Donations to UAlberta continue to climb

More than 20,000 generous donors boost university’s capacity for excellence in teaching, learning and research.


(Edmonton) The numbers are in and donations to the University of Alberta continue to rise.

A total of 20,361 donors gave $114.7 million to the U of A in 2014–15, surpassing last year’s total of $87.7 million. The university’s endowment reached $1.2 billion, providing a predictable, ongoing source of funding.

“We are very grateful to all of our donors,” said Colm Renehan, interim vice-president (advancement). “Every gift, no matter the amount, makes a difference. Donations increase the university’s capacity to attract and support talented students and faculty, conduct innovative research, and enhance and expand our programming.”

Chris Robson, ’16 BSc(Eng), is one of many students who benefited from the generosity of donors. Robson is project manager of the student team building and launching the first made-in-Alberta satellite. With donor support, the students were able to buy the parts to build the satellite and to purchase a spot on the rocket that will launch it into space.

Lemonia Anagnostopoulos’ learning experience was also enhanced thanks to donors. She spent four months examining the health issues women and children face in Nairobi, Kenya. A master’s student in global health, Anagnostopoulos,‘ 11 BSc, says the experience opened her eyes to both the complex struggles of the world’s most vulnerable communities and to the many challenges of international development.

Celebrating philanthropy

Other philanthropic highlights from 2014–15 include:

  • the naming of the Nasseri School of Building Science and Engineering after a $10-million gift from Reza Nasseri, ’70 BSc(ElecEng), and Sylvia Nasseri, ’71 BEd, in support of a greener construction industry
  • significant contributions from Lorenzo Donadeo, ‘81 BSc(MechEng), Donna Donadeo and their family,  and Fred Pheasey, ’65 BSc(MechEng), toward the Donadeo Innovation Centre for Engineering
  • the celebration of a $10-million donation from Dick Wilson, ’74 BDes, ’75 LLB, and Carol Wilson, ’74 BEd, which helped make the Physical Activity and Wellness Centre a reality
  • a $3.8-million contribution from Western Sky Land Trust, which will provide ongoing funding for research on grassland ecology and land reclamation at the Mattheis Ranch, a 12,000-acre research facility donated to the U of A by Ruth Mattheis, ’58 BA, and Edwin Mattheis, ’57 BSc(PetEng)
  • donations of more than $600,000 for the Indira V. Samarasekera Global Student Leadership Fund, which will support U of A students in their pursuit of education, research and community service beyond Canadian borders
  • $2.4 million from the estate of Lia Aulbach to the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry for the White Coat Endowment Fund and the Dean's Innovation Fund
  • raising $50,000 for the student satellite team during the first UAlberta Giving Day, a 24-hour giving challenge
  • a record number (3,362) of President’s Society donors (those giving $1,000 and above in the year), online donors (4,863) and money donated online ($1.38 million)

New ways to give

In 2014–15, a record number of people (4,863) gave online, collectively donating nearly $1.4 million. A redesigned Give to UAlberta website now makes it easier for people to give online and direct their donations to projects that spark their passion.

The university has also introduced an option making it possible for U of A supporters to invest in both the university and in their future. A charitable gift annuity allows donors to make a gift now, receive immediate tax savings and earn a guaranteed income for the rest of their life.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for people to act on their desire to donate to the University of Alberta and, by doing so, invest in the potential of our students and in innovation and discovery,” said Renehan.