2008 to 2010 Gifts Make a Difference

Read about some of the many things made possible by gifts from our community.



Donated paintings trace Athabasca's past

During their 20 years in Fort McMurray, Joyce and Peter Hunt accumulated an extensive collection of artwork reflecting Alberta's north. Today, thanks to their generosity, 20 of the paintings call Athabasca University home.

Some of the paintings feature the Athabasca River and its basin. The majority of the collection comprises works by E. Colin Williams, the first artist-in-residence at today's Keyano College.

"We felt this was a natural fit," says Hunt, referring to one of the paintings now on display at AU. "Athabasca Landing-now the town of Athabasca-was the jumping-off point for early entrepreneurs who travelled the Athabasca River and its treacherous rapids to ship their equipment north. Athabasca University is an innovative institution and its Athabasca River Basin Research Institute is focusing on what the river means to the community."

Peter Hunt worked with Great Canadian Oil Sands, now Suncor, while in Fort McMurray and has been in the oil and gas industry for 40 years. Joyce Hunt taught at Keyano College and has a keen interest in the history of the Athabasca area. Her history of the oil sands from 1870 to 1930 will be published in the fall of 2011.

Source: Open Nov 2010

At AU, giving begins at home

AU's board, executives, faculty and staff have put their money where their hearts are-donating more than $580,000 to AU.

"We're overwhelmed with the spirit of philanthropy that exists at AU," says Coy Beaton, senior institutional advancement officer. "We've proved that giving really does begin at home."

The Leadership Campaign, which began in 2008-2009 invited participation from AU's Governing Council and senior executives. The campaign raised more than $405,000 in gifts and pledges and set the foundation for AU's first institution-wide Family Campaign, which raised an additional $175,000, bringing the total in well above target.

Most of the funds raised will be dedicated to student awards and to research and academic activities, all high-priority areas for AU. The Family Campaign's success bodes especially well for students who qualify for AU's First in Family Student Awards.

"Almost 75 per cent of AU graduates are the first in their family to receive a degree," Beaton explains. "The Family Campaign will enable us to present at least 20 more First in Family Awards, valued at $1,000 each, over the next five years. These awards support students in their academic pursuits, recognize their achievements and encourage them to complete their degrees."

Source: The Insider, December 8, 2010

Scholarship creates a family legacy

In the late 1970s, Patrick Heffernan and his wife Patricia came to Alberta from Ontario.

Unsatisfied with his traditional university experience, Pat decided to fit an education at Athabasca University around his work as a stationary engineer with Imperial Oil and raising their two daughters. Sadly, Pat passed away suddenly at the age of 46 just a year after graduating with his Bachelor of General Studies.

Inspired by her late husband's accomplishments at AU, Patricia created a student award in his honour. Now in its fourteenth year, the Patrick Heffernan Memorial Scholarship is awarded to the student entering the second year of an undergraduate degree program with the highest GPA in AU courses. The scholarship has a value of $500.

As well as benefiting the recipient, this award is a significant means of remembrance for the Heffernan family. Patricia is particularly fond of sharing thank-notes from scholarship recipients with her children and grandchildren.

"This is an important tradition in our family," she says. "My grandchildren didn't get to meet (him), so this is how they get to know their grandfather."

Source: Open Fall 2008

AU's Charitable Registration Number: #10673 5830 RR0001