Sept. 26, 2016

University of Calgary launches Legacy Society

New initiative celebrates donors and their lasting impact
Dennis Legacy Society
Dennis Legacy Society

September 26, 2016 - The University of Calgary launched its first Legacy Society on Sept. 15, a planned giving initiative established to celebrate individuals who have included the university in their estate plans.

Legacy gifts or planned gifts are a vital area in philanthropy and in particular to Energize: The Campaign for Eyes High, UCalgary’s $1.3-billion fundraising campaign that formally launched in April 2016 in conjunction with the university’s 50th Anniversary.

These contributions are supporting student awards and bursaries, innovative teaching and learning spaces, and life-changing research. They also help secure the future of the institution, as well as fulfill a donor’s wish to make a lasting impact.    

“Legacy giving is, by all accounts, one of the ultimate forms of generosity. It’s a mechanism for an individual to articulate the values they hold dear, to reflect on what has helped shape them as an individual, to promote change in the world and to leave a lasting legacy,” says Nuvyn Peters, vice-president, Development and Alumni Engagement.

“Through this Legacy Society, we now have the opportunity to celebrate our dedicated supporters who envision a future beyond their lifetime, and who want to inspire generations to come.”

Making a difference for hundreds of University of Calgary students

One such enduring gift continues to touch the lives of hundreds of University of Calgary students.

Celina Pablo, a third-year accounting major at the Haskayne School of Business received financial support during a critical time in her life. After her father passed away from cancer last December, her family struggled with both the loss and the financial toll it took on them. Receiving the Marion Janet and Ian Stormont Forbes Bursary came as a welcome relief for her.

Marion, who passed away in 1991, and Ian, who passed away eight years later, wanted to make a difference in the world. Incredibly altruistic, they included the University of Calgary as a beneficiary in their estate plans and now, 16 years later, 233 students have benefitted from their generosity.

This remarkable contribution was recognized at the inaugural reception, where donors who attended were inducted into the society as founding members.

Werklund School Dean Sumara touched by experience as a youth

Among the society’s founding members is Dennis Sumara, dean, Werklund School of Education, who shared how his experience as a youth in school has led him to make a legacy gift to support doctoral research related to human rights in teacher education.

“I am hoping that this gift will create opportunities for educators who see difference and eccentricity as productive, to learn more about what this might mean within the context of teacher education and public education,” Sumara said.

“I encourage others to think about what you really care about that could contribute to the future of the University of Calgary and become part of the next 50 years of this great institution,” he added.  

Faculty and staff can also pledge their support by including the University of Calgary as a beneficiary through their estate plans. By doing so, they will be inducted into the Legacy Giving Society. 

Visit to learn more about Energize: The Campaign for Eyes High or contact Sherry Dahl if you are interested in making a legacy gift and joining the Legacy Society.

Below, Celina Pablo shares how the impact of Legacy Giving has touched her life and hundreds of other students at the Haskayne School of Business.