Algonquin College’s Perth campus has received the largest-ever donation from an alumni, to the tune of $100,000.
The money, earmarked for the college foundation’s “Building Our College, Our Community, Our Future” campaign, came from the Dave and Ann Trick Family Foundation.
“This is the largest donation to our campaign and this is the largest donation that an alumnus has made to the college,” said college president Kent MacDonald in accepting the money at an event on Thursday, Nov. 22.
“Perth has always been good to us and we wanted to give back,” said Dave Trick, a businessman.
Former town councillor John Wilson recalled the very moment when, he believes, Trick made up his mind to donate to his old alma mater.
Back in August of 2010, he and Trick visited the campus to look at the architect’s blueprints for renovations to the campus. Walking around the campus, with visions of the architect’s lines still fresh in their minds, Wilson said that it made him “realize the value of this college to the community,” a feeling he knew Trick shared. “I almost felt overwhelmed. I was almost walking on air. ‘Wow,’ he said. ‘This is really going to happen.’”
He spoke with Trick in the parking lot after their tour.
“He was more excited than I was,” Wilson recalled. “And look at what fruit that has borne.”
Not only did Dave attend Algonquin, Ann also taught at the college, so the college is very much a part of their lives. Wilson reiterated that the Perth campus in particular, which, at one time came very close to closing, was “vital” to the community, so that the town and vicinity’s young people would not have to go away to the big city, and pay extra for room and board and travel. With those costs factored in, some students simply could not afford a post-secondary education.
“These people have never lost the small town touch,” said Wilson, of the Trick family in particular, but the campus community in general. “You don’t see this often at large institutions. These people really care.”
“Our students will benefit from this,” said Lana March, chair of the “Building Our College, Our Community, Our Future,” campaign at the Algonquin College Foundation. “This will encourage others to support this campaign.
While school sports heroes or “jocks” are sometimes unfairly painted as not being strong academically, MacDonald brought to mind an American example of our own Ken Dryden (Montreal Canadiens goalie, Stanley Cup winner but also trained in law and a former cabinet minister), former New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley. A former National Basketball Association player, Bradley ran for president in 2000, and was a Rhodes Scholar. Bradley is also an author, and this past summer, MacDonald read his recent book We Can All Do Better, which MacDonald called “incredible.”
Bradley’s book used the “analogy of a house, a very appropriate analogy for a campus like this,” with its emphasis on the built world. The analogy stated that, with hard work, education, determination, and skills, people in the past were able to be socially mobile, and move on up from humble beginnings, riding an elevator from the basement to whichever floor they wanted off.
“Some time in the 1980s, the elevator got broken and it got harder to get on,” said MacDonald. “We know that there is one way to get back on that elevator, and that is to go to school and get a higher education, to allow people of all ages to move up.”