A generous gift bolsters a strong tradition of student support
by Jennifer Matthews
A student arriving at Trinity College today can expect to pay close to $100,000 for a four-year undergraduate degree.Tuition and other compulsory fees in Ontario have nearly quadrupled over the past two decades, said the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives in a report released last September.That trend is projected to continue, with costs estimated to rise 13 per cent over the next four years.
While the rising cost of a post-secondary education isn’t news, the numbers are still baffling—especially to those of us whose university days were more than 20 years ago.
“I completed my entire undergraduate degree for less than the cost of a typical first year at a Canadian university today,” remarks Bishop Philip Poole (M.Div. ’77, Th.M. ’88, DD ’07), who completed his Masters of Divinity nearly 30 years ago.
Even then, says Bishop Poole, it was difficult for some students to make ends meet.
“My father made a modest income as an Anglican priest, and there was little money for post-secondary education. I lived at home during my first year, and spent the majority of my time commuting on the subway,” he recalls.
STRONG DIVINITY FOUNDATION
Fortunately for Poole, Trinity’s student support program was already welldeveloped. The foundation of those funds is made up of endowments, many of which were established years ago through gifts to the Divinity faculty from both alumni and members of the Anglican community.
Over the years, those endowments have enabled the Divinity faculty to support its students through nearly 40 bursary funds.That financial foundation has grown in recent years to allow the faculty to move from offering a percentage of tuition to covering all costs for Canadian students who wish to pursue ordination and demonstrate financial need, says David Neelands ’65, MDiv. ’78, Dean of Divinity.
Following his first year, Poole applied for and received the St.Thomas Larkin Bursary and the Billes Fund T.I.P.T. Bursary, as well as several scholarships.
“I really wanted to be a part of the community, and the bursaries and scholarships I received were hugely helpful in that regard. I was able to live in residence, which allowed me to connect with other students and to get involved in campus life. One of my favourite Trinity memories is of earning an athletic letter and being a part of the football team that won the Mulock Cup in 1976. I’m so grateful to Trinity for the support I received,” says Poole, who is now Area Bishop for the York-Credit Valley Episcopal Area of the Diocese of Toronto (see Class Notes, page 28 for more on Bishop Poole).
A GROWING GAP
The kind of support that Bishop Poole received is needed today more than ever before. University students across the country, and at Trinity, are increasingly struggling to cover the costs of tuition, housing, food and books. In fact, over the next five years, the demand for needs- based awards is expected to grow by 34 per cent.
“What we’re seeing is a growing gap between the cost of a university education and the resources available to students,” says Nelson De Melo,Trinity’s Registrar. “That means students are having to piece together money from a number of sources, including parental support, private debt and part-time jobs during the school year. Some students are working 15 to 30 hours a week, and they’re still having a hard time. In certain cases, they also have to make choices when it comes to housing and food, for example, which may affect their quality of life.”
For students who want to complete a post-graduate degree—common among Trinity’s high achievers—it also means some simply can’t afford to consider the option.
This is exactly the kind of trend that worries Charles Baillie ’62. A leader in Canada’s financial sector, Baillie completed an undergraduate degree in Political Science and Economics at Trinity before earning an MBA at Harvard University. His highly successful career in finance culminated in his role as CEO of TD Bank Financial Group, a post he held for a number of years until his retirement in 2002.
Baillie points to the “Gini Coefficient,” a ratio that measures the degree of inequality in a country. “The higher the ratio, the greater the income disparities,” he explains. In the U.S.—and in Canada, albeit to a lesser degree—that ratio is escalating.
The implications are far-reaching, says Baillie. He believes, crediting Winston Churchill, in a regulated free-enterprise system as the best vehicle for generating wealth and therefore providing people the option of choosing their quality of life.
“I also believe that society can only justify a system that flourishes through permitting inequality of outcomes if that system also ensures, to the greatest extent possible, equality of opportunity,” says Baillie. “And the most effective means of achieving that objective is by enhancing access to education.”
ALUMNI MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Charles Baillie and his wife, Marilyn Baillie ’65, met at Trinity when he was in his last year and she was in her first. “Charlie was head of everything—he was amazing,” remembers Marilyn, acknowledging that Charles’ living in residence (she did not) may have enabled him to become more involved in campus life than she was.
Now parents of four and grandparents of six, the Baillies will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary this June. Among their shared interests is a passion for education:They were active supporters of their children’s university degrees, and provided as many opportunities as possible for enrichment through travel. More recently, they have instituted a “grandparents’ trip”—planned and experienced one-on-one with each grandchild at age nine, and designed to broaden that child’s world view in one way or another.
Throughout their careers Marilyn and Charles have also supported education on a larger scale, in different ways—she as an educator, children’s magazine editor and award-winning children’s book author (see Book It!, page 26 for more on Marilyn’s most recent work), and he through a term as Chancellor of Queen’s University and through the creation of a children’s literacy program through TD during his time as CEO.
In 2014, the Baillies approached the College about creating a legacy of student support.The result is a $1-million gift to build an endowment that will provide bursaries for Trinity students in need of financial support to complete their education. “We try to provide larger gifts that can make an impact,” says Marilyn.
