Since joining the Mount in 2010, I’ve had the chance to gather with staff, faculty, students, alumnae and friends for countless events ranging from our annual holiday luncheon to convocation ceremonies, fundraising events and day-to-day lunches in the cafeteria. Whatever the occasion, a positive energy and element of storytelling is always present when the Mount community comes together.
But on February 9, I was part of an event that was, in my experience, unlike any other at the Mount. A positive energy filled the air, balanced by suspense as guests awaited an announcement that would change the future of our University.
In May of last year, the Mount launched a bold fundraising initiative, Project TWENTY12, which I referred to in my first blog post. The initiative was established to raise funds to build the first classroom building on our campus to be opened since 1971, a building that would not only provide much-needed teaching and research space, but one that would be dedicated to honouring the achievements of women – the first and only such building on a Canadian university campus.
Our mission has resonated with many people in Nova Scotia, Atlantic Canada, and across the country. One woman in particular was moved by the campaign, a woman who has been steadfast in her support of organizations that promote women’s rights, social equality, early childhood education and the arts.
This woman is the Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain.
Mrs. McCain is so supportive of Project TWENTY12 that she has committed $2.25 million, the largest donation in the history of the Mount. As a result, our new building will be named the Margaret Norrie McCain Centre for Teaching, Learning and Research.
Mrs. McCain first joined the Mount family in 2005 as the recipient of an Honorary Degree. As the first female Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick, and the first woman to serve as Chancellor of her alma mater Mount Allison University, Mrs. McCain is someone whose career path and personal philosophy mirror what this building hopes to achieve.
Celebrating Mrs. McCain’s gift to the Mount was a special moment in our University’s history, but perhaps more important, a look forward at what she called an ‘enviable future.’ The donation has brought our fundraising total to more than $7 million of a $12 million goal. Her generosity is transformative for this campaign and for the quality of teaching and learning at the Mount.
The announcement of Mrs. McCain’s gift was met with many rounds of cheers and applause throughout a room filled with hundreds of supporters. Later in the evening, at a small dinner for Mrs. McCain’s family and friends, Mount student Alissa Ali expressed the students’ thanks in a rap poem she wrote especially for the occasion. Alissa honoured Mrs. McCain in a creative way that reflects our community’s positive energy and reputation for the “personal touch.” I don’t believe a historical milestone would be celebrated in this way anywhere else but at the Mount.
Margaret McCain will continue to be a very special member of our University family. I urge you to take a few moments to visit the Project TWENTY12 website and learn more about how you can honour a special woman in your life.
Until next time,