Community Connections | Inclusion, Indigenous Peoples, Immigrant Newcomers
Living Standards | Work, Education And Learning

Bow Valley College

We empower individuals to Learn a better living and Live a better life. Once learners begin a journey with us, there is no barrier they can't overcome and no limit to how high they can rise.

Our Story

Why We Exist

As a teenaged single parent without a high school diploma and living in subsidized housing, many things felt out of reach for Deanna Burgart.

Hopes and dreams were shelved, extinguished forever – she believed, by the demands of juggling multiple minimum wage jobs, just to keep her small family afloat. It didn’t help that Deanna’s self-confidence was at an all-time low.

But, her future was hardly predetermined. Inspired by a neighbor – a fellow single parent – who had decided to go back to school and was considering Bow Valley College (BVC) because of the financial supports for student-parents, Deanna enrolled in BVC’s academic upgrading program – step one to completing her high school diploma. Managing classes, daycare scheduling and studying with a toddler at home wasn’t easy, but compared to juggling jobs, for Deanna returning to learning was empowering!

She was a strong student and her results, and subsequent awards, boosted her self-confidence. Strength and perseverance also came from the encouragement and tutoring support of Deanna’s BVC instructors. Their unshakeable commitment to her success and belief in her, helped restore her belief in herself, and made her unstoppable.

Deanna followed up her BVC academic upgrading with a chemical engineering technology diploma from SAIT, then later, a chemical engineering degree from Lakehead University. So when she says that her return to learning cultivated a commitment to continuous learning, she means it.

Deanna’s life-changing academic journey also elevated her resiliency and resourcefulness – strengths that now, through the Indigenous Speakers Bureau and other mentoring platforms, she strives to help others develop, especially Aboriginal youth and women. In her words, “I am passionate about helping others find their passion; find their voice; and never give up!”

Bow Valley College helped Deanna Burgart re-ignite her hopes and dreams, believe in herself, and truly Learn a better living and Live a better life. Hear more of Deanna’s story, in her own words in this video.

Our Impact

What We Do

We are the shoulders for all to stand on – the ladder to reaching higher!

Serving Calgary and twenty surrounding communities, Bow Valley College is Alberta’s largest and fastest-growing community college where, in a uniquely nurturing environment, over 15,000 learners per year pursue certificate or diploma programs, upgrading and/or essential skills learning, to Learn a better living and Live a better life.

Our students – like our college – believe in the value of hard work, and are generally accustomed to doing more with less. That’s not a complaint – it’s more like a badge of honour.

BVC has a special focus on offering empowering jobs, and intercultural and soft skills training, for immigrants, Aboriginal peoples, international learners, persons with disabilities, older workers, at-risk youth, and the unemployed and underemployed. We also produce resilient economic citizens; financial literacy is a core learning outcome for all programs.

How BVC Helps Learners Rise

Need: “There has to be a better way for me to take care of myself and my family”

  • Solution: BVC focuses on making learners more employable, and ready to contribute on day one.
  • Result: Over 93% of BVC graduates secure work in their field of study, usually within six months! In general, graduates of diploma programs earn, on average, $15,900 more per year than learners who have not progressed beyond high school.

Need: “To learn on my own terms, from an institution that cares about me”

  • Solution: BVC is focused on the needs of the learner, not the institution. This includes providing flexible, accessible program options and helping learners overcome any type of barrier to their goals.
  • Result: BVC ‘s graduation rate is an exceptional 77%, among the highest of North American community colleges!

To learn more about how BVC helps learners rise, please visit:

“It’s never too late to be what you might have been” – George Eliot


BVC 2014-15 Annual Report – CEO and President Message Highlights: 

  • engage over 15,000 full- and part-time learners and equip vulnerable Albertans with the requisite skills to build better lives
  • developed program curricula to prepare career programs for launch as well as traditional, online, or blended delivery
  • completed its flood recovery with the reopening of West Campus; this campus emerged from a natural disaster as a modern and more functional building, providing both immediate and long-term value for the College

Our Programs

How We Do It

We believe that every single person has the right to become the best they can be!

In response to learner, industry and community demands, BVC’s career certificate and diploma programs focus on business, administration, health (nursing), human services, legal and enforcement (justice studies), early learning and education, and information, communication and design technologies.

Our foundational learning programs include adult literacy, essential skills, academic upgrading, and English as a second language.

BVC has a special focus on helping immigrants, Aboriginal peoples, international learners, persons with disabilities, older workers, at-risk youth, and the unemployed and underemployed Learn a better living and Live a better life. In fact, we have the third most diverse student population in Canada.

For a complete listing of BVC’s 70+ career programs and 900 courses, please visit:                 BVC Programs and Courses

Fast Facts

  • BVC is one of Canada’s most successful community colleges. Our graduation rate is a stellar 77% (many post-secondary institutions in Canada are in the 50% range). At 93%, our employment rate for grads also ranks highly.
  • BVC works closely with industry advisors to offer career programs and workplace skills that are most in-demand. To give our learners the most relevant training, we hire instructors with real-world experience in these in-demand professions. We also guide our learners to become confident, resilient, open-minded and collaborative team players.
  • Innovative learning is focused on the needs of the learner, not the institution. So, BVC offers flexible, accessible “any time, any place, any path, any pace” program delivery. We are the second highest provider of online learning in Alberta.

For more Bow Valley College Fast Facts, please go to: BVC Fast Facts

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”   Maya Angelou

Our Requests

What You Can Do

To empower individuals to Learn a better living & Live a better life – we need YOU!

Whether it’s a young single parent who needs academic upgrading to begin to better provide for her family; or a new Canadian who needs English language and intercultural skills training to re-launch her career in a new country; or a university graduate who finds that he needs more practical, applied skills training to land his dream job, once learners begin a journey with BVC, we do everything in our power to see that there’s no limit to how high they can rise.

But we need YOUR support to do this – our power comes from YOU.

We greatly appreciate donor contributions at all levels.  For example, our student awards range in value from $500 to $5,000 and above.  Donors like you also contribute to program and technology support at ranges from $5,000 to $50,000 per year.

Here are a few ways YOU can help BVC help learners rise:

Invest in:

  • 1000 Women Rising Initiative – Help female students overcome the barriers that often prevent them from returning to learning, completing post-secondary and achieving their educational goals. Watch Nancy’s story.
  • Aboriginal Learners – Provide financial aid, or invest in our Aboriginal Elders Program or our Iniikokaan Aboriginal Centre.
  • BVC Fund – Help BVC address our greatest needs, as well as emerging opportunities to help learners succeed.
  • Learning Technology Fund – Help supply learners with the devices that are such a core component of present-day learning.


  • Your Own Award – Establish your own scholarship or bursary to help learners who are navigating financial challenges, or to honour learners’ achievement or community service.
  • A Legacy Gift – Provide education and opportunity for learners through your estate. Please contact Ron Burke, Director, Fund Development to learn more here.
  • A Memorial Award – Establish a scholarship or bursary in memory of a family member or other special person.


  • To make a donation now, please click here: CanadaHelps – Bow Valley College
  • To make a pledge, please download the BVC Pledge Form under our CONNECT section.
  • To connect with a member of Bow Valley College’s Fund Development team, please click here: BVC Giving Team

Most importantly, we want to help you achieve your goals around philanthropy and transforming lives through learner success at Bow Valley College.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has” – Margaret Mead

Stay Connected


Ron Burke

Bow Valley College


Charitable Number: 878431683RR0001

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