Thompson Rivers University has wrapped up fundraising with its Limitless campaign, raising $53.7 million and surpassing its $50 million goal.
The money from 4,500 donors will go toward supporting students, innovation in research and new equipment and construction at the university.
TRU president Brett Fairbairn noted the $50-million goal was the most ambitious fundraising goal ever achieved in the region.
“It’s uplifting to see how donors championed the Limitless Campaign,” Fairbairn said. “It demonstrates the widespread recognition of TRU’s vital role in the future of our students and in the future of our region and our province.”
More than half of the money raised will go toward student support, with $33.7 million funding 420 new awards intended to provide financial aid.
Ian Laurrabaquio received a First-Year Student Resiliency Award when she started science classes at TRU in the fall of 2020.
“Over my first year, I have been feeling supported by the school and donors,” Laurrabaquio said. “I want to say thank you for all the help and support that I had received over this year of hard work and thank you to my donor, who helped me and other students have a successful first year.”
Student Drew Rose said the awards he has received helped him solidify his determination to work hard on his studies. He was accepted into TRU’s bachelor of education program and has received multiple awards, including the Neil Woolliams Family Award and the TRU Foundation Award.
“My experience at TRU has been life-changing and I cannot express my gratitude in words for my educational opportunities,” Rose said. “TRU has allowed me to grow into the Indigenous individual I want to be, not only for my family, but for my ancestors. Being a mature student and having a couple children, it makes it tough being on a student’s wage. I am very honoured and words can’t describe how happy my family and I are to be receiving these contributions from these wonderful donors. All the hard work and late nights that we have been through and then being recognized for it is something special. These awards have made it possible for my family and I to move forward in a good way.”
Innovation in research and community collaboration will account for $9 million of the funds raised, pointed toward programs such as the TRU Community Legal Clinic and the Tourism Innovation Lab, with help from the Law Foundation of BC and Tourism Kamloops respectively.
The remaining $11 million will go toward construction and new equipment, such as the university's instrumentation lab, power-engineering shop and labs in the Nursing and Population Health building.
Brian Daly, the university’s vice-president of university relations, said the school’s community is grateful to all who gave to the Limitless Campaign, especially during this past year, when the COVID-19 pandemic created challenges for so many people.
“We want donors to know their contributions are so gratefully appreciated, especially during these unforeseen circumstances with the pandemic,” Daly said. “The fact that people supported Limitless even in difficult times speaks volumes about the unique relationship TRU has with its community.”
Campaign co-chair Fiona Chan — herself a donor who has served with TRU in various capacities for more than 25 years — said seeing donors push Limitless beyond its goal reinforced for her that the community values education as much as she does.
“I strongly believe that education raises us all to a better life. That’s why I’ve been so involved for so long, and why I have supported Limitless,” she said.
The Limitless Campaign was started by former TRU vice-president of advancement Christopher Seguin, who died in 2017. The university said its success with the fundraiser is a testament to the passion Seguin had for the university and the community in which he lived.