“This university is family”

“This university is family.”

Professor Emeritus Kay Nasser illustrated his passion for the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) with this message during his keynote address on March 10 during One Day for Students.

As a donor since 1967, Dr. Nasser and his wife Dora have supported U of S students in the same fashion someone would care for their own family.

On March 10, the university community, alumni, donors, and friends were encouraged to follow the lead of the Nassers, and join in giving to the U of S to assist students. Over $63,000 was raised by over 500 donors in a 24-hour span—including a $27,000 matching donation by the Nassers to match donations to the President’s Student Experience Fund and the Nasser Family Emergency Student Trust.

Professor Emeritus Kay Nasser poses for selfie with students after his keynote address on One Day for Students (photo: Julie Schappert)

Professor Emeritus Kay Nasser poses for selfie with students after his keynote address on One Day for Students (photo: Julie Schappert)

The President’s Student Experience Fund backs projects that allow students to grow their knowledge, apply their learning, or pursue once-in-a-lifetime experiences outside of the classroom.

The JDC West 2016 Organizing Committee hosted their business case competition at the U of S with assistance from the fund. The competition allowed the organizers to apply skills taught in their courses, network with professionals, and showcase the Edwards School of Business as one of the best business schools in Canada.

Thanks to donors, the U of S Aero Design Team is taking their model aircraft to the SAE Aero Design West competition in Van Nuys, California in April. The team received funding from the President’s Student Experience Fund and will be applying principles of various disciplines of engineering, flight and project management in hopes that their aircraft can carry the most payload.

The Nasser Family Emergency Student Trust supports students who are facing unexpected financial hardship. During his keynote address, Dr. Nasser shared his experiences growing up in Lebanon and how students did not have appropriate supports in place in the education system. He shared the importance of establishing this fund so U of S students can thrive in their studies and not have financial constraints be a barrier. “When students need financial help, they can’t always get it from the bank or their parents. It’s important for them to have support and be able to stay in school,” he said.

A number of colleges also took part in One Day for Students, contributing to their respective funds. The College of Arts and Science raised over $2,500 to support the revitalization of the student lounge—a dollar amount which was matched by the college. Over $4,200 was raised in support of the College of Medicine Student Bursary Fund, which ensures that students can make career decisions based on their abilities and interest. The College of Dentistry raised over $1,000 for its Infrastructure Revitalization Fund which will provide new equipment and enhanced learning spaces. The Edwards School of Business raised over $1,000 for its Student Award Fund, which will provide scholarships and bursaries to deserving students.

An action-packed One Day for Students included a performance by the U of S Cheer Team, a photobooth, musical performances, and an address from matching donor, Kay Nasser (photo: Julie Schappert)

An action-packed One Day for Students included a performance by the U of S Cheer Team, a photobooth, musical performances, and an address from matching donor, Kay Nasser (photo: Julie Schappert).

Place Riel was a hotbed of activity throughout One Day for Students, leading up to Dr. Nasser’s keynote address. Donation locations were set up throughout campus, making donations quick and convenient. As students are often rushing to class and need a quick bite, they were appreciative of the cupcakes and popcorn provided at the locations. ACE (Advancement and Community Engagement) Student Ambassadors, a student group who advocate for leadership and philanthropy with alumni and staff, reached out to students passing by, promoting the importance of the funds and contributing on One Day for Students. The keynote event was also preceded by a performance from the U of S cheerleading team and a performance on saxophone by Brendan Catalano from the U of S Wind Orchestra. In celebration of a successful day of fundraising, cream pies were shoved in the face of some willing and select targets.

As One Day for Students 2016 came to an end, it was evident that it was not only a day of fun and philanthropy, but for some, it was also a family affair.