UCalgary students

April 20, 2023

Giving Day across campus, Part 1

What do veterinary care, accessible education and Sikh studies have in common? The answer may surprise you! (Spoiler: they’re all supported by Giving Day donors)

Each year, thousands of alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends of the university come together on Giving Day to help make the extraordinary possible — by funding innovative projects, critical research, game-changing student awards and other exciting initiatives at UCalgary.

This Giving Day, Dan Allard, BComm’09, took it a step further, visiting us recently to pitch in around campus. Here’s how he fared with our Dinos women’s hockey team:

There’s an easier way to help, of course, which is by making a gift during UCalgary Giving Day. No matter the size, it will make a big difference!

Here are just a few of the funds being promoted this year — and how some of your UCalgary colleagues are getting involved. 


veterinary students

Keeping fur babies happy and healthy

Faculty of Veterinary Medicine

Over eight days in March, more than 300 dogs and cats in the Stoney Nakoda community benefited from the care and expertise of UCVM faculty, staff, alumni and volunteers as they examined animals at the Chief Goodstoney Rodeo Centre.

“A lot of community consultation occurred prior to this first clinic event,” says organizer Dr. Tessa Baker, DVM, DACVPM, who is a UCalgary postdoctoral scholar. “It was important for us to understand what barriers community members face in accessing care so that we could offer the preventive veterinary care clinic in the most appropriate way. Like giving clients the option of doing a house call for animals that are difficult to transport into a physical clinic location, or supporting clients with a ride to the clinic location with their animals.”

The hope now is to provide preventive veterinary services twice a year to the community. This partnership with Stoney Nakoda Nation is one of the ways the UCVM Indigenous Initiatives Fund supports educational opportunities for UCalgary students and Indigenous youth, community clinics, Indigenous advisory councils, and walking parallel paths toward animal and ecosystem health.

“This fund will support building strong relationships between UCVM and Treaty 7 and Métis Region 3 communities, Indigenizing our curriculum to recognize different ways of knowing and doing, and creating pathways for Indigenous Youth into veterinary medicine and science careers,” says Dr. Mathieu Pruvot, PhD, DVM, an assistant professor at UCalgary.

Sikh Studies’ growing momentum

Faculty of Arts

A resounding fundraising success during the Giving Days of 2021 and 2022, the Expanding Sikh Studies Endowment supports a program that is unique and popular — and still growing. 

UCalgary is one of the few institutions in the world that offers more than one introductory-level course that is “specifically, topically, thematically based around the Sikh tradition,” says Dr. Harjeet Grewal, PhD, who teaches the classes. 

Now Grewal is eager to boost Sikh Studies to the point where not only is a minor available, but the program can also run in perpetuity at UCalgary. In other words, become a sustainable ecosystem that fosters meaningful research, education, and community engagement for years to come. 

Amandeep Kaler — a 2021 UCalgary graduate with a degree in law and society, and a minor in political science — is the co-founder of the Sikh Alumni Chapter. And she remains devoted to fundraising and Sikh Studies. 

“I take immense pride. The program’s creation and expansion is the reason I return to the university,” says Kaler. “Having Sikh Studies allows people to learn about the Sikh religion, history, and belief systems. And simultaneously, it also provides Sikh students with representation within the academic sphere. This representation helps create an academic realm that is more inclusive of and representative of the students that attend the institution. 

“Everyone at the university — faculty, Sikh students, non-Sikh students — benefits from the program's creation.”

Gagandeep Kaur Minhas EDII Scholarship

Education that’s accessible to all

Faculty of Kinesiology

A brand-new fund for Giving Day, the Gagandeep Kaur Minhas EDII (Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Indigenization) Scholarship aims to make post-secondary education at the Faculty of Kinesiology more accessible for Indigenous and racialized students.

The award — which helps to offset expenses related to the pursuit of post-secondary education — recognizes academic merit, community service and leadership.

“I think it’s really important,” says Dr. William Bridel, PhD, associate dean (academic) in the Faculty of Kinesiology. “We realize that it’s one step in the work that our faculty is doing and needs to continue to do in relation to decolonization and equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility. The scholarship is meant, in a small way, to help address some of the systemic barriers that racialized and Indigenous students face within post-secondary education, and even prior to that.”

Scholarship namesake Gagandeep Kaur Minhas, an alum of the faculty, is currently working toward a master’s degree at Queen’s University. Three years ago, Minhas and Bridel co-founded the faculty’s EDI committee.

“Gagan was really instrumental in helping to create the terms of reference,” says Bridel. “She also took a lead in creating undergrad discussion groups related to equity, diversity and inclusion, as well as the experience of Indigenous and racialized students in our faculty, which was then replicated at the graduate-student level.”

'Why I give'

We’re proud to count UCalgary faculty and staff among our Giving Day donor community, each with their own special reason for giving. Catherine Scheers, for example, gives annually to the Faculty of Arts in memory of someone close to her.

“Dr. Margo Husby was my dear friend, professor, honours thesis supervisor, and member of our sisterhood of 'Smart, Sexy Chicks,’” says Sheers, senior director of development with the Office of Advancement. “She encouraged me and many other mature students to enter and graduate university through UCalgary’s Weekend U. I would not be where I am in my career without her. Unfortunately, we lost this bright soul and role model a decade ago, but her legacy lives on through her family, friends, students and her bursary for mature students." 

I give annually to the Dr. Margo Husby Mature Student Bursary Endowment on Giving Day to empower other mature students to attend UCalgary. 

Jennifer Trofimuk, associate director of development with the Faculty of Arts and Libraries and Cultural Resources also gave to the faculty this year.

“I chose to give my support to the Siksika Archaeology Field School, which provides a huge learning opportunity for Indigenous students, to not only learn practical skills and training in the cultural resource management industry but also gives them a foundation for learning more about their own culture and language from elders and Siksika Traditional Knowledge Keepers while in the field," says Trofimuk.

"The more I learned about this opportunity to help garner support from the corporate community, the more I wanted to give personally as well."

UCalgary Giving Day is April 27. Whether you support student awards, critical research or any one of UCalgary’s innovative funds, your gift will help change lives and shape the future. All eligible gifts made from April 1-27 will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $2,500 per gift — but only while matching funds last. Make your gift today at ucalgary.ca/givingday.

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