The Lakehead Annual Fund is devoted to supporting student financial aid. Gifts raised through the Fund supports the following four general areas:
- Scholarships to recognize academic excellence
- Bursaries to ensure university education is accessible for all students
- In-course support for student research and field work
- And support for our dedicated student athletes
Should they wish, donors may designate their gift to another area within the University.
Bryan and Debbie Hill
Bryan (BENG '84) and Debbie (BA '95) Hill have had a love affair for over two decades. That love, which bloomed when they first met through mutual friends at Lakehead, has been reflected in their long-time support of the University. Donors for almost as long as they have been married, Bryan and Debbie believe in giving back to the university that provided them with so much.
Debbie came to Lakehead from Winnipeg and joined the Communications Department as a Publications Officer. A newcomer, she appreciated the opportunities she had to meet staff and students from various faculties and departments. As a stranger in a new town Debbie says that the community atmosphere on campus made her feel like she was part of a family. "The support I received from everyone was amazing," she says. "When people like Harry Lacey (an Associate Professor) realized I didn’t know anyone in town, he and his wife really took me under their wing," she remembers.
At the same time Bryan was attending Lakehead as an older student in the engineering program. He appreciated that he was able to receive a post-secondary education while staying in northwestern Ontario. He also had the opportunity to be part of a team of students, under Dr. Seimer Tsang, that designed and built a fuel-efficient car for competition. The team won the Technical Innovation Award and a photo of the car was placed on display in the Ontario Science Centre.
After their marriage life took them from Thunder Bay to Marathon, and eventually they settled just outside of Sarnia. Through the years Debbie completed the degree she began when she was an employee, by taking courses through Lakehead’s distance education program. In 1995, after completing her BA, the whole family returned to Thunder Bay so that she could participate in Convocation.
All the while Bryan and Debbie were giving. Strong believers in supporting organizations that have supported them they became annual donors contributing year after year. Bryan’s employer, Suncor Energy Inc., also has a program in place which matches any charitable donation made by an employee thereby doubling their gift. "I encourage everyone to give if they have the opportunity," says Bryan. "You don’t realize that $20 a year can make a big difference and it’s important to pass along support to the next generation."