By Dale Bass – Kamloops This Week
Kinder Morgan was at the annual awards event at Thompson Rivers University on Nov. 23. The company handed over the $500,000 it promised the university in the spring of 2015.
University faculty is divided on Kinder Morgan’s plan to expand its pipeline. When the community benefit agreement between the company and TRU was first announced in April 2015, geography teacher Michael Mehta called it “embarrassing.”
During a non-confidence vote the faculty association held on the actions of senior administrators, it pointed to what it called a lack of transparency in the agreement that would show the benefit to students.
The company and university signed the agreement to provide the money university president Alan Shaver said “will support endowments in a wide range of programs and aligns with TRU’s commitment to student success and increasing research capacity. The awards created through these endowments will provide student awards in perpetuity. Industry is an important part of our economy and our community and this will set up future generations for success.
Kinder Morgan’s $500,000 donation will be distributed as follows:
• $200,000 to the School of Trades and Technology, with $10,000 to be issued in annual amounts ranging from $1,000 to $4,000 to students in foundation trades, with preference given to students from Trans Mountain pipeline communities;
• $100,000 to the faculty of education and social work, with two $2,500 grants given to students studying full-time in education and social work, with preference given to a single-parent student or someone from a rural community planning to return to work in a rural area after graduation;
• $100,000 to the faculty of science applied research area, with two $2,500 awards presented annually to full-time students enrolled in math, computers, physical science or engineering, with a preference given to those in applied mathematics and from a pipeline community;
• $100,000 to the faculty of science to award $5,000 annually to full-time students studying environmental sciences, with a preference given to those in environmental reclamation and living in a pipeline community. Need and grade-point average are also to be considered.
Harden said Kinder Morgan has built “a strong partnership with TRU through our many years of working together on education programs and community initiatives.” He noted Kinder Morgan has provided equipment and employees to work with students in trades, sponsored TRU’s Women in Trades annual golf tournament, sent staff to TRU for additional training and hired grads.
Thursday’s awards ceremony saw $672,603 handed out, an increase of $50,000 from last year. Thirty awards were added this year, including 20 that are endowed.