Pearson College UWC
Head: Ms. Désirée McGraw
650 Pearson College Drive, Victoria,
British Columbia, V9C 4H7,
+1 250 391 2411
Pearson College UWC
Pearson College UWC at a glance
Scholarship money in CAD $ awarded the 2014/15 graduating classes
Percentage of students 160 students from 150 countries on full/partial scholarships for the year 2016/17 at Pearson College UWC
Pearson College UWC scholars that have received needs-based Davis UWC scholarships to study in the USA universities
Institutions where Pearson College UWC Scholars have earned degrees since 1974
Global alumni network from 150+ countries since 1974
Pearson College UWC is Canada’s most globally-minded school. It is a school for students of exceptional promise and potential worldwide. It draws accomplished young leaders and changemakers from up to 150 countries and every province and territory of Canada. Pearson’s two-year, pre-university curriculum is based on the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme and features a strong emphasis on experiential education at the residential campus on Pedder Bay, near the southern tip of Vancouver Island.
Pearson College UWC was named in honour of the late Canadian Prime Minister and so far Canada’s only Nobel Peace Laureate, Lester B. Pearson. He initiated the work to found Pearson United World College “of the Pacific” as a way of continuing the promotion of peace and understanding in the world. The college opened as Lester B. Pearson United World College of the Pacific, with the first 100 students arrived in September 1974 and went on to become the first UWC in the Americas, and one of the first IB programs in the world.
Since then 200 students have attended each year on full scholarship. More than 4,000 scholars from over 150 countries have come through Pearson College UWC campus since 1974. Over 292 Pearson College UWC alumni are from Sub-Saharan Africa that have attended Pearson College UWC since 1974. Its alumni are committed to making a difference in the lives of others. Pearson’s impressive alumni — who include award-winning musicians and authors, high-level politicians and business leaders — often attend top post-secondary schools. The majority of Pearson College UWC graduates wind up attending Montreal’s McGill University or the University of Toronto. But some enrol at Boston’s Harvard University or Cambridge or Oxford in England.
Pearson College UWC was one of the first institutions in North America to offer the IB when the school opened in 1974. Leading the way in innovation, Pearson College UWC has developed internationally taught courses such as the school-based syllabus in Marine Science, as well as the Theory of Knowledge.
Three Unique Features
- Lester B. Pearson – Lester B. Pearson College of the Pacific was created to honour the legacy of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Lester Bowles Pearson, a former prime minister of Canada, whose vision of peace and global cooperation inspired the founders of the school. Lester B. Pearson was recognized in 1957 for his vision in conceiving and creating the first UN multinational peacekeeping forces. Mr. Pearson asked: “How can there be peace without people understanding each other, and how can [people understand each other] if they don’t know each other?” Pearson College UWC is not merely named for Mr. Pearson; he was the driving force behind the founding of the College. His interest in the United World College movement convinced him that there must be such a college in Canada – a place where: Students… will be welcomed without regard to race, religion or politics…. Students … from all levels of society [who] will be genuine representatives of their own peoples
- Unique geographic and spiritual environment – Located on the mild west coast of Canada on the traditional territory of the Scia’new (Beecher Bay) First Nation, the campus’ forested and temperate coastal location encourages students to undertake challenging academic and experiential learning in both modern classrooms and outdoors year-round.
- Race Rocks Ecological Reserve – Pearson College UWC acts as the official eco guardian for the world-renown Race Rocks Ecological Reserve. Partnering with the Canadian government and the province of British Columbia, Pearson College UWC manages the nearby Race Rocks Marine Ecological Reserve. Home to sea lions, elephant seals, harbour seals, killer whales and a diversity of sea birds, this dynamic marine environment is an innovative outdoor classroom and laboratory where leading-edge technology links the College’s student researchers to the world. Students learn through marine sciences courses, diving activity and volunteering on the reserve. Race Rocks Ecological reserve is high-current area and there is an exceptional variety of marine life found on Race Rocks. It remains a haul-out area for California and Northern sea lions, as well as a birthing rookery for Harbour and Elephant seals.
Pearson College UWC is situated on the beautiful forested shores of the Pacific Ocean at sheltered Pedder Bay, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean, near the southernmost tip of Vancouver Island on the rugged west coast of Canada, about 30 kilometers southwest of the provincial capital of Victoria, British Columbia. The area has a rich ecological and environmental heritage. The island is home to several indigenous groups; the Kwakwaka’wakw, Nuu-chah-nulth and Coast Salish. A variety of wildlife including eagles, deer, songbirds and sea otters are often spotted on campus. The campus is distinctive for its low-level cedar buildings nestled in the centre of a 75 acre forest. Pearson College’s unique coastal location allows students to be taught outside with the wilderness and marine environment as a constant backdrop. The coastal location of the campus makes it ideal for marine research projects, and activities such as kayaking and yachting.
