May 30, 2017

Gift creates lasting legacy

UCalgary alumna Arlene Bourassa, BEd'69, gives back — now and for the future through a legacy gift to support paediatric oncology research at the Faculty of Nursing

A legacy gift can be a meaningful way to contribute to the future of the University of Calgary.

It is an expression of your life — a way to be remembered. For the last 50 years, an extraordinary community of donors has given more than $40 million to UCalgary through legacy gifts. These gifts have funded scholarships and bursaries, contributed to life-changing research and have helped build innovative teaching and learning spaces on our campus.

Arlene Bourassa is one alumna who has decided to give now – and in the future.

Arlene Bourassa and husband Bruce Newton pose with canine companions, Sarge and Willow in Kamloops.

Arlene Bourassa and husband Bruce Newton pose with canine companions, Sarge and Willow in Kamloops.

“My dad was a successful Alberta farmer who was a very generous man, and his propensity towards his many charities led to my interest in philanthropy,” says Bourassa, a 1969 BEd graduate, who now lives outside of Kamloops.

“Over the years, I taught kids whose families were enduring the heartache and struggle of childhood cancer – it was such a hardship on them. I got to thinking about what works – what kind of help is given to the whole family and I was concerned there wasn’t enough focus on that part. So I did some research and found that the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Nursing was working on this issue.”

After a trip to Calgary clinched her resolve, Bourassa decided to leave a legacy gift in her will to support the burgeoning area of paediatric oncology research at the Faculty of Nursing.

“Then I started thinking ‘well, that’s no fun – what I can do now?’” she says with a laugh. The result is a $5,000 scholarship each year for the next 20 years for a graduate student working in the area of paediatric oncology.

“It’s set up, it has happened, it’s real and I feel so good about it," she says.  “It is wonderful that you can do something that makes you feel good about your life and has a benefit to others.”

The University of Calgary Legacy Society celebrates donors who want to make a difference beyond their lifetime and leave their mark for future generations.

On June 22, the Faculty of Nursing is hosting a Donor Appreciation Evening at Hotel Alma to celebrate extraordinary philanthropic support for nursing students.