Wider Horizons

When Bill Harrison, popular Lethbridge College instructor and public school guidance counselor,memory nurtures students passed away suddenly – and much too young – in 1986, his wife Elaine (pictured left) figured she knew how best to preserve his memory.

“He was so interested in students,” she says during an interview in her south Lethbridge home. “They were an important part of his life. When he died, I thought ‘that’s how he’d like to be remembered.’”

And so, for the next 22 years, Bill’s name has been tied to four scholarships given annually at Lethbridge College: two to First Nations students taking upgrading classes, and one each to students in Policing and Nursing.

It keeps Elaine busy shaking hands, because she enjoys meeting the students selected for the awards and keeping track of their future successes where she can.

Bill Harrison began teaching at Gilbert Paterson Junior High School. Through summer sessions at Oregon State University, he achieved a master of education in guidance and counselling, leading to positions as a teacher and counsellor at Lethbridge Collegiate Institute and Winston Churchill High School. He also served as director of guidance services for School District 51. Bill served as the first director of counselling services at Lethbridge College.

He taught psychology to students in Nursing and Justice Studies from 1971 to 1986, and those who passed through his courses remember him fondly for his inspired teaching.

But aboriginal education was particularly close to his heart, a cause he championed in several ways, such as holding summer school sessions in guidance and counselling attended by native administrators and instructors from the Prairie Provinces.

In collaboration with Pat Webb and Georgette Fox, Bill was instrumental in forming a native advisory council. It nurtured and furthered opportunities for aboriginal students, such as representation on the college’s board of governors, a counselor, and an aboriginal students’ association. He also secured scholarship funding from the Donner Foundation. His doctoral dissertation was a study and survey of native education.

“The students were where his heart was. The scholarship keeps his special interests alive,” Harrison says.

Wider Horizons
Lethbridge College
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