The Sisters of St. Ann are establishing an endowment at the University of Victoria that will continue their legacy of providing education for young people most in need. The $2-million Youth in Care Student Award Endowment will cover the annual tuition costs for an undergraduate degree for up to 15 former youth in care.
“This generous gift from the Sisters of St. Ann is a legacy that will enable disadvantaged youth to pursue their life’s dreams through higher education,” said UVic president Jamie Cassels. “The sisters have ministered to community needs in B.C. for more than 150 years. The University of Victoria enjoys a long history with the Sisters of St. Ann and we are privileged to further their mission to educate young people who would not otherwise have access to post-secondary education.”
The Sisters of St. Ann founded their first school in Victoria in 1858 to deliver quality education and health care. The Roman Catholic women’s order dedicated themselves to establishing schools and hospitals across the province, freely providing these services to underprivileged new Canadians and Indigenous peoples.
“This gift represents our trust in the University of Victoria to carry on this vital aspect of our mission,” said Sister Marie Zarowny, provincial leader of the Sisters of St. Ann. “The university shares our conviction that post-secondary education be available to those most in need as well as to those whose families can support them.”
Lilia Zaharieva, who studies in the School of Child and Youth Care in UVic’s Faculty of Human and Social Development, is among the first students to receive a Youth in Care Award.
“The vision and generosity of the Sisters of St. Ann will help prepare me for a career working with children and youth where I can give back to the community in a meaningful way,” said Zaharieva.
Youth who have been in government care often have few financial resources. The Sisters of St. Ann gift creates an endowment in perpetuity. It builds upon a $217,000 UVic pilot program established last year, in response to a challenge from B.C.’s Representative for Child and Youth, to provide tuition waivers for students who have difficulty paying for post-secondary studies. An anonymous donor pledged $100,000 to match funds already set aside by the university. UVic continues to build this endowment and is also raising funds for the Youth in Care Living Expenses Award to help defray living costs.
UVic has a history with the Sisters of St. Ann dating back to Victoria College in the early 20th century. Many sisters are alumnae, having graduated from the teacher education program; one sister was among the faculty in UVic’s first school of nursing.
In 2008, to commemorate their 150th anniversary of service in B.C., the Sisters of St. Ann donated two $150,000 endowments to UVic, one for the School of Nursing and one for the Faculty of Education for nursing and teaching students in remote and rural communities.
In 2010, UVic purchased the property comprising Queenswood House of Studies and St. Ann Residence to address long-term needs that support the university’s academic mission in a location that’s within walking distance of the main campus.