The Brandon University Foundation is recognizing Gerald Butler as one of its most dedicated and generous supporters and has presented him with the prestigious Apex Award, the Foundation’s highest honour.
“Our family mission is to help people to help themselves to a happy, healthy, abundant life, and we believe that education is a critical part of the solution.” Butler said. “Today, in addition to my family and career, my proudest claim is to be a small piece of the beautiful mosaic of people who personify Brandon University.”
Butler’s lifelong connection to Brandon University and Brandon College was celebrated as part of the annual Foundation luncheon, held Wednesday at BU’s Harvest Hall. The Apex Award recognizes meritorious service and outstanding leadership to the BU Foundation, which is responsible for fundraising on behalf of Brandon University, and of stewarding the resulting endowments and donated funds. Disbursements through the BU Foundation power research, facility and equipment upgrades, library resources, and last year, nearly $2 million in scholarships and bursaries.
Butler, raised in Brandon, grew up across the street from what were then known as the “college grounds.” In 1958, he began his affiliation with Brandon College, graduating in 1963 with a Bachelor of Science Degree and an Education 1 Certificate a year later. After teaching for two years Gerald returned to Brandon with his new wife Carmen from Hearst, Ont., and joined the financial industry with New York Life and eventually joined Cardinal Capital Management.
Upon returning to Brandon in 1966, Gerald became involved with his alma mater sitting on both the Alumni Board and the Foundation board, where he served as both a member and President on both boards. During this time, Gerald also served as a committee chairperson for the Building from Strength Campaign. In 2019, Gerald rejoined the Foundation. He helped establish the Winnipeg Alumni Chapter, where he served as Chair for many years and continues as an active member to this day.
“For decades, Gerald has been the Class of 1963 reunion organizer encouraging classmates to meet at Homecoming to reconnect with each other and their alma mater,” noted Foundation President Dwight Conroy in front of invited guests at the luncheon. “Through all this, Gerald’s wife Carmen has been by his side and together, they are recognized as an important part of the BU family.”
In 2014, Gerald established the BU/Apple iPad initiative for students in the Program for the Education of Native Teachers, known as the PENT program. This program continues to provide iPads for current and future PENT students, providing access to electronics, setting them up for success. In addition to Gerald and Carmen’s own generosity, they successfully encouraged others to support the program as well.
Gerald and Carmen have also contributed to several other initiatives including Mini-U, the Seven Generations Scholarship, Enactus Bursaries, the McCutcheon Alcove and the Student Emergency Fund, to name a few.
Gifts have many beneficiaries, Butler pointed out in his acceptance remarks. Along with the direct recipient, he said that the giver also benefits, as do those who are inspired or uplifted by hearing about the gift. The impacts are even more widespread in the case of education, he said, which pays lasting dividends.
“The whole community benefits,” Butler said. “I’m so proud, speaking on behalf of our whole family, to be part of this wonderful place called Brandon University. Thank you for this honour.”
- Brandon University
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