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Alumni Council to MRU students: “We have your back” on Giving Day

Members of Mount Royal’s Alumni Council are leading with their actions, making a collective gift and encouraging all alumni to participate in MRU’s inaugural Giving Day on Nov. 30, a 24-hour campaign to celebrate philanthropy on campus and to contribute to student awards and bursaries.

“Bursaries are a great way of telling students, ‘You’re not alone, you’re supported, as alumni we have your back,’” says Mercedes Brown, an Alumni Council member, a 1993 graduate of the Bachelor of Health Science — Nursing program and a 1999 graduate of the Calgary Conjoint Nursing Program, a past partnership between Mount Royal College, the University of Calgary and the Foothills Hospital School of Nursing.

Alumni Council member Mercedes Brown is a nurse clinician in acute geriatric care at Calgary’s Rockyview Hospital.

Brown, a bursary recipient herself, says she will participate on Giving Day because she wants to set an example for others. “Leadership is important, and I’m very lucky I’m at a point in my life where I want to give back with my time, and monetarily when I can.”

Fellow Alumni Council member Bronson Ha agrees, saying, “It's a Council priority to support our community, including aiding students in their growth.”

“There are two things that are priceless that we can always give. The first is time and the second is education,” Ha says. "We are passing on time with the solutions we have discovered through our own struggles, and we are passing on education as the lessons we’ve learned in the past to make it less of a burden for the next generation.

MRU Alumni Council member Bronson Ha speaks at a United Nations Association in Canada Calgary Branch event, 2016.

“Money should not hold back anyone; if you remove that barrier, you can tap into so much potential.”

The Alumni Council is the representative body for the University’s more than 110,000 alumni, working to strengthen the bond between the University and the alumni community.

For some students, receiving a bursary can make the difference between graduating or dropping out or delaying studies. Students in degree programs who receive a bursary are from 1.7 to 2.9 times more likely to graduate within six years than those who do not.

Ha worked three jobs while pursuing his Bachelor of Arts — Criminal Justice Studies degree at Mount Royal and received the Pat & Bea Graham 7th Step Bursary for financial support, so he speaks from experience when he says that by supporting the MRU bursary program, “We’re lessening the burden of stress so students can focus on their dreams.”

MRU Alumni Council member Bronson Ha and a colleague outside the UN offices in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Giving Day starts at 8 a.m. on Nov. 30 and ends Dec. 1 at 7:59 a.m. Several challenges take place throughout the 24-hour period, including prizes going to the first donor, the last donor, the donor who is furthest away, the gift received closest to 19:10 p.m. (the year of Mount Royal’s founding) and more.

To start off the festivities, the Foundation has launched a 50/50 Cash Raffle, which anyone can take part in. The 50/50 is “a powerful way for people to contribute to Giving Day and feel like they might also get something in return,” Brown says.

Donors can choose how to direct their funds — to their favourite athletic team, a specific scholarship, or a program of choice. Any amount is welcome and 100 per cent of each donation will go exactly where donors wish.

To learn more about Giving Day or to make your donation on Nov. 30, visit

— Matthew Fox