In 2001, the University of Lethbridge began the Legacy of Leadership Campaign – the most ambitious campaign in the University’s 40-year history.
Seven years later, we are celebrating the astounding success of the campaign and recognizing the nearly 5,000 individuals and organizations who stepped forward to provide an extraordinary outpouring of support. This generosity has enabled us to far exceed initial campaign goals and achieve the priorities to increase student support and provide resources for state-of-the-art facilities, including a centre for health and wellness and a building to house the Faculty of Management and School of Health Sciences.
Through the Legacy of Leadership Campaign, the U of L has fulfilled commitments to build partnerships, create brighter futures and develop a strong community of support. The University marked the conclusion of the campaign on Dec. 31, 2007, and on Feb. 7, 2008, thanked the people who made it possible. With more than $35 million raised, the initial goal to raise $20 million was far exceeded. The success we have seen would not be possible without you – our donors – a dedicated group of people who believe in the University of Lethbridge, our students and our potential. We take great pride in a legacy that is just beginning and will have impacts that extend to future generations.
The University of Lethbridge has always placed students at the heart of everything we do. Increasing support for the more than 8,100 students attending the U of L was an important aspect of the Legacy of Leadership Campaign. U of L supporters helped to establish 136 new scholarships and awards, providing students with opportunities that otherwise may have been out of their reach simply because of limited financial means.
As part of the campaign, the U of L established Supporting Our Students, an internal annual program to raise money for bursaries and scholarships. As a result, the University family – faculty, staff, retirees, Board of Governors and Senate members – contributed to meet specific student needs. Alumni also demonstrated an unprecedented commitment, and many reconnected by giving back to the institution that gave them their start. Members of the University community have shown that when it comes to supporting students, they are the first to step forward.
At the turn of the century, the University’s growing enrolment figures indicated an urgent need for expanded athletic and recreational facilities. The Physical Education Building, originally constructed in 1972, was intended to accommodate 3,500 students. With a student population that had more than doubled, a campaign priority was set to move forward and meet the needs of a growing campus.
Thanks to a $2.5 million donation from the student body, an anonymous donation of $184,000 facilitated through the Lethbridge Community Foundation, a $5.3 million contribution from the City of Lethbridge and a naming sponsorship agreement of $2.25 million from 1st Choice Savings and Credit Union Ltd., the dream for a new centre is now a reality.
On Feb. 8, 2007, more than 2,000 people celebrated the grand opening of the 1st Choice Savings Centre for Sport and Wellness at the launch of the U of L’s 40th anniversary celebrations. Today, the University boasts a vibrant state-of-the-art facility that enhances fitness and recreation services in the community; benefits students and athletes; and advances kinesiology-related research. Equipped with an indoor track, a triple gymnasium with seating for 2,000 spectators, expanded locker rooms and a climbing wall, the centre is helping to meet the health and wellness needs of both the community and the University.
There is a growing sense that the Legacy of Leadership Campaign has created a new era of success and achievement at the University of Lethbridge. By creating a fundraising structure with a variety of innovative and efficient giving options, the U of L has become more flexible in meeting the individual needs of donors. This is evident in the diverse group of people who support the U of L – from organizations to foundations to students. Our growth can be measured in a variety of ways, including the more than 3,100 donors who contributed to the U of L for the first time during the campaign.
Our growth is also evident in the significant increase that the U of L has witnessed in endowment funds. As part of our commitment to meet donor needs, a formalized planned giving program and advisory committee were established. This is helping to ensure that the necessary support is in place not only for the needs we have today, but also for those that will arise in the future. The Legacy of Leadership Campaign enabled the University to connect with donors by matching their unique passions, values and goals with giving opportunities. The support that has resulted is diverse and has touched virtually every area at the U of L from research needs to Aboriginal programs to the fine arts. The greatest example of this was seen with the transformational gift from the late Dr. John Prentice (LLD ’06) and his wife Connie. The University was honoured to receive $8.25 million from the Prentice family to address concerns regarding global population changes, demographics and economic factors.
With one of the fastest-growing post-secondary populations in the country, building a facility to house the Faculty of Management and School of Health Sciences was necessary to accommodate and maintain growth. The University also recognized the importance of contributing to the needs of a shifting economy and a changing province by increasing the number of management and health-care professionals. In 2005, Chairman of Canadian Natural Resources Limited Dr. Allan Markin (LLD ’06) made a visionary gift towards this capital project. Early private funding and support from national corporations, U of L friends and alumni, helped to recently secure $50 million from the Government of Alberta to build Markin Hall. The four-level facility will allow the University to provide access to more than 400 health sciences students and more than 1,600 management students by 2010. The collaborative environment will enable the development of energetic, effective and strategic leaders prepared to meet today’s health and management challenges.