Grand Valley Educational Society

 

Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal. ~ Henry Ford

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

If there ever was a project or initiative that should be benchmarked as setting a new standard for what a community can achieve...the growth of post secondary education would be it!

In 1996 the City of Brantford had completed a strategic plan to identify projects, initiatives and ideas to make Brantford a better place to live, learn and invest. One of the initiatives identified was to expand post secondary education in the community to include a university.

Wilfrid Laurier Brantford Opening As a financial supporter of the strategic plan, Brant Community Futures Development Corporation (now Enterprise Brant) commissioned 3 professors to complete a business plan designed to develop a university for Brantford. The submission of the business plan resulted in the formation of an Education Committee which gradually evolved into the Grand Valley Educational Society.

As a community-owned, charitable organization incorporated in 1996, the initial objective identified by the GVES was to promote and raise funds to secure a private university. Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo expressed an interest, and on June 29th, 1998, signed a Declaration of Intent (along with GVES and the City of Brantford) to establish a satellite university in downtown Brantford by the fall of 1999.

Through persistence, drive, determination and vision, a "high performance team" was formed which consisted of the City of Brantford, the Grand Valley Educational Society and Wilfrid Laurier University. The Grand Valley Educational Society was the catalyst that actively sourced community support and secured $2 million to transform the old library on George Street (donated by the City) to house the initial campus of the Laurier Brantford University.

Each stage of the process involved a team comprised of community representatives that recognized the value of post secondary education...a value that would not only develop our local labour force but would realize substantial economic impact and development city / county wide.

Brantford Community Of the Future 2031 It is impossible to single out any one person, or any specific committee for the prestigious honour of the "one who brought the University to Brantford". Instead we must consider the substantial amount of hours dedicated by community volunteers; the numerous community donors who contributed financial support; the local agencies and organizations, who are too numerous to mention; the excellent media coverage; and the support received from multiple levels of government. This vision was achieved through the strong belief in a common goal...the opportunity of a better Brantford-Brant.

Today the Grand Valley Educational Society continues to work with the three post secondary institutions in our community on projects and initiatives. As a group of community representatives with diverse backgrounds, we are the catalyst to various post secondary projects and have remained a constant community voice dedicated to the vision of a better Brantford-Brant.

"Anyone can see what was, is, or has been; it takes a true leader to see what can be." We are fortunate that Brantford-Brant is unique in the sheer number of leaders who are willing to dedicate their time and energy to our community.

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