Goals achieved! Shine: The Campaign for the University of Lethbridge concludes by recognizing donors

What began as a bold and audacious plan has culminated as a rousing success, changing forever the economic, social and cultural fabric of southern Alberta and laying the foundation for future growth and prosperity in years to come.

Whether speaking about the establishment of the University of Lethbridge nearly 55 years ago or the conclusion of the University’s largest-ever fundraising campaign, the similarities are undeniable. This week, Shine: The Campaign for the University of Lethbridge comes to a close, having realized its broad goals of raising greater than $100 million and engaging more than 20,000 U of L alumni.

“So much of this campaign reflected how the University was originally established in 1967. It involved many people who were committed to thinking big and aiming high, who weren’t afraid to push beyond anything that had ever been done before in southern Alberta,” says Dr. Mike Mahon, U of L president and vice-chancellor. “What allowed us to do this was an unwavering confidence in the University, its people, its programs and the opportunities we provide to our students and how we impact our communities, locally and beyond.”

Mahon says there was never a doubt support would come from southern Alberta, from corporations big and small and from an ever-growing, strong and proud alumni base.

“The University has always been fortunate to have the support of many donors, whether that support is financial, through gifts of time and mentorship or advocacy,” he says. “Our strategic goals are deeply entwined with the dreams and aspirations of the communities we serve. When we launched the campaign and coined the phrase, “Together, we shine brighter,” it was a sincere reflection of what we know and experience daily.”

In all, the University raised greater than $103 million through the support of 11,000 unique donors, 6,500 of which were new donors to the U of L. The greatest benefactor of the campaign — U of L students.

U of L Vice-President (Development and Alumni Relations), Kathy Greenwood, says the campaign highlights the broad support the University receives from its donors and how southern Albertans are connected to and invested in the continued success of our future leaders.

“Of the Shine campaign’s four pillars, Illuminating Opportunities, which supported the student experience through scholarships, fellowships, athletics and more, realized $46 million,” says Greenwood. “This speaks to our donors recognizing how important students are to our community today and for our collective future as a society.”

Shine also supported academic programming, research initiatives and community connectivity. Its highlights were many, and included the historic Mastercard Foundation donation designed to enable Indigenous youth to achieve their goals and become leaders in their communities; the renaming of the Dhillon School of Business thanks to a transformational gift from Dr. Bob Dhillon; construction of the new Iikaisskini Gathering Place, made possible thanks to the Government of Canada’s Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program and an investment from TD Bank Financial Group; the opening of Science Commons, the most advanced facility for science research and education in the country. Friends and donors also came together for students at the onset of the pandemic, providing a lifeline of support through the Emergency Student Bursary.

“Thank you to everyone who supported this campaign, your gifts have not only made a difference today but created a legacy that will improve life for generations to come,” adds Mahon. “As much as the formal campaign is now over, the next chapter of our work is just beginning. I’m confident we will continue to do that work together as we make southern Alberta a brighter, more vibrant and prosperous place for everyone.”

The U of L invites the public to learn more about the impact donor funding has on the University throughout the week at various pop-up donor display locations on campus:

Tuesday, November 23
11 a.m. to 12 p.m. – Science Commons
Hosts: Dr. Matthew Letts, Faculty of Arts & Science Dean; Dr. Mike Mahon, President & Vice-Chancellor

2 to 3 p.m. – 1st Choice Savings Centre
Hosts: Pronghorn Athletics

Wednesday, November 24
10 to 11 a.m. – UHall Atrium
Hosts: Iikaisskini and Mastercard teams

1 to 2 p.m. – Dr. Margaret (Marmie) Perkins Hess Gallery
Hosts: ULAG

Thursday, November 25
11 a.m. to 12 p.m. – Markin Hall
Host: Dr. Kerry Godrey, Dhillon School of Business Dean

12 to 1 p.m. – Students’ Union
Hosts: PACT (Philanthropy, Alumni, Community, and Traditions) student club, ULSU (University of Lethbridge Students Union), GSA (Graduate Students’ Association)

As well, visit the Shine website for a look at donor impact stories.