is that this program bridges society and talents to give children the ability to explore who they are,” said Colleen. “Roy believed the arts were pivotal in a child’s education and he would be the biggest champion of this program.”
Colleen said that the newly dedicated classroom, S159, was of particular importance to Roy.
“Dr. Wilson’s home away from home was his office here and lecture theatre S159 for 30 years,” she said. “Honouring him by naming this classroom after him is recognizing the scholar, the intellectual, the passionate and compassionate dedicated teacher he truly was. An incredible honour for my husband who I believe would be quietly so pleased that this room now bears his name.”
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