Bold accomplishments: Dal raises $280 million to support "extraordinary change"

Bold Ambitions: The Campaign for Dalhousie wraps up

- May 16, 2013

President Tom Traves makes the announcement of the Bold Ambitions total. (Danny Abriel photos)
President Tom Traves makes the announcement of the Bold Ambitions total. (Danny Abriel photos)

The ambition was, indeed, bold: raising $250 million to help position Dalhousie towards its third century with more strength than ever before. Eighteen months ahead of schedule, Dalhousie has accomplished that goal — and then some.

Bold Ambitions: The Campaign For Dalhousie
, the largest fundraising effort in the university’s history, concluded on Thursday with the big reveal.

“The total raised for Dalhousie is… $280 million dollars,” said Dr. Traves, as the McInnes Room filled with cheers. “This is a tremendous achievement that surpassed what was an incredibly ambitious goal.”

Under the banner of “extraordinary change,” the event, co-hosted by alumna Anne Doyle via an interactive virtual presentation, celebrated the stories behind that $280 million figure. These include new possibilities in academic programming, research, student experience and campus infrastructure that came about thanks to donations from 20,000 individuals and organizations.

Many of these initiatives are already underway, and with more than $100 million added to the university’s endowment, the impact of Bold Ambitions will leave a legacy for future generations of Dal students.

Read also: Bold Ambitions by the numbers

New scholarships, enriched student experience

One of the greatest successes of the campaign has been in new scholarships, where Dal had a goal of raising $35 million. In the end, $75 million — more than double the target — was raised to support deserving students like Rufus Alubankudi, a student from the Ivory Coast whose Slaight Family Scholarship made the difference in realizing his dream of an education at Dalhousie.

Read also: Rufus Alubankudi: From the Ivory Coast to the East Coast

"I'll never forget how much I appreciate and just adore the fact that I can come here,” says Ally Wilson, a biology student who was able to study at Dal because of the J & W Murphy Scholarship fund created through Bold Ambitions. “I'll never take a second for granted."

Another crucial goal of the campaign was to enrich the Dalhousie experience for students. That meant support for new spaces like the forthcoming Wallace McCain Learning Commons, new academic institutions like the School of Performing Arts and the College of Sustainability, as well as more opportunities for internships, entrepreneurship, international travel and faculty partnerships.

Read also: Promoting international learning: Marjorie Mader Award provides extraordinary opportunity
Video: Bold Ambitions - supporting student innovation

The campaign also led to new research chairs to help bring stellar faculty to campus. In total, $23 million was raised for new chairs in areas ranging from occupational medicine — the only chair of its kind east of Ontario — to Alzheimer’s research, to the MacBain Chair in Health Law and Policy, which brought Joanna Erdman to Dalhousie.

Broad support from across Canada and beyond

Of the 20,000 donors to Bold Ambitions, close to half (9,900) were making their first ever gift to Dalhousie. The donors came from Dal’s alumni ranks — 14,000 of them — but also faculty, staff, students, the private sector and the broader community.

Support came from across Canada and beyond: 52 per cent of donors were from Atlantic Canada, with 43 per cent from the rest of Canada and 5 per cent were international. Dalhousie received 52 gifts in excess of $1 million, with four gifts of $10 million or more.

“This phenomenal support is unprecedented in Atlantic Canada,” said Dr. Traves. “We’re honoured to help set what we hope may become a new standard of giving on Canada’s East Coast.”

Floyd Dykeman, vice-president external, called the campaign, “a tremendous ride and, for me and others I hope, certainly a lot of fun.” He cited major gifts like those to the Schulich School of Law, the Rowe School of Business and the School of Performing Arts as examples of the significant impact donors’ generosity can have.

“We’ve really come to realize that we get back far more than we give, that when you hear that you’ve changed someone’s life, that’s a very powerful thing,” says Jody Forsyth, co-founder of Annapolis Capital Limited in Calgary, campaign chair for Western Canada and a donor. “The joy and the fulfillment that comes from being able to do that is really priceless, and I can’t imagine better value for my dollar than that."

“Without a doubt the spirit of philanthropy is alive and well at Dalhousie and a solid foundation has been established for the future,” said Dykeman.

Dykeman also thanked his team of 60 within External Relations who managed the campaign, as well as the more than 200 volunteers across the country who gave their time to help make Bold Ambitions possible.

As the fireworks — virtual, of course — brought the event to a close, Dr. Traves offered his final words of thanks to the crowd.

“Thank you for your support. Thank you for your faith in Dalhousie’s mission. And above all, thank you for sharing our dream to make Dalhousie’s Canada’s best university. Together, we can do really great things.”


All comments require a name and email address. You may also choose to log-in using your preferred social network or register with Disqus, the software we use for our commenting system. Join the conversation, but keep it clean, stay on the topic and be brief. Read comments policy.

comments powered by Disqus