University announces scholarship fundraising campaign

Dijana Sneath received scholarships to fund her education at the U of S.

Dijana Sneath received scholarships to fund her education at the U of S.

The University of Saskatchewan announced the launch of a new fundraising campaign called the Innovation and Opportunity Matching Campaign for 2014 on Feb. 4. The campaign will supplement the provincial government’s Saskatchewan Innovation and Opportunity Scholarship program.

The IOMC hopes to raise $2 million from the university’s alumni and corporate partners. Additionally, the Saskatchewan government will match all funds raised through the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology program, bringing the fundraising goal to a total of $4 million.

“By matching these donor contributions with the generous support of the provincial government’s Saskatchewan Innovation and Opportunities Scholarship program, we have the potential to recognize both the academic achievements and financial need of even more undergraduate and graduate students than ever before,” said U of S President Ilene Busch-Vishniac.

The campaign will target 40,000 U of S alumni and 500 private businesses for donations to the program.

Donors will contribute in one of three ways: to the innovation matching fund, to the opportunity matching fund or by creating a named scholarship. The innovation matching fund supports scholarships for students in innovation-centric fields such as energy, mining and agriculture as well as for international students. The opportunity matching fund offers financial support to students pursuing master’s or PhD degrees. It also provides entrance, continuing and athletic scholarships.

Lastly, donors can choose to create a scholarship with a name of their choice. This option is only open to individuals or corporate donors who make contributions of $10,000 or more.

The Saskatchewan Innovation and Opportunities Scholarship program was created by the Saskatchewan Party on Sept. 30, 2011 “to match funds raised by public post-secondary institutions through the private sector and community-based partners.”

Corporate and private donors contributed $3 million when the scholarship program was launched in 2011, which was matched by the provincial government. Since then, the program has grown and now provides $10 million in scholarships and research funding annually — $5 million from  the Saskatchewan government and the university’s partners.

“These partnerships provide real, meaningful and tangible benefits for our students, but also for people across the program and right across our province,” said Minister of Advanced Education Rob Norris, who was on hand at the press conference to celebrate the campaign’s launch.

Since its launch, the Saskatchewan Innovation and Opportunity Scholarship program has provided scholarships to nearly 1,500 U of S students.

“Because of this program, we have been able to significantly increase the number of students who receive scholarships over these last few years and we’ve increased the level of support for these many deserving students,” said Vice-Provost Teaching and Learning Patti McDougall.

Also present at the press conference were two U of S students who have received support through the Saskatchewan Innovation and Opportunity Scholarship program. Dijana Sneath, an international student from New Zealand, came to the U of S in September 2013 to study psychology in hopes of pursuing a career in special needs education. She said that without the funding provided by through the matching program that she would not have been able to attend the U of S.

“Not having to worry about tuition expenses is a huge blessing as any university student would testify,” Sneath said. “The scholarship has given me the opportunity to get involved in extracurricular activities and make the most of everything campus life has to offer without having to squeeze work shifts into a busy schedule.

David Saunders, a PhD student in toxicology, completed his undergraduate degree at Mount Allison University and said he came to Saskatchewan partly because of the U of S’ world class toxicology facilities, but also because of the funding available to graduate students.

“These programs help to relieve the financial stress of graduate students and to free up research money to continue our projects,” Saunders said.


Photo: Andrew Mareschal