Campus and Facilities
Students, as well as many faculty members and their families, live together on campus. Facilities include five student residence buildings accommodating 40 students, four in each room, plus a House Parent apartment.
The facilities are built in a West Coast modern style designed to reflect and respect the natural setting and include a waterfront dining hall, state of the arts and science labs, classrooms, the Max Bell Theatre, featuring an auditorium-style seating for 300 people, the Little Lecture Theatre, the Ondaatje Art Hall, the Alcan Seafront Common Room, an Education Resource Centre/Library and a Spiritual Centre.
Unique architectural features include a floating Marine Sciences Centre on the bay that contains a well-equipped seafront environmental systems lab and the Newton-Godin Observatory, a picturesque hilltop observatory that facilitates astronomy study and exploration of the night skies; the floating Marine Sciences centre which contains a well-equipped seafront environmental systems lab for students to conduct research above and below water at nearby Race Rocks Ecological Reserve.
On-campus recreational facilities include the Molson Pool, a 25m indoor pool and exercise room, outdoor tennis, basketball and volleyball courts, soccer field, student common room and extensive hiking and cycling trails emanating from the campus.
In the Classroom
Pearson College UWC offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) curriculum. Alongside standard courses, the College offers Philosophy, Marine Science, French, Spanish, Visual Arts and Theatre.
Outside the Classroom
Pearson College UWC currently offers over 30 activities within the categories of creativity, action and service. Students at Pearson College UWC participate in a variety of learning opportunities from the academic to the theatrical – like the annual stage production of “One World” – to outdoor wilderness adventures and service opportunities. Students are encouraged to take campus jobs with meaningful and measurable impact on the college’s operations.
At Pearson College UWC, students learn by doing, particularly through the Creativity, Action, Service (CAS) programme. Pearson has a particular focus on the outdoors in terms of activities that are ocean and land based – diving, kayaking and sailing, hiking, climbing, camping and cycling. The college is dedicated to sustainability with such projects as an off-shore lighthouse and ecological reserve.
Once per term, students plan, design and carry out individualized or small group projects. Students share international music, dance and stories of their homelands and their international experiences at the annual One World community event. They also run and participate in regular community events such as Global Affairs, Special Topic Days, Regional Days, Village Gatherings and can volunteer for the campus Emergency Response Team. Students are required to periodically work as kitchen team members and assist with recycling, library service and related campus jobs as part of their Village Service. Weekly student-led fitness programmes supplement daily fitness opportunities.
Pearson College UWC currently offers 32 activities within the categories of creativity, action and service. Students at Pearson College UWC participate in a variety of learning opportunities from the academic to the theatrical – like the annual stage production of “One World” – to outdoor wilderness adventures and service opportunities. Students are encouraged to take campus jobs with meaningful and measurable impact on the college’s operations.
Pearson is fortunate to have some of the best opportunities for outdoor activities on its door steps. in terms of activities that are ocean and land based – diving, kayaking and sailing, hiking, climbing, camping and cycling. The college is dedicated to sustainability and has such projects as an off-shore lighthouse and ecological reserve. It is also working on developing leadership in conflict transformation.
Learning also comes through the shared experience of living, learning and working together on campus. Village Gatherings, for example, bring all members of the community together to discuss ideas and issues relevant to campus which helps students learn conflict resolution and public speaking skills.
Pearson College UWC’s unique coastal location allows students to be taught outside with the wilderness and marine environment as a constant backdrop. By immersing students in the hands-on, practical elements of the subject, they gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the environment and course material. Race Rocks Marine Ecological Reserve, for which Pearson College UWC assumes stewardship, is not only home to a dynamic variety of wildlife but is also an innovative outdoor classroom where students learn from and ensure the sustainability of their surroundings. Every student rotates through kitchen service, house cleaning and village service duties and takes on a regular job (e.g. helping in the student store or being a campus fire-fighter.)
All students take a basic first aid course and expedition training. Some students enhance these skills through First Aid and wilderness First Aid service programs.
Additional activities include diving, social entrepreneurship and sustainable growth projects.
Each summer, the College brings together youth from around the world for the Pearson Seminar on Youth Leadership (PSYL): a three-week UWC experience that gives them the opportunity to build an international community committed to creating positive change in the world by taking risks in our learning and leadership.
Students apply through their UWC national committee. Exceptions to that are only within refugee or stateless populations and unique cases. For more information, visit: www.pearsoncollege.ca/p/?pgn=Apply&subpgn=HelloBienvenue&pn=HelloBienvenue
Meet some of the staff members here.
Meet the President of Pearson College UWC here. .