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Taking pride in and supporting diversity at the U of R

By University Advancement and Communications Posted: September 13, 2021 5:00 a.m.

Gifts for awards such as the Black Teachers Matter Scholarship show how donors are helping create a diverse and inclusive U of R
Gifts for awards such as the Black Teachers Matter Scholarship show how donors are helping create a diverse and inclusive U of R Photo: stock

Donors to the U of R share in the University’s commitment to creating and promoting a more equitable system that fosters diversity and inclusion. 

This commitment to well-being and belonging was no more evident than in the $25,000 donated by Agnes Stephanson-Cooke to endow the Black Teachers Matter Scholarship in 2020 – an award that will support a Black undergraduate student in pursuing a degree in the Faculty of Education in their final year. 

“It’s a huge commitment by Agnes to trust us and our faculty and our university to carry forward this gift with her name,” said Dr. Jerome Cranston, Dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina. “It brings me tremendous joy to know that there are people like Agnes out there. Her foresight and her willingness to have her name associated with this gift is huge.” 

Dr. Cranston was quick to give credit to his Faculty of Education colleague Stephen Davis, who came up with the concept and name of the award. 

“I felt that this was needed to recognize the important role of Black educators in Saskatchewan and celebrate the brilliant and gifted educators that we have at the University of Regina,” Davis said. Both Dr. Cranston and Davis recognize the enormous impact that the award will have. 

“Representation matters. We don’t only need Black teachers for Black students, we need Black teachers for white students,” Dr. Cranston said. “This award is going to support changing the teaching workforce and it's going to do it in a way that even further identifies the U of R as a place where we are inclusive, and we are respectful.” 

The UR Pride Centre for Sexuality and Gender Diversity’s mission is to create a foundation for a safer, healthier, and more vibrant community for sexually and gender diverse people in the city of Regina and at the University of Regina. 

The staff provides various supports and resources to the LGBTQ2S+ community, who face enormous barriers both before and during their time at the U of R. 

Executive Director, UR Pride, D. A. Dirks said that some of the people they help have been cut off from families and bullied in their elementary and high schools, and that they come to the University needing financial, emotional, and academic support. 

To help with the financial barriers, the UR Pride Centre established the UR Pride Centre Bursary in 2018 – a $5,000 pledge payable over five years in five installments of $1,000 for an undergraduate student in any faculty at the University. 

“These kinds of seemingly small bursaries or programs can really have a large impact on a student’s experience and on their ability to pursue their education,” Dirks said. “Even if it is just removing the barrier to paying for one course, that can be the difference between dropping out and continuing on in their education so that’s why these small bursaries can have a large impact on students.” 

We invite you to read the 2020-2021 Donor Impact Report, which shares who some of our donors are, why they give and what mark they leave on the world – a world that is truly better because of their philanthropy.