Theresa Arsenault has a passion for post-secondary education in the Okanagan Valley of BC. And along with her husband Stuart Marshall, she has demonstrated that passion with a gift of life insurance to UBC Okanagan.
Theresa was born and raised in the Okanagan, and when she graduated from UBC with a law degree in 1981 she only applied for articling positions in that region. “I really enjoyed my time at UBC,” she says, “Both my arts and law degrees. When I was an English major I took all kinds of courses; anything that interested me. And some of my best friends are people I first met in law school.” Theresa articled and practiced in Vernon, then moved to Kelowna in 1985 to join her current firm, Pushor Mitchell. There she specializes in business and estate planning law.
Theresa and Stuart first met in Grade 10, but didn’t date until Theresa was in her first year at UBC. They were married in
1982, and have a son and a daughter. Stuart is a graduate of Langara College who heads up his own real estate development company. Theresa’s interest in promoting postsecondary education sparked when she was a member of the Board of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce. At that time, she chaired the Friends of Okanagan College, which successfully lobbied to obtain degree-granting status for the college. “Here in the Okanagan we used to have very low post-secondary participation rates compared to the Lower Mainland of BC. Part of the reason was that there weren’t enough educational opportunities in the Okanagan, along with the high cost of going to school in Vancouver. The participation rates are way up now, but we still need to improve.”
Theresa currently serves on the UBC Board of Governors, UBC Okanagan President’s Advisory Council and as a co-chair and the regional planning chair of the Okanagan Partnership. In 2008, the Canadian Bar Association of BC honoured Theresa with a Community Service Award for her work promoting Kelowna’s post-secondary institutions.
Theresa’s reasons for her community involvement are clear. “I believe in supporting groups or institutions that help make life better for the residents of the Okanagan. UBC Okanagan is very much performing that function now both in providing access to education that wasn’t available locally and by helping the region develop knowledge areas through research and its spinoffs.”
Of her and Stuart’s gift to UBC, Theresa says, “It’s an investment more than a gift. It’s important to invest in your community as a volunteer or by giving. Make it the place you want it to be.”