After they’ve spent four years and tens of thousands of dollars earning a degree, you might think persuading departing students to donate money back to their faculty would be a tough sell. But not for U of T’s engineering class of 2012, whose graduating members have raised almost $10,000 to
support the students coming up behind them.
The program is called Graditude, and while many faculties and departments run their own versions, the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering has always boasted the highest participation rates, with nearly one in three graduating students pitching in. (A donation of $20.12 earns a commemorative lapel pin.)
“This campaign is to give back to student clubs, so I’m all for it,” says Kathryn Tang, who is graduating this year from mechanical engineering. She says she gained a lot from her involvement with extracurricular activities such as the Skule Orchestra and The Cannon, the more serious of the two engineering student newspapers. “It’s an important part of the school spirit that we have these organizations,” she says.
Another secret to the campaign’s success is Bill Daniel (BASc 1947, LLD Hon. 1980), a former president of Shell Canada, who offered to match the students’ donations dollar for dollar. In his final academic year, Daniel received a $100 “Second Mile” graduation scholarship from U of T, recognizing his exceptional academic and extracurricular achievements.
Today, he describes going that proverbial extra mile, whether on the job or as a philanthropist and volunteer, as “a major part of the philosophy of my life.” Supporting Graditude allows him to pass that message on: “We’re teaching these young people to go the second mile.”