The first recipient of the Baillies’ support is a second-year student (who wishes to remain anonymous). Relieved of the pressure to cover her own education costs following a family illness, she describes the Baillies’ support as “a blessing. It has allowed me to continue to live in residence, stay involved on campus, and focus on my studies.The Baillies are a wonderful example of giving back, and I’m so grateful.”
“Marilyn and I believe deeply in the power of education to help people create their own success,” says Charles. “We want to help ensure equal opportunity to that education, and I think bursaries are the way to do it.”
HAVING THE FULL TRINITY EXPERIENCE
For Haley O’Shaughnessy, who was accepted into the coveted Margaret MacMillan Trinity One Program in their first year, bursary support has made a world of difference. After arriving on campus O’Shaughnessy “took a risk by not working” and became fully involved in campus life. Toward the end of the first year, however, O’Shaughnessy had gone through their hard-earned savings and was unsure of how to pay for second year.“There was so much stress at that time,” O’Shaughnessy recalls.
O’Shaughnessy applied for the William and Nona Heaslip Scholarship, established to provide continuing funding for Trinity College students who have financial need, strong but not necessarily outstanding academic performance (minimum 3.0 CGPA), and good community participation. The award grants up to six students $15,000 per year each, and is renewable for the third and fourth years of study as long as recipients continue to demonstrate financial need and community involvement.
For O’Shaughnessy, being chosen for the Heaslip Scholarship was “a lifesaver.” Although they still work 12 hours a week to make up the $5,000-plus shortfall between scholarship and fees, they are also able to participate in campus life (O’Shaughnessy is part of the Trinity College Meeting and the History Students’ Association, and is president of Rainbow Trinity) and has taken advantage of internship opportunities during the summer.
Sarah Harrison, who is completing her second year in Public Policy and International Relations, says receiving the John Harvey Whiteside Scholarship (also $15,000 per year for up to three years if grades and community involvement are maintained) has enabled her to get fully involved in campus life.
“I go to high table almost every Wednesday,” she says. She is also involved in the Debating Club, the International Relations Society and was recently elected Female Head of College for 2015/2016. “Being part of the Trinity One program in my first year inspired me to pursue public policy,” says Harrison, who is already looking at Trinity scholarships and bursaries that could support her dreams of a Master’s degree in Public Policy followed by a Law degree and a role in government policy development. “I’m interested in climate change and sustainability, and I believe government has a responsibility to craft policy with a long-term outlook on the environment.”
For Trinity Provost Mayo Moran, students like Harrison and O’Shaughnessy are perfect examples of why Trinity needs to increase its funding for student support. “We have to not only keep pace with the growing need, but do more for our exceptional students,” she says. “Trinity students are incredibly smart and ambitious.They have many avenues open to them, and most of those involve education costs.We don’t want to hamper their ability to access any opportunities.”
A TRADITION OF GIVING
The Baillies’ endowment builds on the College’s long history of alumni supporting the next generation. Nearly $1 million is given to Trinity students annually, roughly one-third of that in bursaries.
Donor support has also enabled the College to build connections with peers around the world, says Neelands, citing Reverend Jojo Entsiwah as an example. Reverend Entsiwah (MTS ’12), a priest of the Anglican Church in Ghana and a faculty member at St. Nicholas College in Cape Coast, came to Trinity on a full bursary to pursue his Masters of Theology a few years ago.
“Our relationships with colleges in Africa are very precious,” says Neelands, “and student exchanges help us to build bridges.”
“The difference that Trinity College has made in the life of the Anglican Church in Canada and around the world is immeasurable,” adds Bishop Poole. “There are people all over the world who bring a Trinity grounding to everything they do.”
For his part, Rev. Entsiwah, who is currently ministering in Toronto before returning to Ghana, says, “I have benefited from exposure to so many different worlds and perspectives. And I wouldn’t have been able to come to Trinity in the first place without the support I received.”
“Trinity is incredibly fortunate to have alumni and friends who donate every year to support students,” says Alana Silverman, Executive Director of Development and Alumni Affairs. Gifts like the Baillies’ $1-million endowment have a large impact (that gift alone will generate $40,000 in bursaries each year, increasing the funds available to Trinity’s undergraduate students by 11 per cent), but she stresses that there are many opportunities to make a difference.
“For donors who wish to create a personal legacy for themselves or their families, a named endowment can be established for as little as $25,000, given over five years,” she says, adding that in the U.S. such legacies typically cannot be created for less than $100,000.
But the smaller donations given each year by alumni through Reunion and other events are just as meaningful as larger gifts to the students who receive them, says Silverman. One such example is SuJung Lee, a fourth-year student studying Economics with a specialization in Philosophy, who would like to apply to law school and hopes to write her LSAT in June.
Lee, who receives funding from OSAP (the Ontario Student Assistance Program), holds down a part-time job on campus, and has applied for Trinity bursaries every year, says, “You have no idea how much a $500 or $1,000 bursary means to a student like me.” She would like to apply to law school and hopes to take the LSAT in June, noting,“It takes $200 plus the cost of books just to write the LSAT. And law school applications are, minimum, $80 each.”
For more information on how you can support Trinity’s students, please take advantage of the self-mailer in this issue, or contact Alana Silverman (416-978-0407, firstname.lastname@example.org).
— Jennifer Matthews