Wider Horizons
A $500,000 gift from the Métis Education Foundation to Lethbridge College will be directed to fund Métis Student Awards, ensuring that more than $20,000 will be awarded annually to Lethbridge College students starting this fall through awards of $3,500 each.

“This gift has four purposes,” said Lorne Gladu, CEO of Rupertsland Institute, the education, training and research institute of the Métis Nation of Alberta. “First, we wanted to encourage and assist Métis people to access post-secondary studies at Lethbridge College. We also wanted to increase the number of Métis people who enter and successfully complete post-secondary studies. In addition, we are looking to foster stronger linkages between academia and the Métis community. And finally, we are working to promote knowledge of Métis history and culture and culturally appropriate practices at Lethbridge College and to promote Lethbridge College’s offerings within Alberta’s Métis Community.”

Cost is often the largest obstacle for Métis individuals looking to further their education. Understanding this barrier, the Métis Nation of Alberta and the Rupertsland Institute have worked to establish Métis-specific endowments at post-secondary institutions in the province. The gift, which was announced at the launch of the college’s major fundraising campaign in May, will be used to alleviate financial need and to encourage post-secondary achievement by Métis students attending Lethbridge College.

“It is extremely gratifying to see support for our Métis students in post-secondary studies extend across Alberta into the southern regions of our province,” said Yvonne Poitras Pratt, PhD, former Associate Director, Métis Education and Advancement.

With this gift to Lethbridge College, the total amount of endowments given through the Métis Education Foundation has grown to $14.5 million. As the interest earned on the principal value is disbursed annually as awards, these endowments are set up to support Métis students in perpetuity. Lethbridge College has seen its First Nations, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) student numbers grow steadily over the course of the last four years. Last fall, 319 FNMI students enrolled at the college, making up seven per cent of its overall student population; 63 of those students were Métis.

“Lethbridge College offers a ‘circle of services’ to assist our FNMI learners to be successful in their journeys of pursuing a post-secondary education,” said Dr. Paula Burns, Lethbridge College president and CEO. “This donation will further increase accessibility to post-secondary education for students from underrepresented populations and expand the Métis representation on our campus.”
Wider Horizons
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