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Gone, but not forgetting - Retiree giving and SFU endowment fund

January 25, 2007

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By Erica Branda

They no longer teach classes, supervise student researchers or participate in committees, but SFU retirees continue to make a difference on campus.

Last year retirees donated about 45 per cent of the money raised in SFU's campus fundraising campaign and represented 18 per cent of the donor pool. Which means, on average, that retirees are giving big gifts. In fact, two $50,000 gifts from retired professors represented 75 per cent of all retiree giving.

One was from SFU charter history professor Alan Aberbach, who retired in 1997 after teaching U.S. history for 32 years. He currently directs SFU's Seniors Program on contract. Aberbach's donation was matched by the Burnaby Mountain Endowment Fund to create a $100,000 endowment that will provide awards to undergraduate students who show a special interest in U.S. history. Applicants must include an essay, term paper or project focused on some aspect of U.S. history and submitted for a U.S. history course taken at SFU. "So little attention is given to U.S. history here," says Aberbach. "This scholarship will help to increase awareness and attract students who want to undertake a serious study of the area."

The other $50,000 gift was made by retired archaeology professor Roy Carlson to establish the Roy L. Carlson Graduate Scholarship in Prehistoric B.C. Archaeology. This gift was also matched to create a $100,000 endowment that will support student learning in perpetuity. An award of no less than $5,000 will be made each year to an archaeology graduate student writing a master's or doctoral thesis on the prehistoric archaeology of British Columbia.

"Professors give tremendous amounts of energy, knowledge and expertise to students throughout their careers," says Wanda Dekleva, director of SFU's Annual Giving Program. "Endowments like these allow them to maintain their involvement long after they retire."

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