Kamloops university silently raises $41M

Thompson Rivers University wants to raise $50 million by December 2020 — the largest fundraising campaign in the school's history. 

The institution made the announcement Thursday evening (Oct. 10), in front of faculty, students and donors. 

The good news is that the TRU has almost reached its goal. To date, $41 million has been raised.

That's because the campaign actually started a number of years ago, says TRU president Brett Fairbairn, during the "quiet phase." Thursday was the launch of the "public phase."

"I think there's a philosophy of how you engage people and what we're looking to do is to build momentum and build excitement and I think you could hear it in the room tonight, they way people responded," says Fairbairn about TRU's reason for keeping things hush-hush for so long.

The money will be spent on creating more bursaries, funding more research initiatives and establishing better spaces on campus (like the new nursing and population health building currently under construction). 

Fairbairn notes the campaign, dubbed "Limitless,"  wasn't needs-based, in terms of keeping the lights on.

"This is about the enhancements that make all the difference to the student experience, to faculty research, to community impact."

Limitless coincides with TRU's 50th anniversary.

One-third of the donations (there are 20,245 donors in total) are from individuals.

Kennedy Aberdeen is in her final semester at TRU, and is majoring in accounting and minoring in theatre.

She says the university allowed her to pursue two passions that aren't normally paired together. 

Kennedy AberdeenTRU student Kennedy Aberdeen. (via Tereza Verenca)

"I got the ability to lead and design public speaking workshops on campus for students because of my theatre training," says Aberdeen. "TRU, because of the funding, it allows students to get more involved on campus. I've been lucky enough to be the recipient of quite a few awards. Through that, I've been able to spend more time focusing on extracurriculars and being a peer mentor to other students, whereas I might have not had that opportunity if I had to work while being at school."

Aberdeen estimates she has received around $16,000 in bursaries and grants.

"These gifts that donors give us... they mean so much because it's not only just money and help financially, but it's people believing in you," she says.

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