May 21, 2019Print | PDF
Good evening everyone and welcome to this special event.
This is one of my favourite evenings of the year, because it’s our chance to recognize and celebrate the remarkable generosity of our Laurier donors.
It is because of you that Laurier students can continue their studies no matter their financial circumstances.
Thanks to you, in the last 12 months, we have raised millions to support Laurier, including more than $2-million to support students through scholarships, awards, and bursaries.
This past academic year, almost 1,500 students have received donor-supported financial aid totalling more than $3.3 million.
I want to share with you a note from just one student who has been touched by this support. In her thank you letter to a donor, she writes:
“Recipients breathe a sigh of relief and cry happy tears when Student Awards sends us an email telling us we’ve earned [an award]. Donations like this make students so happy and I promise to pay it forward once I have the money to do so.”
Clearly, your donations do more than just help students through their financial struggles. Your generosity inspires the next generation to support the students who will come behind them.
It is truly a ripple effect of good will.
But that’s not all.
Your support also enables us to re-imagine our campuses, creating beautiful new facilities that enhance academics, research and student life.
It was less than a year ago we celebrated the grand opening of the Laurier-Brantford YMCA.
This building was made possible through a number of remarkable partnerships and the generosity of so many.
Over the last semester, almost 1,800 individual students have used this new athletic centre.
And last week, we launched the Making Space for Music campaign with a special gala right here in Lazaridis Hall.
I know that some of you were here, supporting our next ambitious project, to transform our music building across the street.
Through this campaign, we will create more practice space for our music students and redesign the entranceway and lobby of the music building to house an airy atrium with a grand piano for impromptu concerts.
I want to thank you for the significant support we’ve already received for this campaign.
Together, we will give our students and faculty a music building fit for the talent that it houses.
I take great pride in our continued growth and development as a comprehensive university.
While we have grown in size and scope, we have maintained the caring and collegial spirit for which Laurier is renowned.
In January, as part of our strategic planning process to set priorities for the next five years, we engaged in consultations with our faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members.
What emerged were two distinct strategic themes: thriving community and future-readiness.
These form the foundation of our draft Laurier Strategy: 2019-2024.
And your support will ensure that we are able to fulfill our aspirations in these areas.
It is because of you that we are able to offer the best opportunities for our students that prepare them for anything the future may bring. Opportunities such as:
It is no wonder, that for the third time in a row, we were ranked No. 1 in Student Satisfaction in the comprehensive category in the Maclean’s University rankings.
Looking around at everyone here tonight, in this beautiful building, I know that we will be able to accomplish anything we set out to do – the evidence is right here!
Before I leave the podium, there are a few special guests I would like to recognize who truly inspire me with their generosity and community spirit.
First, I would like to acknowledge Mike and Hennie Stork, who are both Laurier alumni and over the years have not only provided financial support, but also shared generously of their time and expertise.
They are one of tonight’s recipients of the 2019 Philanthropy Award.
In one of the nomination letters for this award, the nominator says that Mike is the unsung hero of the Laurier startup scene.
Without Mike and Hennie’s vision and generosity, we would not have the unique and truly hands-on learning opportunity for students to experience real-world investing. In 2014, their generosity established the Laurier Startup Fund.
It is this kind of visionary philanthropy that ensures our university evolves to meet the changing needs of students and our community partners.
Thank you Mike and Hennie for your continued engagement with Laurier.
I would like to acknowledge Randy McGlynn who is also a recipient of the 2019 Philanthropy Award.
Randy is a proud alumnus who has remained engaged with Laurier since he graduated.
He is a generous donor who has also committed significant time to elevating the university through his work.
Randy is a past president of the WLU Alumni Association, a former member of the Board of Governors and sits on the Dean’s Advisory Council for the Lazaridis School.
When asked about Laurier, Randy commented that our university has an exceptional community and a knack for turning out leaders who make a difference.
Thank you Randy for your unwavering support of Laurier.
Mike, Hennie and Randy: It is truly inspiring to have people like you so engaged with the mission and vision of Laurier.
Indeed, everyone here is helping Laurier to inspire lives of leadership and purpose every day.
Thank you again for your continued support.
I would like to close with this thought, which was shared by one of our staff donors during the Community Campaign:
“Laurier is more than an institution, building, or academics. It’s a feeling, spirit and attitude that permeates all aspects of the lives of those who encounter it.”
Once again, thank you for joining us tonight and thank you for the ways that your giving helps to ensure Laurier is more than an institution.
Please enjoy the rest of your evening!