New Bissett Scholars program to open doors for future students

Needy Calgary high school students have been given a major boost toward admission to SAIT.

In what is the largest endowment by an individual to a post-secondary institution in Canadian history, Calgary philanthropist David Bissett has given $5 million to SAIT, for student scholarships.

SAIT President and CEO David Ross accepted the donation Feb. 27 at a ceremony in the Irene Lewis Atrium of the Stan Grad Centre at SAIT.

The announcement was attended by SAIT faculty, staff and students, as well as Bissett, representataives of Calgary’s high school system, and Heather McDonald from the Calgary and District United Way.

“I’m really excited about [this], and I’m sure I’ll get to see some of the kids come into the halls here, have a wonderful student experience and will end up being productive members of society,” Bissett said in his speech to the members of SAIT.

“It’s going to be a great game to watch as it goes on and I’m really glad I was able to do so.”

“I’m very thrilled and excited to make an announcement today that I believe will change the lives of students and their families for generations to come,” Ross told the gathering.

“Today’s announcement will also help SAIT, I believe, continue to build a legacy of student success, giving tomorrow’s [students] the education they need to enter the workforce and achieve the extraordinary.”

According to Ross, the $5 million is the largest endowment donation ever made to a Canadian college or polytechnic, and will create the Bissett Scholar Program at SAIT.

Each year, this program will sponsor nine Calgary high school students by giving them a full-ride scholarship of $15,000 over two years.

These Bissett scholars will each be awarded an entrance bursary of $7,500 based on financial need, which means that “nine students a year who otherwise couldn’t afford to attend a post-secondary will now be able to enroll at SAIT.

“This kind of opportunity is life changing. The participants of this program will now have the chance to wear a SAIT credential,” Ross said.

“Doors that will have previously been closed will now be open [and] open even wider.”

As part of the bursary, participants will all have to maintain a GPA of 3.5 to qualify for the final year of funding.

To help them achieve those grades, academic counsellors from SAIT’s Centre for Academic Learning Services will work closely with them.

Students in attendance welcomed the announcement.

For first-year graphics communications print technology (GCPT) student, Redouane Elkadiri, the scholarship was a great way to encourage new applications from potential students.

“It’s a really good thing to help them out financially, and once you get a scholarship [it] proves that you’re hardworking,” Elkadiri said.

All smiles: SAIT President David Ross, top left, SAITSA President Tegan Cochrane, top middle, and Calgary philanthropist David Bissett, top right pose for a photo with kindergarden and junior high students in the Irene Lewis Atrium of the Stan Grad Centre on Wednesday, Feb. 26 2014 . (Photo by Yashica Anandani/The Press)
All smiles: SAIT President David Ross, top left, SAITSA President Tegan Cochrane, top middle, and Calgary philanthropist David Bissett, top right pose for a photo with kindergarden and junior high students in the Irene Lewis Atrium of the Stan Grad Centre on Wednesday, Feb. 26 2014 . (Photo by Yashica Anandani/The Press)
About Yashica Anandani 11 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Yashica Anandani worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2013-2014 academic year.

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