Why I Give: Andrew Ritcey

For Andrew Ritcey (BPE’76, MA’87), giving is not so much a passion as it is a calling—one he feels increasingly driven to answer.

- June 5, 2023

Andrew Ritcey wants to make sure Dal’s School of Health and Human Performance continues to set standards in the education of recreation therapy professionals (supplied photo).
Andrew Ritcey wants to make sure Dal’s School of Health and Human Performance continues to set standards in the education of recreation therapy professionals (supplied photo).

My partner, Virginia Veinot, and I are at a stage “ in our lives when we are able to give back more than ever before,” says Ritcey, a recreation therapy consultant and former health services manager and recreation therapist at what is now called NS Health – Central Zone. “We feel it’s important to be as generous as possible as there are community needs that can’t wait.”

That commitment to meeting needs was first nurtured by Ritcey’s family. He recalls the example set by his grandfather, Harris Andrew Ritcey, a man of basic means who achieved success, and his mother, Margaret Townshend Sherwood Ritcey, who demonstrated exceptional kindheartedness. Their efforts to build stronger communities inspire Ritcey to make a difference and to ensure the contributions of everyday Nova Scotians like them are recognized and remembered.

Ritcey’s commitment to giving led him back to Dalhousie University and the School of Health and Human Performance. He says its Recreation Therapy program provided a solid foundation for his professional career.

“This is a program that has been a leader in Canada since its inception,” Ritcey says. “I want to make sure it continues to set standards in the educational development of recreation therapy professionals and educators through my gifts.”

With Veinot (CPA’85, BA’87, MPA’91), Ritcey established two scholarships for doctoral or postdoctoral scholars of therapeutic recreation, one named for Ritcey’s mother and one for his grandfather. Both provide $25,000 annually, enabling recipients to focus on studies, research, and mentorship. Ritcey and Veinot also created funds to support students attending the annual Nova Scotia Therapeutic Recreation Association Conference and initiatives that further the university’s strategic mission, such as experiential learning and research.

“Given economic and aging patterns in North America, we are now in a crisis where a large number of recreation therapy educators are retiring and there is a shortage of PhD educators available to fill the vacancies,” Ritcey says. “This, along with the recognition that recreation therapy professionals have a significant role to play in health and community care, inspired me to think about how I could assist.”

Through his gifts, Ritcey is supporting academic and research excellence and enhancing recreation therapy internships in rural Nova Scotia at Dalhousie. He hopes his actions encourage other alumni to give generously, just as his family inspired him.

“There is so much to do,” he says. “Let’s be leaders and make this happen.”

This story appeared in the DAL Magazine Spring/Summer 2023 issue. Flip through the rest of the issue using the links below.


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