The CUFA BC Distinguished Academics Awards are the brainchild of former CUFA BC President Ehor Boyanowsky (1994-95), who wanted to create a means to demonstrate to the public the importance of the research and scholarly activity carried out by public university professors. As a result, in 1995 CUFA BC Council established the Academic of the Year Award to recognise a faculty member at a BC university who had distinguished themselves through their academic research or scholarly activity.
In 1998, CUFA BC Council adopted the proposal from President Jim Gaskell (1998-2000) to refine the awards by focussing on university research and scholarly activity that contributed to the non-academic community. Council also decided to add the Paz Buttedahl Career Achievement Award to recognise sustained contributions over the course of a career to the non-academic community through research and scholarly activity. The Paz Buttedahl Career Achievement Award was first awarded in 1999, at which point the two awards became known collectively as the CUFA BC Distinguished Academics Awards.
In 2009, CUFA BC council added a new award to the Distinguished Academics Awards roster in order to recognize the contributions to the non-academic community made by faculty members who are at an early point in their careers. Established with financial assistance from Scotiabank, the Early in Career Award recognizes outstanding contributions made by scholars at relatively early stages in their careers and was first awarded in 2010.
In 2014, on the twentieth anniversary of the awards, the Academic of the Year award was renamed the Ehor Boyanowsky Academic of the Year Award to recognize Ehor's dedication to supporting academic research and community interests.
Recipients of the CUFA BC Distinguished Academics Awards cover a wide range of fields and contributions to the non-academic community and include:
The ideas that flow out of our universities are the lifeblood of our economy, our political landscape, and our intellectual life. The CUFA BC Distinguished Academics Awards celebrate these ideas and demonstrate to the wider community the necessity and vitality of public university-based research and scholarly activity.