The University of the Fraser Valley raised more than $245,000 at its Town and Gown fundraiser at its Abbotsford campus on Nov. 13.
The money goes toward scholarships, bursaries, and enhanced learning opportunities for students. Of the total raised, $100,000 will go toward a new Peace and Reconciliation Centre, and the remaining will fund new scholarships.
Several new donations were announced during the evening.
A total of 190 new $750 scholarships were pledged, including an $18,750 donation from UFV president Joanne MacLean and her partner Maureen Murphy that will be endowed to produce an annual scholarship in perpetuity.
Auguston Developments representative Donna Heath announced the donation of 20 scholarships on behalf of Auguston principal owners Allen and Angela Au.
Fran Vanderpol announced that the Oikodome Foundation, her family’s charitable organization, will be supporting the new Peace and Reconciliation Centre within the UFV College of Arts with a donation of $100,000.
Community guests mingled with UFV leadership and student ambassadors, who shared stories about how their UFV experience is changing their lives for the better.
UFV kinesiology student Aziz Ghafoor spoke about how the support of donor-funded scholarships and bursaries makes it possible for him to focus on his studies and his goal of being accepted into medical school.
“At times, my dream of med school seems impossible,” he said.
“Bursaries and scholarships tipped things in my favour. They changed my life. These are representations of your generosity. They have allowed me to pursue my academic goals and to completely focus on my studies and related extra-curricular activities.”
UFV honoured two alumni with its Distinguished Alumni and Young Distinguished Alumni awards.
Jesse Wegenast, who earned a bachelor of arts in geography in 2012, was named Young Distinguished Alumni for his wide-ranging and extensive community work.
Wegenast is a pastor with 5 and 2 Ministries and a resource person with Archway Community Services who serves as an intermediary for those who are unhoused, poor, mentally ill, aged, and struggling with addictions.
Sonya Sangster, a professional pilot and a leader in helping women in the international development field, was named the Distinguished Alumni.
Previous Distinguished Alumni award recipients were acknowledged at a reception prior to the Town and Gown dinner.
Anita Nielsen, executive director of advancement and alumni relations, announced the formal launch of the UFV Ripple Makers donor recognition society. To celebrate the launch, four inaugural recipients were presented with commemorative Ripple Makers paddles.
Paul Esposito Sr. received the first Lifetime paddle in recognition of a cumulative lifetime of giving. Last year, Esposito donated $1.125 million to UFV.
Parm and Satwinder Bains received the inaugural Loyalty paddle for donating to UFV for more than 15 years.
Nik and Marnie Venema received the inaugural Legacy paddle in recognition of their including of UFV in their estate plans.
And RBC, represented by Doug Turner and Jodi O’Hara, received the Donor of the Year paddle in recognition of a $300,000 donation to establish the Centre for Experiential and Career Education at UFV.