Thompson Rivers University supporters got up close and personal with the beneficiaries of their generosity during a fundraising kick-off breakfast on Thursday.
A few hundred donors and guests gathered alongside WolfPack team members, who are the focus of this year's fundraising theme.
"Supporters have a profound impact on many lives," said Alan Shaver, TRU president. "Private support is vital to the success of our students and of the university. We cannot accomplish all that we do through tuition and government funding alone."
Speaking on behalf of all students was Taiysa Worsfold, who was raised in Kamloops and chose TRU in order to remain in the community that has given her so much.
She credited the donors in the room with helping her fulfil her desire to excel both academically and athletically.
"In essence, you're the reason I'm here," said Worsfold.
The Academic All Canadian is studying to be a surgeon and carries a 4.2 grade point average while also helping her WolfPack women's basketball team achieve impressive feats.
She told the crowd that she discovered the generous spirit of Kamloops while dealing with the loss of two close mentors to cancer and her house to fire.
In an effort to give back, she volunteers as a big sister to a 10-year-old girl and has been involved in several charitable events through the WolfPack program.
"Your support has helped us keep young people like this in our community," Christopher Seguin, vice president of advancement, told the crowd.
Community involvement is a crucial part of being a TRU athlete, and they put in a cumulative 5,000 hours of volunteer time a year. Maintaining a high academic standard is also key. WolfPack athletes average a higher GPA than the rest of the student body, according to athletics director Ken Olynyk.
That combination has yielded an array of high achieving youth.
"The TRU athletics program has very strong values that promote success on the court or field but also in the classroom and the community, which makes me proud to be a part of it," said Worsfold.
The donors gathered clearly didn't need to be sold on the merits of investing in the students as nearly $200,000 in donations and in-kind sponsorships were announced at the breakfast.
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A breakdown of donations:
* $2,000 — Pat O'Brien endowment in support of student athletes ($23,298 given to date).
* $20,000 — Indocan Links golf tournament in support of student athletes ($170,000 to date).
* $10,000 — Kamloops Blazers Society in support of student athletes ($40,000 to date).
* $17,000 — McDonald's Kamloops in support of WolfPack athletes and the TRU athletics program ($98,745 to date).
* $45,000 — Profits from this year's TRU Sports Task Force golf tournament for student athletes ($1,745,000 raised to date).
* $52,000 — Ken Lepin pledges support for students in science and education ($282,325 given to date).