Launching Bold Ambitions

Already $170 million has been raised

- March 29, 2011

Chair of the Board Jim Spatz addresses the crowd at the launch for Bold Ambitions. (Danny Abriel Photo)
Chair of the Board Jim Spatz addresses the crowd at the launch for Bold Ambitions. (Danny Abriel Photo)

Dalhousie’s Bold Ambitions campaign just got loud.

With booming music and flashing lights, Dalhousie took the wraps off the largest fundraising campaign in its almost-200-year history at an event Tuesday afternoon in the Dal SUB.

“We’re going to take a really good university and turn it into Canada’s very best,” said Dalhousie President Tom Traves.

$250 million

The goal of Bold Ambitions is $250 million. But as Dr. Traves revealed, Dalhousie is well on the way to meeting that goal, with $170 million raised during the “quiet phase” of the campaign.

Marjorie Lindsay, widow of John Lindsay Sr., is one of the many people who’ve already given. Stepping up to the microphone and peering out at the crowd, Ms. Lindsay confessed she was “scared to death.” And so, conjuring an image of welcoming folks to her home for tea and ginger cookies, she recounted her husband’s fondness for Dalhousie, which he attended in 1946 as a young veteran of the Second World War.

“He wanted to give back to Dal the way Dal had given to him,” said Ms. Lindsay, who is donating $1 million in support of the new Innovation and Design in Engineering and Architecture building for Sexton campus. “I’m so excited that it’s all coming together ... my John would be so proud.”

Campaign organizers have identified five themes to advance the university: student success; enriched student experience; sustainable future; health care education; and enhanced design and innovation. The first two involve the student experience inside and outside the classroom. The other three are interdisciplinary initiatives: sustainability, improving health care through integrated health care training and innovation and design through team-based collaboration between the Faculties of Engineering and Architecture & Planning.

Students who made their way to the podium shared how coming to Dalhousie has already changed their lives.

Jacob White, from Liverpool, N.S., related that even though he struggled through high school because of a tumultuous home life, he was determined to go to university. But it wasn’t his marks that were concerning him: it was the reality of coming from a financially strapped single-parent family. Undeterred, he applied for an entrance scholarship when he submitted his application to Dal.

When he got a phone call from Dalhousie, giving him the news that he’d won a $40,000 scholarship, he couldn’t actually believe what he heard. “I thought she said $40,” he recalled, still amazed.

“It’s incredible how it makes you feel to know someone cares and you can succeed,” added Mr. White, 18, a student in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. “I think of that $250 million and I think of how people that money could help ... it’s all about opening the door to opportunities.”

'Allows me to do everything'

Antonia Sappong, from Ontario, has a ready answer when people ask her why she chose Dalhousie. The fourth-year student in microbiology and immunology started her first year in the Dalhousie Integrated Science Program, DISP for short, which exposes students to a wide range of scientific disciplines.

“For a nerd such as myself, it seemed like heaven,” says Ms. Sappong, who is a member of the Tea Drinkers Society, editor of the Journal of Undergraduate Science Today and the program coordinator of the Imhotep’s Legacy Program.

“I choose Dalhousie because it allows me to do everything.”

Much of the money raised will directly benefit students through scholarships and experiential learning opportunities. Other dollars will serve students by improving Dalhousie’s infrastructure and adding more buildings to the Dalhousie landscape, including the IDEA building at Sexton, the Inter-professional Health Education building at Carleton campus and the Dalhousie Arts Centre addition on Studley campus.

Dalhousie Chancellor Fred Fountain closed the event with a reminder that “all gifts are important. Put together, they make a significant impact.” And he couldn’t resist making just one last appeal as people dispersed in search of punch and hors d’oeuvres —”I hope you will consider supporting Dalhousie’s campaign.”

* * *

In a series of regular articles, Dal News has been introducing some of the priorities of the Bold Ambitions campaign:


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