The Hub Investing in AU means investing in community

Investing in AU means investing in community

“Heather Kennedy is donating to Athabasca University because she believes it’s possible to make a difference in communities, and ultimately the world, one person at a time.

“The chair of AU’s Open Our World fund-raising campaign and member of the AU Board of Governors, along with her family, recently contributed $50,000 to support AU’s activities in community service, one of the four priority areas for the campaign. “This area mattered most to me,” she says, explaining that every time AU helps a student realize a personal dream, entire families and communities stand to benefit.

“That ripple effect is especially important in northern and remote communities that are being buffeted by unprecedented and rapid change. “My personal passion around changing the world rests with remote communities and, in particular, ensuring Aboriginal people have the opportunities to do the things they need to do to heal as nations and communities,” she says. “Education is one of the key tools for that.”

“I hope a community or the lives of a series of individuals in a remote community will be changed (by our donation) because they’ll have the ability to attend AU, or they’ll benefit from the research AU might do in their community or a program AU offers.

Heather Kennedy standing at a podium
Heather Kennedy

Kennedy sees a distinctive university in AU, one that is true to the “Athabasca” in its name and has carved out a niche serving the north, yet, at the same, is breaking down barriers to higher education and innovating how students learn across Alberta and Canada and even around the world.

She recognizes that operating on the leading edge, as AU does, is a “tough” place to be and believes it’s imperative that people “continue to cherish and nurture an adaptable, flexible, nimble institution.” That is done, in part, by supporting AU through initiatives like Open Our World.

Kennedy and her campaign cabinet colleagues (see page 10) are leading by example, giving both time and dollars to send a message to potential donors that investing in Athabasca University also means investing in community. “What matters to me, matters to community, and it matters to AU,” she says.

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  • May 1, 2013