A Gift for Students in Need

16 November 2020

One summer day Dorothy and Darrel Sutton were taking their grandson to the Saville Community Sports Centre for a curling camp.

There, they met a University of Alberta staff person who told them about the challenges Indigenous students face. This meeting transformed the Sutton’s lives. It led to them making an enormous difference in the lives of hundreds of First Nation, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) students.

The Suttons knew about the tragedy of residential schools. So they wanted to start supporting FNMI students who wanted to earn degrees and return to their reserves to teach.

When Dorothy went to a blanket ceremony and joined a Women’s Pipe Ceremony at Enterprise Square on campus, she says it was “inspirational.”

There she met one student who “was a young married woman with three children and two jobs but still committed to getting a university degree. How canyou not help her?”

The generosity of the Suttons, and their compassion towards the most vulnerable in our society, is inspiring. Going forward, they will be able to help FNMI students with severe financial needs.

Sadly, Darrel died in 2018. But before he died he and Dorothy decided to support FNMI students after they both were gone. They added a generous bequest to their Will.

Dorothy got her BEd at the U of A in 1972 – one year after she married Darrel. They built a family business called BGE Indoor Air Quality Solutions, an air filtration company, which their daughter Roberta just took over. Their other daughter Kelly is an Akashic Records life coach and both of their daughters went to the U of A.

Dorothy says her daughters and their families are doing well. So, she and Darrel felt they could help others less fortunate. Many FNMI students will benefit long into the future from their extraordinary legacy, vision and kindness. 

Gifts in Wills, also known as bequests, make a tremendous difference, helping hundreds of U of A students in need each year. With the financial difficulty so many students face these days, with COVID-19 and the economy, your legacy will be a lifeline.

If you’d like more information on how to support students, like the Suttons have, please call Kathy Fitzgerald, 780-492-2616, the University of Alberta’s Planned Giving Director.