Adventures in philanthropy
Bill and Elsa Cade, 10 years of giving back
Actions speak louder than words – it’s an old adage and the message is repeated in numerous phrases such as “practice what you preach” and “put your money where your mouth is.” These sayings reflect the understanding that, at its very essence, philanthropy is personal and intimate, something that requires individual sacrifice.
Together, University of Lethbridge President Dr. Bill Cade and his wife, Elsa, are a living testament to this truth.
When they came to the University, Elsa expressed a desire to be part of the U of L team. Now, with 10 years of service coming to a close, it’s undeniable: these philanthropists believe in their cause.
As the presidential couple, Bill and Elsa have served as front-line fundraising ambassadors; encouraging community members, government officials, faculty, staff and even students to support the goals of the University. But what made their requests so powerful, and ultimately successful, was the example they set themselves.
“Bill and Elsa have been incredibly generous volunteers and donors at the University of Lethbridge and in their community,” says Dan Laplante (BMgt ’88), the president of CTE Ltd. and Chair of the U of L’s Legacy of Leadership Campaign, which wrapped up in 2007.
“Their support has been given quietly, but has not gone unnoticed by the many students, alumni, faculty, staff and community members who have seen the impact of this philanthropy. The Cades have inspired many to give back.”
To date, the couple has contributed more than $100,000 personally and supported initiatives as diverse as student awards, athletics and the library. This past spring, the Cades donated their long-loved BMW to the Students’ Union to be raffled off in support of student scholarships. Michael Nolan, as the car is affectionately named, illustrates the playful energy and enthusiasm characteristic of Bill and Elsa, who have always made students their priority.
Christine Michell is one such student who has benefited first-hand from the Cades’ generosity. As a recipient of the Bill Cade and Elsa Salazar Cade Scholarship in Evolutionary Ecology, Michell was able to move her interest in animal ecology from the classroom to the field.
“I’ve spent three summers doing field work in animal ecology,” explains Michell, who graduated in June with a combined degree in biology and education. “These were great experiences and they wouldn’t have been possible without the scholarship I received.”
In addition, as a fellow biologist, Michell is flattered to be funded specifically for her work in evolutionary ecology.
“It’s an honour to be recognized for my work in an area that’s obviously so important to Dr. Cade,” says Michell, who jokingly hopes the president isn’t too disappointed that she studies birds instead of insects.
Michell emphasizes that she admired Bill’s dedication to students throughout her time at the U of L.
“He’s been a visible presence on campus. As a biology student, I saw him in the department and at the seminar presentations for the students who work in his lab. He says hello in the halls and attends as many student events as he can,” says Michell, who admits his approach isn’t what she expected.
The Cades’ philanthropy is driven by the spirit of generosity that Michell describes. The role of the presidential couple is a busy one, but Bill and Elsa have graciously volunteered countless hours to both the University and the broader community, going above and beyond the call of duty to help.
No matter what the project or initiative, whether raising funds for a new building or a new student program, the Cades don’t just talk the talk, they walk the walk, creatively making their gifts and believing in the results of the support they provide.
• The endowment for the Bill Cade and Elsa Salazar Cade Scholarship in Evolutionary Ecology has reached close to $130,000, providing tangible opportunities for students like Christine Michell.
• Bill and Elsa have shown their Pronghorn Pride by sponsoring a male and a female athlete through the Adopt-a-Horn program each year. “The financial support Bill and Elsa have provided to athletics over the years is substantial,” says Executive Director of Sport and Recreation Services Sandy Slavin. “But more importantly, they’ve helped foster a sense of pride in Pronghorn athletics. Their enthusiasm for giving back is contagious, and they have encouraged many others to get involved.”
• In support of the recovery and disaster relief efforts underway in Haiti, Elsa encouraged the support of ShelterBox, a Rotary International campaign aimed at providing necessities in times of disaster. As a result of Elsa’s efforts, 130 ShelterBoxes, each worth $1,000 US, were purchased and sent to Haiti.
• The Cades’ BMW, Michael Nolan, made appearances on campus and brought in ticket sales from faculty, staff, students and community members. With matching money from the Government of Alberta’s Access to the Future Fund and an additional contribution from the U of L Board of Governors, the campaign raised more than $30,000 toward a student scholarship in honour of Bill and Elsa. As for Michael Nolan, the car found a new home with student winner Joshua Og.
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