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Embracing the SFU student experience

Alumnus Christian Cook

Alumnus Christian Cook is matter of fact when explaining her thoughtful decision to leave a gift in her will to SFU. “We need more people to go to places like SFU,” she says.

Christian, a self-described “woodsy cat,” chose SFU for her undergraduate degree in part because of its mountain setting. “I have very, very fond memories of SFU,” Christian shares as she reflects back on her SFU journey. "Seeing other mountains, inlets and oceans from up top on the campus is pretty remarkable. I always had thought, ‘Oh, my goodness, if I ever get to go to university, I hope it could be there."

Christian’s student experience wasn’t always an easy one. She encountered numerous obstacles that tested her perseverance and resilience, including the financial burden of paying for tuition and living expenses. Working multiple jobs to support herself, Christian didn’t have the luxury of being actively involved in campus life, even needing to leave class early to make it to work on time—with little to no time for non-academic campus activities or socializing.

“I couldn’t give up my survivor jobs, so in that way, it was a bit tough to engage in anything on campus other than classes and studying; university was a bit of a struggle,” she explains.

Now, as a professor of human resources in the Bissett School of Business and academic director of the Academic Development Centre at Mount Royal University, she has had experience volunteering with student clubs, community service learning, and case competitions to ensure students have the opportunity to have enriching educational experiences both in and out of the classroom.

Christian’s experiences as a student and teacher led her to make the generous decision to create an endowment through a gift in her will. Her endowment will provide students with much-needed funds to allow them to make the most of volunteer opportunities or other work integrated learning available to them at SFU. “I would really love to provide relief to some students so that they can fully embrace all of the awesomeness of university.”

Leaving a philanthropic legacy is a careful consideration, but for Christian, the opportunity to make a lasting impact through a legacy gift was both easy and immensely gratifying. “Making a bequest gift is one of the best investments you could make. I couldn’t think of a more trusted place than SFU to give my money to,” she says.

Christian has a strong belief in the transformative power of charitable giving and the immense potential it holds for advancing education for future generations.

When making the decision about leaving a gift in her will, she shares, “I thought about all the places that I have affiliations with but it’s the personal connection that SFU has with their alumni that helped me realize how very much SFU means to me. The leadership at SFU has been steadfast and thoughtful and I know that there’s such a great future for SFU and its graduates. So, this is very much a future gift. I feel really confident that SFU will steward my gift, and in their commitment to students, I see my gift being used wisely.”

To any donors considering joining Christian in leaving a gift in their will, Christian shares:

“Do it! I think that it is one of the best investments you could make.”

This story is part of our summer 2023 edition of Engage, our magazine celebrating the impact of SFU’s donor community.
To read more stories, please visit the Engage landing page.