Engineering class seizes golden opportunity

Members of Western Engineering Class of 1967 saw a golden opportunity to celebrate their 50th class reunion. For the past five years, the class has worked together to increase the value of the endowment fund that supports the Canadian Centennial ’67 Class Award.

Established in 2002, the annual award recognizes a promising undergraduate Engineering student with financial need. The fund balance had grown to $24,000 by 2012. While that supported a $700 award, it was out of step with today’s financial realities.

Classmates Dave Thomas and Bruce Thorne spearheaded a campaign to increase the fund to $100,000. Propelled by a matching gifts program, courtesy of a few lead donations, the fundraising effort was a success. The majority of the class made significant donations and grew the fund to more than $110,000.

“The matching gifts program was instrumental in leading the charge to grow the fund to a substantial amount. It encouraged people to either increase the amount of their donation or contribute in the first place,” Thomas said.

Today, the award is worth more than $3,800.

“We appreciate what we gained from Western and everybody was really happy to be able to give back and support an undergraduate every year,” Thomas said.

Each November, a class member presents the award during the Western Engineering Awards ceremony.

Last year’s recipient was Stephen Song, BESc’17, HBA’17, who, in addition to earning two degrees, started his own charity for children with congenital heart disease, and has secured employment at Facebook in Silicon Valley.

Thomas believes Song is an exceptional young man and that previous winners were similarly impressive. “I hope that all of the contributors feel, as I do, that their donations were among the best investments they have made,” Thomas said.