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Western University Be Extraordinary The Campaign For Western

Canada's biggest student pledge enriches Canada's best student experience

by Krista Habermehl | January 30, 2008

Western presents biggest gift ever to local United Way
USC President Tom Stevenson, front left, Western President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Paul Davenport, and SOGS President Duane Jacques, along with a group of supportive students, celebrate the $101-million commitment by Western students to the University.

Western students announced January 24 the largest contribution ever from a student body to a Canadian university. The pledge to Western from the University Students’ Council (USC), the Society of Graduate Students (SOGS), and the Ivey MBA Student Association totals $101 million over the next 30 years. Of that amount, $29.3 million will count toward Western’s upcoming campaign.

“Western students benefit enormously from their time here. They care about Western and it is our students who make Western strong,” says USC President Tom Stevenson. “It only makes sense that students also play a major role in the fundraising that helps improve the quality of education and allows Western to provide Canada’s best student experience.”

The gift will support the new Western Sports and Recreation Centre ($86.2 million over the next 30 years), and undergraduate and graduate student bursaries ($14.8 million between now and 2018).

Through the Ontario Trust for Student Support (OTSS) program, which provides matching funds for student awards, the student contribution of $14.8 million will double, providing over 650 bursaries annually, with an average value of $2,000.

President Paul Davenport says the students’ contribution will give Western’s upcoming campaign an enormous boost. “This unsurpassed contribution will provide tremendous momentum to what will be Western’s largest fundraising campaign ever and will serve as a wonderful inspiration for other donors,” he says.

“We will have one of the finest recreation facilities of any university in the country thanks to the students’ support, building on the outstanding student experience we provide at Western. I am also delighted that our students recognize the need to assist those students who have difficulty in funding their education by supporting bursaries. This is an extraordinary contribution.”

The new Western Sports and Recreation Centre is midway through the construction process and is expected to open this fall.

The Centre, which features a 20,000-square-foot fitness facility linked to the Thompson Arena, will enhance life on campus for students, faculty and staff, and will also help attract future students to Western. More than 90,000 people a year use existing campus recreation facilities and the new centre is expected to attract substantially more.

This article appeared in the Winter 2008 edition of Impact Western
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