April 11, 2022

Giving Day comes full circle for UCalgary donor and alumna

Annual fundraiser kicks off today, creating life-changing opportunities for students
UCalgary Giving Day

When Kate Wong, BN’12, made her gift ahead of the University of Calgary’s first-ever Giving Day in 2017, she did so with the idea of paying it forward — giving future students the same kind of help she received as an undergrad. 

Five years later, Giving Day has come full circle for Wong, who is currently earning her PhD in nursing with the support of the same scholarship she helped fund.

“It’s an amazing thing,” says Wong, who returned to UCalgary for her master’s in nursing in 2019 and was subsequently fast-tracked to doctoral studies.

I don't think donors often get to come back and receive the scholarship that they fundraised for. So, not only do I feel good about having donated and being able to help students, but I’m now the student who’s getting that support.

Kate Wong

Kate Wong, BN, RN

Giving Day was initially established to raise money for 50 new student awards in honour of UCalgary’s 50th anniversary. One of those awards was the Eyes High Doctoral Recruitment Scholarship, which helps UCalgary attract and retain high-achieving students — elevating not only the university, but also the city and province. 

It was during her undergraduate that Wong, who was awarded the four-year scholarship in 2020, discovered a passion for pediatric nursing and a deep appreciation for the unique palliative needs of critically ill children and their families. Today, as she completes her doctoral program, she works with the Alberta Children’s Hospital’s hospice and palliative care service at the Rotary Flames House. And, thanks to the scholarship, she can devote time to her thesis work — researching the experiences of children with serious illnesses. It is work that will inform evolving pediatric palliative care best practices. 

“It's just such a special place to work, and I never would've heard of it if it weren't for the palliative care course that I took at UCalgary, and the nurse who came to talk to our class about pediatric palliative care,” says Wong, who was the Rotary Flames House’s first practicum student and first new graduate nurse. “In fact, I was recently able to do a guest lecture with that nurse for the same palliative care class. Maybe something I share about my work will inspire a nursing student to work in pediatric palliative care in the same way that I was inspired to 10 years ago.”

Kate Wong

Kate Wong conducting COVID screening at Rotary Flames House

It was another full-circle moment for Wong, and another demonstration of the ripple effect of giving. Now in its sixth year, UCalgary Giving Day continues to build on that momentum, creating more life-changing experiences for students — and more opportunities for them to change the world around them.

This month, the UCalgary community will come together to create that change by funding the causes closest to their hearts, including research, student awards, athletics, and state-of-the-art teaching and learning spaces. All eligible donations made between now and Giving Day on April 21 will be matched by the university, dollar for dollar, up to $2,500 per gift — but only while matching funds last, so donors are encouraged to make their gifts early. 

This Giving Day also presents a special opportunity for alumni who wish to support students in need of emergency assistance. All UCalgary alumni donations to the Students’ Greatest Needs Fund will not only be eligible for the standard Giving Day match, but they will be matched again by the University of Calgary Alumni Association (UCAA).

Wong will be among those participating in Giving Day 2022. As UCAA’s vice-president and vice-chair, she’s a passionate supporter of her alma mater and the next generation of UCalgary alumni. And for good reason, she says: “UCalgary and its graduates make the world a better place.” 

UCalgary Giving Day returns April 21. 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 between now and April 21 will be matched up to $2,500 per gift, while matching funds last. Make your gift today at ucalgary.ca/givingday.