A new program this fall will help Indigenous students at Brandon University make a successful transition to post-secondary life, and it is thanks to a large and generous donation.
Daphne Wagner and her husband David Green, along with their children Lita and Michael, have committed funding to launch the program, which will help Indigenous students entering business, science or health studies transition effectively to university life — and support them through the completion of their degrees.
“David and I believe that education is a powerful tool to improve lives, and enhance self-sufficiency, not only for the individual but for family and community,” Daphne said. “We are privileged to partner with Brandon University to increase the reach and efficacy of their existing programs.”
Wagner is an alumna of BU with degrees from the School of Music and the Faculty of Arts. She and Green have also previously funded a BU music bursary.
“We are very thankful for this extremely generous gift, which creates new ways for us to better support Indigenous students at Brandon University,” said Carla Eisler, BU’s Director of Advancement and Alumni Affairs.
The new program will be called the Al and Bee Wagner Indigenous Transition Program, after Wagner’s parents. Incoming students will also participate in developing an additional Indigenous name for the program.
“This is about supporting young Indigenous adults through their entire university journey, including academic and cultural resources, from their first entrance to university and on through a successful graduation,” said BU President Dr. David Docherty. “We know that, as a western, colonial institution, we do not always present a welcoming or familiar face to students with Indigenous backgrounds. I am so grateful to Daphne and David for their vision and their benevolence in helping us adapt to better serve these students.”
A coordinator for the Al and Bee Wagner Indigenous Transition Program will be hired in the near future to work with Brandon University, local knowledge-keepers, and Indigenous communities to create a program that will best suit the academic, cultural and community needs of BU Indigenous students.
The program is expected to launch in Fall 2020, and will start each year with a pre-orientation in August and will include academic tutoring and mentorship.
Wagner and Green’s donation is one of the largest ever received by BU. The gift will be delivered over the next five years and will fully cover startup and costs for those years of the program, as well as its regular assessment.