Aerial view of VIU campus

Emil Sorensen Legacy Fund

Emil Sorensen

“I absolutely love this trade. It’s so satisfying to show somebody something you’ve done. If I can give [the students] a little bit of my knowledge, then maybe they don’t have to go digging for it later. What I get paid in is thank you’s and you can’t buy that – it’s so precious.”

Emil Sorensen was one of VIU's first Trades instructors, and worked with students for 28 years beginning in 1964. Originally from Denmark, Sorensen went through the Danish apprenticeship system, so he wanted to get involved and share with others what he had learned in that system.

After he retired in 1992, he began volunteering with VIU's Heavy Mechanical Trades program. Every morning, the nonagenarian would ride his electric bike to VIU to help students with their projects and training.

Emil was a prolific volunteer outside of VIU too, working with organizations like the Mid-Island Vintage Tractor and Equipment Club and the Salvation Army, and organizing dinners for single seniors to break the social isolation and foster new friendships. He won the Extraordinary Senior Award in 2018 – a provincewide award started by Retirement Concepts in conjunction with the Pacific National Exhibition and the BC Alzheimer’s Society. 

In December 2017, VIU students and faulty threw him a 90th birthday party. More than 100 students and faculty attended, showing their appreciation for his work and friendship. Carrying on his legacy of giving, his friends and family are creating a student scholarship in his memory for Trades students. 

Thank you so much for listening to Emil's story, and if you are able to contribute to his award, we appreciate your generosity.

VIU Foundation | 250.740.6617

Charitable Registration 88733 3482 RR0001