The man in charge of North Island College’s Port Alberni campus for almost nine years is leaving to become the president of a college in Northern Saskatchewan.
Campus director Tom Weegar will leave Port Alberni in November to become the new president of Nipawin-based Cumberland College. The position is a promotion as he will be running the entire college which has four campuses.
Weegar has deep roots on Vancouver Island, having grown up in Courtenay. His parents and siblings all live in Victoria, his wife is from Parksville and their son, Thompson, 15, is a local track and field athlete. Weegar is also the president of Literacy Alberni, a Rotarian, a youth soccer coach and referee and has worked with the local chamber of commerce.
“It’s going to be very difficult to leave all that,” Weegar said. “My experiences in this community have been fabulous and my family really enjoyed living in Port Alberni.
“I enjoyed working with all the different groups in Port Alberni.”
Weegar has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from UVic and a masters degree in environmental studies from York University.
He taught at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) and Northwest Community College before moving into an administrative position at Northwest.
He moved on to Northern Lights College and Rainy River Community College in Minnesota, before coming to Port Alberni in March 2005.
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Weegar has a specialization in Native studies and played a part in developing a number of programs involving local First Nations. He spoke proudly of the Bridge to Success program, a partnership with the Tseshaht First Nation to train and provide education upgrades to those interested in working at the mill.
“It makes them more employable with the mills,” Weegar said about the program.
“It’s a bridge to the mill from one side of the river to the other.”
He also put together the construction labour program, which is geared to learners with head injuries and those with fetal alcohol syndrome.
As for the future, Weegar said he’s focused on starting his new position and becoming part of the community that he will soon live in. A return to B.C. is possible.
“I’m going to see where it takes me,” Weegar said, regarding his work. “B.C. is closer to the relatives but at this time, the focus is on Cumberland College.”