The former president and CEO at Northern Lights College has passed away.
Dr. Bryn Kulmatycki formally announced in February that he was stepping down from both roles due to health concerns.
The college issued the following statement Thursday afternoon:
"It is with a heavy heart that Northern Lights College announces the passing of former president, Dr. M. Bryn Kulmatycki. Bryn passed away in St. Albert, Alberta in the early morning hours of Thursday, April 7.
"Bryn became the president of NLC in April 2015 and had a passion for making the college a pivotal part of the community. For the next seven years, he worked tirelessly to partner with government and industry and was often heard to remark with pride at NLC’s growing role in the region.
"At the time of his retirement this January, Bryn had already been battling cancer for several months. He stepped away from his position to tend to his health and to spend time with his family – his wife, Shirley; his children, Ian, Preston, and Tracy (McLellan); and his grandchildren. They were by his side throughout his final days, and were with him when he passed into his final rest.
"All who knew Bryn loved him and will miss him, but most especially those at NLC who grieve his loss. The college is flying their flags at half-mast in his honour and is planning a memorial service in the coming weeks."
Vice-president Todd Bondaroff had been appointed as acting president upon Kulmatycki's retirement announcement, and remains in that position.
Messages of condolences are coming in to Alaska Highway News.
"Bryn was a great guy and did a lot for post-secondary education in Northern BC," said Peace River North MLA Dan Davies. "His work at Northern Lights College will be long remembered, from his work on getting the nursing program to expansion in trades training. He was always fighting for the North. I got to know Bryn well over these past years. He will be missed."
"Really sad to hear the news. We knew he wasn't doing well but a huge loss for Northern Lights College and the community," said Peace River South MLA Mike Bernier. "Bryn was such a strong advocate to work with me to build the trades centre. Numerous times he came down and met with me in Victoria, worked with the premier. That trades centre wouldn't have happened without his extra efforts, for sure."
"He was true gentleman," said Dawson Creek mayor Dale Bumstead in remembering Kulmatycki. "You think of some of the programs that have come and the success of them. The international students program, the trades training centre and the RN, LPN, and home support programs, and on and on. Our college is stronger today and I fully credit Bryn's leadership with bringing that success to our region."
Those same sentiments were shared by Fort St. John mayor Lori Ackerman.
"Bryn really connected with the community and was always a pleasure to speak with when discussing how the community and college could work together."
"He always thought outside of the box," added Ackerman. "That is a vital and welcomed skill these days. We send our condolences to his family and colleagues. He will be missed."