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University of Victoria members of the executive and Vikes student-athletes, coaches and staff gathered for a special luncheon on Dec. 5 to announce the creation of the Vikes High-Performance fund in honour of Chancellor Emeritus Murray Farmer and his wife, Lynda. A generous gift from the Farmer’s has allowed for the establishment of The Fund, intended to provide important financial support to high-performance athletic initiatives that will benefit Vikes student-athletes in realizing their full potential while contributing to the university’s reputation of excellence.

“We are so impressed by Vikes Nation and the effort that all of you put in to this great University,” said Murray Farmer in his address at the luncheon announcement. “What you do forms in large part a face of UVic to the world out there.”

“Athletics is out and it is visible in the community perhaps more than any other department or faculty. It draws people in and helps to build a common, shared experience for participating athletes and spectators. Yet, in some instances in the academic community the importance in athletics and recreation is not always well understood. Lynda and I feel very strongly that athletics is not a frill. It’s a vital part of a complete education.”

The Vikes High-Performance fund will provide important annual investments that will ignite new levels of athletic performance.  It will inspire coaches to find creative solutions to improve their program and athlete performances.

“We have created a fund that will encourage coaches to come forward with innovative ideas to drive performance. These may be opportunities related but not limited to; recruiting, technology, international competition, coaching development and athlete development,” said Clint Hamilton, director of Vikes Athletics and Recreation, in his address at the luncheon. “The Fund will provide us more opportunity to make important investments in our students and teams and help support our goal of growing our tradition of high-performance athletic accomplishment. We are incredibly grateful to Lynda and Murray Farmer for their belief in the power of university athletics and their generous spirit in making our Vikes High-Performance Fund possible.”

Beginning this coming January, varsity coaches will submit annual applications requesting support from the fund. Anticipated initiatives will include support for international competition for student-athletes at events like the World University Games or World Championships, recruiting efforts, technology to enhance coaching, team competition and training opportunities and professional development.

“The values required to excel in varsity sports really sunk in to us,” said Murray Farmer, highlighting his experience attending Vikes events in the past such as the Vikes Honour Roll and Celebration of Champions. “It is after these celebration events that we saw dedication, discipline, team building, time management, respect for others, leadership but best of all an ability to look at others as individuals with varying backgrounds, needs, desires and goals and appreciate that you can work together with diverse individuals to achieve a higher goal and have fun doing it.”

“It’s clear that UVic has a remarkable tradition of athletic accomplishment. We know the drive to achieve this excellence as taught and encouraged by Vikes Nation is good for students and it’s good for UVic. That is why we support this initiative and it is our great honour to do so.”

The Farmer name is already closely tied to the Athletics and Recreation department as the pair currently title the Murry and Lynda Farmer Walk of Excellence, a key component of the Centre for Athletics, Recreation and Special Abilities (CARSA) and a tribute and celebration of past and present athletic excellence. The two-sided hallway showcases memorabilia, stories and the UVic Sports Hall of Fame in a visual and interactive way and is open to the public during regular building hours.

The support from Lynda and Murray Farmer is just the beginning of what is expected to be an important and growing fund to support the future of Vikes varsity athletes and teams.