Brandon College alumnus tops up donations to more than $650,000

Three major gifts over the past three fiscal years will support science students at Brandon University for generations to come, thanks to Brandon College science grad Barrie Burch.

Burch’s most recent donation, this past month, was worth more than $245,000. Combined with about $363,000 given the past two years, as well as consistent giving for more than two decades, this brings Burch’s lifetime total donations to $652,533.23.

The recent major gifts came in the form of mutual funds, which means the donations netted significant tax savings for Burch while delivering the full value to the BU Foundation.

“Tuition is fairly expensive, and I know the students appreciate any help they can receive from a scholarship towards their tuition,” Burch said. “I have a substantial portfolio that CIBC Wood Gundy & RBC Dominion Securities have helped me build and manage. Matthew Mantle at Glenn Private Wealth Management of RBC Dominion Securities has been instrumental in structuring my portfolio and helping me eliminate huge tax liabilities.”

BU President David Docherty, right, with Brandon College alumnus Barrie Burch, and Burch’s daughter Cheryl Powers.

Burch was born and raised on a farm near Wellwood, Man. After receiving a Bachelor of Science degree from Brandon College in 1957, he began his career in the oil and gas industry as an exploration geologist and held several managerial positions. He went on to acquire a Bachelor of Education at the University of Calgary in the mid-’60s and taught high school for a few years before returning to his roots in the oil and gas industry. He spent 30 years working as an exploration geologist and 20 years as a consultant recruiting oil and gas employees for international companies.

“I recently had a wonderful lunch with Barrie and his daughter Cheryl at his favourite restaurant in Calgary. He regaled me with stories of lessons he learned from classmates about how to be a successful student — as well as a few less-successful strategies,” said BU President Dr. David Docherty. “It is a wonderfully generous gesture for him to now share his own lifelong success with many future generations of students.”

The donations are directed to the Barrie and May Burch Scholarship-Bursary in Science, which was first established by Barrie and his late wife, May, in 2007. May (née Jones), was born and raised on a farm in the Killarney area, and was also a Brandon College graduate. She received a Teacher Training Certificate from Brandon College in 1956 and then taught near Killarney before marrying Barrie in 1958.

When they first established their award 15 years ago, the couple noted that they believed that their Brandon College education had opened up many career choices for them, and they felt it was important to give back and support other students, as they embark on the first steps in their own careers.

The recent gifts to their scholarship endowment will increase the annual award value from about $1,500 to more than $26,000 — with a minimum value of $5,000 per award. This will provide numerous full-tuition awards for science students every year.


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