The Dr. Lou Dryden Trades Training Atrium was unveiled at the Comox Valley campus Trades Centre during a ceremony on April 16. Dr. Dryden served as NIC’s third president from 1997 until 2009. His wife Paula, son Lee, daughter Nikki and granddaughter Eloise stand in front of the plaque honouring Dr. Dryden’s contribution to NIC.

North Island College names atrium after Dr. Lou Dryden

North Island College honoured the legacy of former president Dr. Lou Dryden on Tuesday, April 16 by naming the atrium of the trades building after him.

Almost 200 people joined members of Dryden’s family at a special unveiling ceremony of the Dr. Lou Dryden Trades Training Atrium at the Comox Valley campus Trades Training Centre.

“He would be so honoured and humbled by this,” said Lou’s wife Paula. “He had such a passion for education and a true commitment to students and student success. He wanted to make sure they had opportunities. It’s wonderful to see the impact his legacy is having.”

Current NIC president John Bowman paid tribute to his predecessor’s lasting impact on B.C.’s college system and for his philanthropic support of students.

“Lou always advocated strongly for the role that colleges play in helping people live better lives through education and the contributions we make to community development and sustainability, particularly in rural regions,” said Bowman. “Lou’s kindness, generosity and caring for other people continues to inspire us and will go on as a lasting legacy.”

Dryden served as NIC’s third president from 1997 until 2009. After retiring, Dryden returned to live in Australia, where he was born. Lou passed peacefully at home with his wife Paula by his side, north of Sydney, Australia in New South Wales on June 17, 2018.

Read: NIC staff and faculty remember Dr. Lou Dryden

Lou’s accomplishments as college president include creating the first-ever applied business degree in B.C., expanding NIC’s nursing degree into a four-year program and launching the professional cook program.

Dryden appointed NIC’s first female director of Aboriginal Education and helped create opportunities for women and Indigenous peoples, including through partnerships with First Nations to offer Nuu-chah-nulth language training in two dialects.

He also oversaw major infrastructure investments to the Comox Valley campus, including securing funding for construction of the trades training building, a part of which now forever carries his name. Dryden’s support for students endures with an annual $1,000 bursary, thanks to the Dr. Lou Dryden Student Success Bursary Endowment Fund he set up while in office.

Patrons who wish to contribute to the bursary fund or make gifts in honour of Dr. Dryden are invited to contact the NIC Foundation at 250-334-5074. More information on giving through the Foundation is available at

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