CUC changes status and name to Burman University

  • Dec. 24, 2014 4:42 p.m.

On Dec. 15th, the CUC board of trustees approved changing its name from Canadian University College to Burman University.

The university is named after Charles A. and Leona Burman, the husband and wife team who founded the institution in 1907. Charles served as the first and third president (principal) of the school that would be known as CUC. Leona taught English, science, language, geography, physiology and acted as school nurse.

Both Charles and Leona devoted their entire lives to the work of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

“It was because of their selfless dedication and sacrifice that the first school on this hilltop was established,” said CUC President Mark Haynal.

“In every season of their ministry both of these individuals exemplified the mission of our school. They thought with discernment, believed with insight and commitment, and acted with confidence, compassion and competence.”

On July 2nd, the Alberta government granted CUC permission to change the institution’s status and name from ‘university college’ to ‘university.’

“Referring to ourselves simply as a university will more clearly reflect our degree-granting status and enable our students to pursue graduate school and employment without having to repeatedly explaining what a ‘university college’ is,” says Haynal.

“Because ‘university college’ means markedly different things in different regions, potential students and administrators of post-secondary institutions across Canada and around the world have always been uncertain and often confused by our name.”

The name Burman University was chosen after an intensive process of focus groups held in three regions of Canada.

Faculty, staff, students, alumni, friends and citizens of Lacombe joined the process, suggesting more than 100 possible names.

CUC will continue as Canadian University College for the remainder of the 2014-2015 academic calendar year.

Full implementation of the new name will take place May 1st, 2015. The name change process will be fully complete after petition for amendments through a private bill moves through the Alberta legislature.

The Burmans’ met at Union College and were married in 1897.

Early on in their careers they were stationed in Alberta where Charles became the first president of the Alberta Conference. Leona also served the Alberta Conference as the Sabbath School Secretary and in the Youth People’s Work department.

As Alberta Conference president, Charles urged that building a school would be the best way to inspire colporteurs.

This idea gave way to the Canvassers’ School that would one day become Burman University. Always working as a team, Leona worked alongside Charles as a staff member at the Canvassers’ School.

Only a few months working with the students at the Canvassers’ School convinced Charles that a secondary institution was needed.

As a team of action the Burmans, with a logging crew, embarked to gather lumber even before a site or conference approval was granted.

Charles led a crew of 18 men, 18 horses, three bobsleds, and a cutter to the woods west of Leduc. Leona, with student Hazel Edwards, joined the crew to provide support and cook for the loggers. In three weeks the crew had cut 1,700 logs and piled them on the ice of the North Saskatchewan River.

In 1907, Alberta Industrial Academy was established. The school functioned with four staff members, Charles as the principal and Bible teacher and Leona as the preceptress along with teaching English, geography, physiology, and acting as the school nurse.

Charles and Leona cared for not only the academic needs of the AIA students but for their physical needs as well.

When seeing student Camille Armeneau canvassing in the cold without a topcoat, Charles took off his and gave it to the student.

On another occasion, noticing student Willie McCready’s worn-out shoes, he bought him a new pair. It was through their tireless service that the students addressed the Burmans as ‘Ma and Pa Burman.’

Leona wrote, “The teacher never gets his reward in the pay envelope, it comes with the years as he watches the students he has taught develop into strong men and women able to carry responsibilities.”

-Weber

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