BU donors honoured at annual Foundation luncheon

Three people stand in front of a Brandon University backdrop
Students Denise Henry-Sinclair (left) and Julia Greer (right) are joined by BU President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. David Docherty.

Brandon University celebrated the generosity of donors during its annual BU Foundation Luncheon, held at Harvest Hall on Wednesday.

The Foundation promotes the advancement of higher education at Brandon University, improving the quality of its facilities and activities. The annual luncheon is an opportunity to celebrate members of the Order of the Sheaf for their significant contributions to BU as well as hear from students who have benefitted from donor support through the Foundation.

“It is inspiring to hear stories of how these gifts are impacting students and how alumni, community members and friends continue to generously support the University,” said Foundation President Tilda Fortier. “It often strikes me how lucky we are to have an institution like BU filling our community with young and eager musicians, artists, athletes, nurses, teachers, researchers and business professionals to name a few.”

Donors met students Julia Greer and Denise Henry-Sinclair at the luncheon. A member of Rolling River First Nation, Henry-Sinclair is in the Bachelor of Science in Psychiatric Nursing program and plans to graduate in 2026. In a moving speech she described how she arrived at BU determined to be a role model for her seven children.

“Six years ago, I walked through the doors of Brandon University for the very first time, and it forever changed who I once was,” she said. “Those first few years I was tested literally and figuratively beyond what I thought I was capable of. … I cried at times with frustration and lack of sleep … but I also laughed and screamed in joyful triumph with my success.”

The recipient of numerous awards, Henry-Sinclair said she developed the tenacity and resilience she needed, with the help of the people and programs at BU, developing a sense of belonging along the way.

“Without your generosity of your donations, the many initiatives and programs that make BU the exceptional institution it is today would simply not be possible,” she said.

Henry-Sinclair plans to use the skills and knowledge she is gaining to help others within her community, and in the future she plans to pursue a Master of Psychiatric Nursing Degree at BU.

“Without your generosity of your donations, the many initiatives and programs that make BU the exceptional institution it is today would simply not be possible.”

Denise Henry-Sinclair

Greer will graduate this month with a Bachelor of Education (After Degree) after previously completing a Bachelor of Arts at BU in 2022. Having grown up in Brandon, she felt BU was a natural choice for her post-secondary education. She also chose BU for small class sizes and high-quality instruction, and those made an impact throughout her studies.

“I have made long-lasting connections with professors and peers who have motivated me and inspired me,” she said. “I gained a global perspective on issues and honed my critical thinking skills.”

The recipient of an impressive list of awards, Greer is currently completing her student teaching practicum and is looking forward to beginning her recently accepted position at Brandon’s Earl Oxford School this fall. Greer said awards gave her the financial support to dedicate more time to her studies, but also the emotional support of seeing her hard work recognized.

“It gave me a feeling of being recognized and appreciated by my community,” she said. “It made me feel seen not just as a student but as a future teacher here in Brandon.”

The Foundation raised more than $1.8 million in 2023 and was able to distribute more than $3.3 million to the University. Nearly 60 per cent of those disbursements went to students through scholarships and bursaries.

The Foundation stewards more than $70 million and has made more than $72 million in disbursements since 1980. New endowments introduced in 2023 include the Homer Gill Memorial Bursary, the Doug & Marg Crandle Athletic Award and the Patricia Fraser Scholarship-Bursary in Science.


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