Gilgan scholarship helping since 1975

When William W. Gilgan passed away at the age of 95 on Aug. 7, 2012, Burns Lake lost a true renaissance man.

Bill celebrating his 95 birthday

When William W. Gilgan passed away at the age of 95 on Aug. 7, 2012, Burns Lake lost a true renaissance man.  He was an RCAF Navigator in WWII, a professional forester, a planning director for the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako (RDBN), a trapper, a marriage commissioner and a two-time mayor of Burns Lake.  He was the first chairman of the RDBN and the last surviving charter member of the Burns Lake Rotary Club.

His legacy doesn’t only continue today in the lives of his eight children, 19 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren, but it continues in the form of a scholarship that his kids established and initially funded.

“At the time, I had small kids, so it wasn’t that easy to find a share, but it wasn’t a huge imposition either since I don’t recall any particular hardship,” said Rob Gilgan, one of Bill’s children.

The money that the Gilgan family was able to put together was generously matched by Douglas College and the provincial government.  “The endowment started producing student awards pretty much right away and continues to do so each year,” said Rob.

The scholarship is administered by Douglas College and has been awarded every year since 1994 to a graduating student of Lakes District Secondary School.  The amount of the award has fluctuated at times with the market, but 14 of the 19 awards given have been $1000.

Anyone can donate to the fund or top up any given year’s award in order to have it amount to $1000.  The current fund capital generated $744 this year, but current contributions to the fund allowed the award to be topped up to $1000 for local LDSS student Brooke Boychuk.

“What is rewarding, 20 years later, is looking at the list of LDSS students the award has helped,” said Rob.

Bill’s life in the air force and service in WW II, his work in forestry and his contribution to municipal and regional politics mark William W. Gilgan  as one of those people who seem to have lived three years for everyone one of our own.

“Dad did indeed cram several lifetimes into his 95 years and remains an inspiration to me, every day,” said Rob.

The award was originally conceived as a way for ‘a bunch of kids’ to acknowledge their father, but since 1975 it has been having a impact on a deserving LDSS student every year.

“It’s humbling to know that we’ve had an impact, so far, 20 times,” said Rob.

“I hope that a story might spur other families in the region to instigate similar projects with district scholars being beneficiaries,” said Rob.

Although the fund has more than doubled in its capital reserve, it remains $7,000 shy of being able to operate in perpetuity without yearly top-ups to the award.

Donations to the William W. Gilgan  award can be made through the Douglas College Foundation.  Details are available at


Just Posted

Oil tanker ban to be reviewed by committee

Indigenous groups for and against Bill C-48 travel to Ottawa to influence the Senate’s decision

Fat tires on thick ice

Burns Lake fat bikers came out to enjoy the conditions on Kager… Continue reading

Lakes District News reporter self-introduction

For this week’s column Lakes District News readers get to read about… Continue reading

Not voting is a vote for apathy

Editor: I have just finished reading “The Regional News” mail out that… Continue reading

Ottawa neglects Alberta oil resources at its peril

Editor: When there were 2,200 jobs lost in Ontario it becomes a… Continue reading

Man caught on camera allegedly trying to defraud ICBC

Auto-insurer warns B.C. drivers to record info after crashes

Warning issued as forecast calls for 20-foot waves in Tofino

Dangerous waves, strong currents and upper-shoreline flooding expected for Tofino-Ucluelet area

An 800-pound pig named Theodore needs a forever home, B.C. society says

‘Theodore is not destined to be somebody’s bacon’

2,000 Canadians died of an overdose in first 6 months of the year

New data from the Public Health Agency of Canada shows the crisis is not subsiding

Teenager Alphonso Davies wins Canadian Men’s Soccer Player for the Year Award

Derek Cornelius and Chilliwack native, Jordyn Huitema were named Canadian Youth International Players of the Year

B.C. teen MMA fighter shows heart

Young Unity MMA competitors bring home Ws

Another B.C. city votes to ban single-use plastic bags

First six months of proposed ban would focus on education, not enforcement

UK Prime Minister Theresa May wins party no-confidence vote, but troubles remain

May won the vote of 317 Conservative legislators with a 200-117 tally

B.C. trustee’s anti-LGBTQ comments got him barred from schools

Barry Neufeld calls vote to leave him off liaison list ‘workplace discrimination’

Most Read