Gymnasium named in honor of Henry Champ

Brandon University President Dr. Deborah Poff at the entrance of the Henry Champ Gymnasium at the Healthy Living Centre on May 2, 2013. (Holly Kalyniuk / The Quill)

On May 2nd, Brandon University’s Healthy Living Centre Gymnasium was named in honor of Brandon journalist and BU Chancellor Henry Champ.

BU President Dr. Deborah Poff officiated, beginning the ceremony alongside Champ’s wife, Karen, by revealing a descriptive plaque and photo of him, both of which are permanently mounted to the wall alongside the doors to the freshly named Henry Champ Gymnasium. After BU faculty, deans, students, friends of Champ, and news correspondents filed into the gym for the first time, Champ’s friend Dick McDonald and his wife each took the podium and shared a little bit about his life with those gathered.

Calling him a proud Canadian, the guest speakers described Champ’s love for athletics at all levels, everything from little league to professional. When appointed Chancellor of BU for a 3-year term in 2008, Champ demonstrated notable dedication to recruiting young and talented individuals for BU sports teams and music programs, traveling to every high school within a 50-mile radius of Washington, recounted Karen Champ.

A portrait of Champ in his chancellor robes was also unveiled, with Poff recalling Henry joking around about the multi-functionality of his “bath robe.”

The gymnasium originally opened in 1965, and the major modifications to the premises included the removal of wooden benches, as well as the elimination of the upper level balcony area.

Born in Brandon and a student of BU, Champ got his first job as a journalist in 1960 as a sportswriter for the Brandon Sun, later working for CTV News, NBC News, CBC Television and CBC Newsworld.