May 27, 2004

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Alumni Giving Helps Thousands of Students

Our cause for celebration goes to the heart and soul of our fundraising success -- the giving spirit of our alumni.

Outstanding student fundraiser winners for 2003-04 Jasmine Surani (left) and Grace Sohn (middle) celebrate with Julie Saito, (right).

Spirits are high and the mood is festive as our fundraising team gathers at the Burnaby campus for our annual wrap-up party. We're here to applaud and salute our staff and student fundraisers for raising more than $527,000 in this year's record-breaking alumni appeal. Dollar signs made with frosted icing cover the top of our celebration cake, symbolizing the new funding we've generated for students and the SFU community.

To the casual observer, it may seem like we are gathered here to celebrate money. However, our real cause for celebration goes much deeper to the heart and soul of our fundraising success - the giving spirit of our alumni.

Alumni giving to SFU has enabled the library to improve online access and significantly expand its collection of books, journals and periodicals.

Alumni giving has provided students with new technology and updated equipment in labs and classrooms. And at its most personal level, alumni giving has helped literally thousands of students with financial assistance through scholarships, bursaries and awards.

Perhaps the most visible example of alumni giving is the new alumni information commons in the W.A.C. Bennett library. This computer-equipped research and study facility was funded primarily by alumni donations. Some of these donations were large. Many were modest. They came from recent graduates, alumni paying off student loans, alumni raising families, alumni with mortgages, self-employed alumni, retired alumni, and many others. As individuals, each donor's ability to make a huge impact was limited. Yet collectively, their willingness to give back what they could made a tremendous difference for SFU and our students.

In so many vital ways, alumni contribute to the well-being of SFU. They serve on university boards and committees, volunteer with the Alumni Association, help recruit and mentor students, give guidance and advice at career workshops, assist at events and convocation, hire co-op students and recent graduates, promote SFU within the community and financially support our fundraising efforts.

A few years ago we surveyed alumni about what motivates them to give back to SFU.

We learned that the top reasons they give are because they feel it will make a positive difference in the world, and they want to help more students experience the benefits and opportunities of an SFU education.

This is the kind of giving spirit that is truly worth celebrating. And this is why alumni hold such a special place in the heart of SFU's history and the soul of our future.

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