Donna Lomas and Tom Beardsley Profile

Regional Dean and husband pay it forward with generous donation to 
Bright Horizons-Bright Futures Family Campaign

Donna Lomas and Tom Beardsley resizedSupporting an institution and an education system that has given them so much is something Donna Lomas and Tom Beardsley see as an obligation they are happy to fulfill

Lomas, Regional Dean of the South Okanagan-Similkameen Region of Okanagan College and husband Beardsley, have given generously to the Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence and have established two student awards funded through their estate.

“For me there is nothing better than knowing you’ve helped a student achieve their educational dreams,” Lomas said. “When you hear from students who tell you they’ve gone on to get their Masters you realize that you have a real influence on people and that this is a way to pay them back.”

Lomas is passionate about education and the lifestyle it and the College have allowed her to share with her husband, who spent 25 years in the navy before returning to school at 37 and graduating with a Bachelor of Education. Later, he discovered his passion lay in politics and social activism

“Education was a wonderful eye opener for me,” he said. “It opens doorways and prepares young people to take part in things they shouldn’t miss out on.”

Lomas hopes staff, faculty, and others will support the Bright Horizons: Bright Futures Family Campaign but is respectful of the fact that people choose causes that are meaningful to them personally.

“Everyone has to make their own decision but I feel, and this is my opinion only, that we are in a very privileged environment and although we have our ups and downs, at the end of the day we all have pretty fabulous jobs and there is nothing better than knowing you’ve helped a student achieve their educational dreams,” Lomas said

Lomas and Beardsley have established two awards; one targeted at students enrolled in the Human Kinetics Program and the other for students pursuing studies in social justice or history/political science at the Penticton Campus.

The first award is a planned gift honouring Lomas’ father; a talented athlete who taught his children the importance of education, competition, and human performance. The second award reflects Beardsley’s passion and lifelong commitment to social justice and his hope that students enrolled in the Criminal and Social Justice Program will learn to think critically and to consider the core issues that perpetuate inequities that lead to crime and other social ills.

“I envision a recipient interested in a social issue like feminism, immigration, or gay pride but in need of a solid base of knowledge first,” Beardsley said. “This is our way to give back to a system that has
been very good to us."