Woman and a man in convocation caps and gowns
The first Richard and Lois Haskayne Legacy Scholarship recipient, Emily Chen, hugs Dick Haskayne at convocation. Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

June 21, 2024

Philanthropy at UCalgary: The stories behind the numbers

Donors gave more than $167 million to the university in 2023-24

The University of Calgary is a centre of innovation and excellence, driven by the generosity of our philanthropic community. Last year, nearly 5,600 supporters collectively gave more than $167 million to advance research, open doors for students, empower educators and support our mission as a bold changemaker.

Looking back on the 2023-24 fiscal year, we celebrate new gifts that are set to create opportunities and unlock new discoveries, as well as milestones and achievements made possible by past acts of philanthropy.

Expanding groundbreaking cancer treatment

A $25-million gift from the Riddell family to the OWN.CANCER campaign established the Riddell Centre for Cancer Immunotherapy at the Cumming School of Medicine, which will support the rapid development of safe and effective precision cell and immune therapies — making it one of the first in Canada to trial this approach. The centre will also be home to a biomanufacturing program, creating employment and efficiencies that will both speed up access for patients and create cost savings for the health-care system.

man in a lab coat looks into a microscope while a woman in a lab coat looks on

Riddell Centre Director, Dr. Douglas Mahoney, PhD examines a sample under a microscope in the Charbonneau Cancer Institute with PhD candidate and trainee, Shannon Snelling.

“The Riddell Centre for Cancer Immunotherapy will be a big part of Calgary's economic story through its made-in-Alberta approach to biomanufacturing new cellular and immunotherapies.”

Ed McCauley, President and Vice-Chancellor

Also new in the cancer research realm — and made possible with philanthropic support — is an innovative approach to help kids and families stay active during cancer care and a new understanding of how multiple myeloma cells become resistant to immunotherapy.

Fostering entrepreneurial thinking in students

UCalgary is proud to be Canada’s entrepreneurial university and to foster that spirit among students across all disciplines. The Cannon Lachapelle Award, established in 2019 with a gift from UCalgary president emerita Dr. M. Elizabeth Cannon and Dr. Gérard Lachapelle, awards $10,000 each to four undergraduate students annually. The newest recipients demonstrate exceptional dedication to entrepreneurial thinking, innovation and creativity.

“Entrepreneurial thinking is very important because it allows us to create innovations that will drive our future.”

Ronaar Qureshi, Cannon Lachapelle Award recipient

Bringing the best and brightest to UCalgary

Philanthropically supported student awards help attract top talent to campus, bolstering the university and community. The Schulich Leaders Scholarship, created in 2012 by Seymour Schulich and one of Canada’s most prestigious awards, brought another six outstanding science and engineering students to UCalgary this year. Meanwhile, the new Kennedy Scholars Program welcomed its first cohort of students who will study science and business.

“I love technology. I've always been fascinated by how things work. But I also love to persuade people. That's why my dream is to connect the fields of business and computer science.”

Tanisha Mattapalli, Kennedy Scholarship recipient

portrait photos of a young man and a young woman

Kennedy Scholarship recipients Samuel Ergando and Tanisha Mattapalli

And as we bring these exceptional students into the campus community, we send others onward to promising careers. The Richard and Lois Haskayne Scholarship, established four years ago, had its first graduate in 2023.

“What eventually made me choose Haskayne was both the scholarship and the Haskayne School of Business's uniquely strong connections to the Calgary community, especially downtown. I felt that close-knit culture, and because I wanted to be in Calgary, I thought it would be the best place to develop.”

Emily Chen, BComm'23, Richard and Lois Haskayne Scholarship recipient

Creating momentum with community giving

Year after year, Giving Day brings together hundreds to support research, student awards, teaching and learning, and more — with gifts that can go twice as far thanks to matching dollars. Some community members go a step further to champion funds, offering additional gift-matching that effectively triples the impact of gifts — community members like Rick and Ingrid Green who matched gifts to the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory Development fund in honour of their late daughter Kaylie, BSc’13, who loved spending time at the facility.

All told, nearly 2,400 UCalgary alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends came together this past April to raise more than $2.34 million, making the annual fundraising blitz one of the university’s best yet.

“Giving Day is a massive help. To offer something that is relatively easy to put together, relatively quick to administer, it really helps students feel that the university supports them.”

Megan MacKay, BSW'19, Student Wellness Services

Driving world-class kinesiology research

Already a top school in North America, the University of Calgary is set to become a global leader in the study of human performance, movement and sport science with the announcement of the Taylor Family Kinesiology Building — a state-of-the-art, multidisciplinary research facility that will attract top talent to spark revolutionary advancements in exercise physiology, neuroscience, nutrition and more. The building is made possible with a $20-million gift from the Taylor Family Foundation, a long-standing supporter with more than $100 million invested in health, education, history and the arts at UCalgary.

“I've always believed in supporting the University of Calgary. Post-secondary institutions are one of the most important anchors to have in any community.”

Don Taylor, Hon. LLD'07

man with a laptop studies another man wearing motion-capture sensors

Dr. Bill Wannop, PhD, explores human movement through motion capture at the Faculty of Kinesiology's Human Performance Lab.

Marnie Jazwicki, University of Calgary

Advancing inclusion of women and Indigenous students at UCalgary

A $2-million gift from Cenovus Energy is giving a boost to several UCalgary initiatives that uniquely focus on improving Indigenous access to university; preparing women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) for leadership roles; and investing in research initiatives that identify barriers and provide opportunities.

“By recognizing diversity as a fundamental asset to innovation and the generation of different perspectives, the (Program for Undergraduate Research Experience) is cultivating an overall richer experience for UCalgary students.”

Jasmine El-Hacha, Pogram for Undergraduate Research Experience (PURE) Award recipient

Funding high-risk, high-reward chronic disease research

A $1-million gift from the McKay Family Foundation is helping launch bold new research at the Calvin, Phoebe and Joan Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases. The new Snyder Institute Catalyst Grant Program offers $250,000 annually to support innovative projects, particularly those with potential to attract further government funding, with the goal of discovering new treatments for chronic diseases.

“We want to help people who are doing something important but need adequate funding to make it happen -- someone working really hard with really great ideas but minimal support or interest from government funders, because it's so new.”

McKay Family Foundation

three women in lab coats work in a research lab

Researchers at the Human Organoid Innovation Hub (HOIH) grow and study miniature organs grown from stem cells in a dish.

Bruce Perrault, Cumming School of Medicine.

Philanthropy at the University of Calgary drives groundbreaking research, exceptional student experiences, and positive change on our campus, in the community and around the world. Discover the transformational impact of giving to UCalgary.