Investing in the future

- Megan Lowry

UVic surpassed fundraising goal by $3 million and increases the number of students supported by donors.

Finding out she received a scholarship is a moment Fiona Donnelly-Rheaume will never forget. “I was sitting in a coffee shop when I received the email,” Fiona recalls. “It was like a scene in a television show: my knees buckled, and I was overcome with shock and happiness.”

Fiona’s decision to pursue her bachelor’s degree at UVic was not an easy one. At the age of 48, returning to school meant living separately from her daughter and husband who was stationed on a military base in Yellowknife.

“Receiving donor support not only took some pressure off my family financially, but it meant someone saw promise in me and that made the decision much easier,” she says.

Fiona is one of 3,052 UVic students who received a donor-funded scholarship or bursary in 2018/2019.  

UVic surpassed its fundraising goal by $3 million this year, raising $18.9 million from 4,795 donors. The funds increased the number of students supported by donor-funding by 2 percent with 89 new awards.

“The Uvic community should all be extremely pleased that donors are willing to invest in our university at this level.  It is a clear indication of their confidence in the quality of research and creative pursuits of our faculty and the calibre of our students.” says Associate Vice President of Alumni and Development Tom Zsolnay.

Donor-funding not only helps students, 44 percent of the money raised this year funded programs, infrastructure and library resources.

“Donor investment in UVic is critical to the university’s ability to pursue excellence in research and teaching that has a meaningful impact on our world,” says Zsolnay. 

For Fiona, who graduates this spring, the support she received from donors is inspiring her to give back.  “I can’t say thank you enough,” she says. “I hope to use theatre as a learning tool to address social issues and build stronger communities.”


In this story

Keywords: philanthropy

People: Tom Zsolnay

Publication: The Ring

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