Grace Chan was a new immigrant to Victoria when she enrolled in first-year university transfer courses in 1970 at the Institute of Adult Studies (now the Lansdowne campus of Camosun College).
“I think I took all the courses they offered!” she says with a smile. When she started getting A+’s in all of her psychology courses – that’s when she knew she was on to something.
After a year and a half, Grace transferred to the University of Victoria (UVic) where she earned her Bachelor degree in Psychology in 1974. It was after graduating that she returned to the Lansdowne campus. This time, to work as an Instructional Assistant in the Psychology department at the newly formed Camosun College.
As her position evolved over the years, Grace found herself drawn to developmental and experimental psychology. In the 1990s Grace returned to UVic to take part-time graduate studies while she continued to work part-time and take care of her family. Her two sons attended the Camosun day care while she worked and studied.
In 1999 Grace completed her M.A. and became an instructor in the Psychology department, a position she enjoyed for the next 21 years.
Grace was always well-liked and described as “kind and patient” by many of her students.
Over her amazing 46 years of service, the longest anyone has served at Camosun, Grace was dedicated to student success and gave back to the college which had become like a family or a “second home” to her.
Grace recently retired from the college in January 2021, but her positive, lasting impact on Camosun and on her students remains.
She helped develop the first-ever psychology experiment lab curriculum for the department at Lansdowne, and each year she funds the Excellence in Psychology Award, through the Camosun Foundation, presented to the college’s top psychology student.
“My Camosun experience is my Canadian experience,” Grace says proudly. “Camosun is a place of opportunities. It is a place that fosters personal growth in an academic setting. I know. I personally experienced it.”