Lauretta Frederking, right, Brescia’s vice-principal and academic dean, chats with a student. Photo courtesy Brescia University College

Gift to Brescia will develop women leaders

  • October 21, 2020

A $200,000 gift from the RBC Foundation’s Future Launch program will help enhance leadership opportunities for the women at Canada’s only women’s university.

In their October announcement of the gift, RBC and Brescia University College in London, Ont., outlined support for students to enhance opportunities to bring women mentors to campus, increase students’ financial literacy through engaging speakers and tools, and create new avenues for experiential learning.

School representatives say the gift fits well into Brescia’s commitment to further prepare students for ethical decision-making in socially responsible careers.

With the RBC investment the school will, through its first-year foundation course Brescia BOLD, expose students to diverse women mentors and leaders in their field. It will also nurture a stronger sense of purpose, confidence, leadership and a more ethical understanding of social responsibility, civic engagement, collaborative thinking and leadership practice.

“Over a hundred years ago, we were founded by the Ursulines with the values of wisdom, compassion and justice at the forefront and very much having an impact on everything we do at Brescia,” said Lauretta Frederking, Brescia’s vice-principal and academic dean. “So today through an innovative course, Brescia BOLD, every single Brescia student experiences an opportunity to practise those values.”

The gift aligns with the foundation’s $500-million commitment to empower youth for the jobs of tomorrow and ensure that young women gain work experience, grow professional networks and gain skills to enhance their well-being. With changes to curriculum and movement to online learning due to COVID-19, the school embraces the opportunity to continue to build capacity for the institution and expand learning opportunities despite unprecedented challenges.

“We know that young people preparing for the future can be challenged during the best of times and quite frankly, the COVID-19 pandemic has only intensified this challenge,” said Heather Austin, regional vice-president, London Lambton, for RBC. “We know, and I believe that with every challenge, there’s an opportunity. Our country’s prosperity is directly linked to our ability to prepare young people for success in an ever-changing global economy for Canada to be prosperous.

“We are excited to deepen our relationship with Brescia to enhance the experiences of our future women leaders.”

Brescia is affiliated with Western University and has a student population of 1,600 women registered full and part time studying subjects in the school of behavioural and social sciences, food and nutritional sciences, humanities and leadership and social change. It was founded in 1919 with a specific focus on encouraging female leadership and creating conditions necessary for women to thrive in their respective field.

“This gift and this partnership will further elevate Brescia as the hub of women’s leadership in Canada,” said Brescia’s acting principal John Mitchell. “We have incredible Brescia BOLD students and this gift will help them succeed not only in their university studies but beyond and will help prepare them as tomorrow’s women’s leaders.”

Continuing the Ursuline Sisters legacy as women who inspire change, the RBC investment is part of Brescia’s Lead With Us campaign, with its goal of raising $10 million to foster and nurture cutting-edge programming and facilities. 

Frederking says RBC is helping to meet the challenges of today by enabling Brescia, even through these unprecedented times globally, to continue to nurture in their students’ integrity, honesty, inspiration and exuberance.

“It is through these challenges that our students in the most stunning ways are stepping up and showing the world that we can continue to give,” said Frederking. “We can continue to find solutions to the world’s most complex problems.”

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