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Gifts to the School of Continuing Studies make a major impact by providing services and support that help our students realize their potential and achieve brighter futures.
Spotlight on… Zeller Family Foundation and the State Street Foundation
Through their generous donations, the Zeller Family Foundation and the State Street Foundation have enabled the School’s Client Services to launch career workshops.
These workshops equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to launch or transition their careers and improve their employability and economic well-being. Our Job Search Series includes topics on crafting effective CVs, job hunting, and interview skills.
These donations have also enabled the School to launch a workshop series for new immigrants, who are often marginalized, unemployed, or underemployed. Topics in our Professional Transition Series provides information on Quebec’s accreditation system, provincial labour standards, and communication and culture in the Canadian workplace.
Spotlight on… Paul Leong
Paul Leong (B.Com ’81), established the School’s first endowed fund for Career Advising and Transition Services.
Leong used to overlook the throngs of students heading towards McGill’s Roddick Gates from his office window at RBC Dominion Securities on McGill College Avenue. “I really admired those people, who, like my sister, were striving to improve their lives by continuing studies at the end of their working day,” says Leong. “Having been born in Macau and raised in Hong Kong and Mozambique, I was once an immigrant to Canada. I applaud the School’s goal of establishing the Career Advising and Transition Services to help underemployed immigrants be more successful, more quickly.”
Spotlight on… Gerson Vineberg
Gerson Vineberg, School alumnus and now president of a successful retail chocolate business (Suite 88) with two Montreal locations, gives annually to Career Advising and Transition Services. “The reason I directed my gift to the School of Continuing Studies is to help give students a greater sense of direction,” he says. “No matter their level of education, they need to speak to someone who can offer them insights on what they can do next, and help them make the difficult transition from school to work.”
Spotlight on… MACES
The McGill Association of Continuing Education Students (MACES) has made significant financial contributions to improve services that support the School’s hardworking students. Much of MACES’ gifts have been designated to Career Advising and Transition Services, scholarships, and bursaries.
MACES played a major role in supporting the research that helped establish the School’s Career Advising and Transition Services, and almost half of the Association’s fundraising donations have gone to scholarships and bursaries - rewarding academic excellence and helping those in financial need.
“Having these awards offers something transformational to the students who receive them,” says Potter. “We’re so pleased that MACES made student recognition a priority in such a significant way.”
Spotlight on… MACES: Students giving back
The McGill Association of Continuing Education Students (MACES) has made a significant impact on students in a short period of time.
Prior to 2012, “the School did not have scholarships or bursaries to recognize excellence or to give learners a hand,” says Dean Potter.
Since then, almost half of MACES’ fundraising donations have gone to scholarships and bursaries, rewarding academic excellence and helping those in financial need.
Spotlight on… Manon Boisvert and Charles Pitts
In 2011, Continuing Studies instructor Charles Pitts and his wife Manon Boisvert established the Boisvert-Pitts Bursary in Public Relations.
“We believe that a student’s lack of funds should not prevent him or her from attending Continuing Studies in order to get ahead,” Pitts says. “A lot of students may be new to Montreal, just starting careers and families, so money can be tight.”
Manon and Charles’s gift is helping students transcend financial difficulty to upgrade their skills, pursue new career paths, or obtain a much-needed certification or diploma to get ahead.
Spotlight on… Barbara Seal
Barbara Seal, a long-time Canadian Citizenship Court judge, and her husband, Donald W. Seal, QC, have provided generous funding for the School’s first endowed scholarship, the Barbara Seal, CM Scholarship.
Dr. Judith Potter, Dean of the School of Continuing Studies, says that the School’s “key priority is student success. Close to half of the School’s student population is made up of recent immigrants to Quebec; they need resources, sound advice, and opportunities to integrate into the workplace and culture. Barbara Seal’s award will provide well-deserved recognition and encouragement for our students who originate from outside of Canada and who face significant challenges. It will help them to reach their aspirations and ambitions for a more fulfilling and enriched life, and earn better career prospects in their new country.”
Pointing to a fine example of the transformative power of education, Judge Seal describes her meeting with a family from China in her court many years ago. Judge Seal recalls, “Many new immigrants are not yet fluent in English or French. When this family (a mother, a daughter of 12 and a son of 15) came into my court, the son said to me, ‘Judge Seal, can I act as interpreter for my mother?’ Of course I agreed. This 15-year old boy went on to say, ‘My father left us. My mother has studied hard – we’ve studied together. I dream of becoming a doctor in Canada.’ He showed such love and respect that it really touched me. All three of them became Canadian citizens that day. Many years later, a handsome young man knocked at my door and said, ‘Judge Barbara? I just wanted to tell you that my mother and I talk about you all the time. Thanks to your encouragement, I’ve just graduated from medical school!’”
Spotlight on… Rita Lumba-Bacani
Rita Lumba-Bacani has committed $10,000 to create one of the School’s first named, direct-funded awards – the Rita Lumba-Bacani and Jun Bacani Scholarship in Accounting and Taxation and/or Entrepreneurship.
When Rita Lumba-Bacani (CertMgmt ’88, CertAcctg ’88), came to Canada from the Philippines in 1969 to join her husband, chemical engineer Jun Bacani, she learned that her CPA license did not receive full professional status in her newly adopted country.
“We were not seen as professionals,” she recalls. While she found auditing and taxation work to help support her young family, Lumba-Bacani was ambitious, and as her two children grew older, she registered in an academic program at the School specializing in taxation and accounting. “I was so proud to be going back to school,” she says. But it was also demanding: working a 9-to-5 job, taking public transit into Montreal for evening courses, and bussing home to Brossard at the end of the day. In addition, she started her own real estate business and handled all of the accounting for her husband’s two companies. (Jun discovered a way to increase total protein in processed meats by replacing fats with leaner plant and vegetable proteins.)
Lumba-Bacani pursued her dream – and this demanding regimen – for six years. “It was a busy time for the whole family, and I had to work very hard, but it worked out well for us.” Now she’s giving back through her named scholarship, which has already made a difference in the lives of students. “It’s never too late to return to your studies,” she stresses. “I went to McGill when I was over 40 years old, and I want to support other people who are working hard to follow their dreams.”
Spotlight on… Miranda Technologies
Miranda Technologies funded a video and web conferencing facility that accommodates up to 10 on-site participants and several online guests for one-to-one and group discussions. This facility enables instructors at the School, many of them practicing professionals in their field, to interact more efficiently. The web-conferencing facility also fosters collaboration among instructors and graduate students in different locations.