Making a Difference

From equipment to financial aid to work-integrated learning opportunities to training materials, donors make a difference in the lives of Lethbridge College students every day.

Reilly Callahan, a first year Practical Nursing student.

The college is celebrating the generosity of its donors this month, highlighting the many ways they continue to make a difference in the lives and learning experiences of Lethbridge College students, including those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The generosity of the southern Alberta community has been apparent since the college’s founding in 1957 and has grown with every passing year. This past year, donors have shown they were ready to respond both to the new initiatives launched in response to the pandemic as well as those initiatives created before and after the pandemic that continue to transform the day-to-day lives and future of students.

“Over my nine years at Lethbridge College, I have been repeatedly inspired and awed by the generosity of our donors,” says Dr. Paula Burns, Lethbridge College President and CEO, who will be leaving the college to take on the leadership role at Langara College in May. “Over and over, our donors have stepped up with innovative and meaningful contributions that support our students and the work we are doing at Lethbridge College. As the needs of our students have increased these past couple of years, the generosity of our donors has been right there to keep pace, which fills me with pride as I see the way they change the lives of our students. Thank you to all of our donors – you are appreciated.”

Over the last decade, donors have given an average of $2 million dollars each year to Lethbridge College. These gifts have been used to create transformational opportunities to increase educational opportunities for students while also supporting industry needs in the region. Some recent gifts have gone to support capital improvements that directly benefit students learning as well as the needs of local industry, including spaces like the Trades, Technologies and Innovation Facility; the Culinary Bakery; the Buchanan Library and Learning Commons; the Early Childhood Education Play Space; Founders’ Square; and a new greenhouse to officially open later this year.

In this current academic year, the college dispersed more than $650,000 in student awards to more than 450 students, helping to relieve the financial challenge of attaining a post-secondary education. One of those students was Reilly Callahan, a first year Practical Nursing student from Lethbridge.

“Words cannot describe how appreciative I am,” says Callahan. “My biggest thanks for having the privilege and honour of receiving a scholarship as it will help ease the financial strain that comes with tuition. I plan to give back when I am in the nursing field by making an impact on others by helping and caring for them and encouraging others to pursue their post-secondary education. Thank you again for giving me this opportunity.”

Here are some of the numbers that tell part of the story of the generosity of Lethbridge College donors in 2021:

  • More than 300 donors made donations totalling over $1.1 million supporting student success.
  • Five people planned and committed gifts in their wills to support a vision of leading and transforming education in Alberta for future generations.
  • More than $50,000 was given to the inaugural Lethbridge College Fund, which ensures every student has an equal opportunity to succeed.
  • Donors continued to provide gifts in kind like state-of-the-art safety equipment, vehicles, drones, software and more, allowing students to train on the most relevant resources in their education. These are resources the college otherwise wouldn’t be able to use to train students.

“We talk a lot about how at Lethbridge College, we know success is not by chance, but that it takes perseverance and determination,” says Oliver Twizell, Director of Development and Alumni Engagement. “Our students have always shown incredible perseverance and determination. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, students who have the desire to do the work now have more opportunity to achieve their goals, to build careers with industry and to contribute to building community. These gifts are changing lives.”

To learn more about donor-related projects at Lethbridge College, or to get involved, visit