He asked me, “how much do you need?”

Why was he so kind to her?

01 November 2021

Carol Page

Over 50 years later, Carol Ann Page still wonders. She never had the opportunity to properly thank the man who changed her life. That is why Carol created an “endowed fund” in his honour: the Dean H.T. Coutts Education Award.

Carol had always dreamed of being a teacher and enrolled at the U of A despite little support from her family. She was determined to succeed. She took on jobs, student loans, and stayed focused on learning.

She excelled in her studies. After her first year, she received a foreign exchange scholarship. While her family dismissed the opportunity, Coutts, the Dean of the College of Education, saw her potential and supported her selection.

“The foreign exchange scholarship was a wonderful experience,” says Carol. “It expanded my horizons and changed my life trajectory.”

Later, life at home became increasingly untenable and Carol realized she needed to get out to survive. She was working as much as she could, so went to Dean Coutts to find out if she could access any extra financial support.

That’s when Dean Coutts did something extraordinary. He opened his desk, took out his personal cheque book and asked, “How much do you need?”

“Dean Coutts’ gift in my fourth year made it possible for me to leave home, survive, and graduate (with Distinction).” It was life-changing.

As Carol reflects on her life as a student and educator, she still goes back to both acts of compassion on his part. “He opened doors for me twice and I did the work, realizing more potential than I could ever have imagined. I remain eternally grateful.”

“I think it’s important to pay it forward,” she says. “That’s why I wanted to put some money towards the U of A in support of students in similar situations.”

When Carol started thinking about her Will, she wasn’t sure where to start, or if she had enough money to make any difference. She called the team at the U of A and spoke to Julian Solberg. “Julian was amazing at helping me create the endowment.”

To other alumni Carol says, “Consider paying it forward as part of your legacy, or in honour of a difference-maker in your life.”