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Passing on the gift of education to future Hawks

Brenda Van Beers and her sons on a hike

Lippert Memorial Bursary helps ensure Laurier students can focus on being ‘seekers of knowledge’ during their educational pursuits

Brenda Van Beers is a mature student and single mother who attends Wilfrid Laurier University while also raising two young boys. The decision to leave her career behind to work towards a new one was difficult but one that she doesn’t regret. The third-year sociology major aspires to assist marginalized communities and it is through her education at Laurier that she plans on making a difference in the Region of Waterloo.

“My interests and hopes for a new career would be in social service work, hoping to help our most vulnerable citizens see their potential and skills they can offer to their community by assisting them to find valuable work,” says Van Beers. “I believe it is vital that everyone has the basic necessities such as food, housing and income and hope to work in an organization that values and supports people in need of such.”

With the help of the Herman, Winnifred and Kathryn Lippert Memorial Bursary, Van Beers has one less thing to worry about in her full life: working part-time to make ends meet as she pursues the next phase of her career. Instead, she’s able to balance a full-time education while still getting to spend plenty of time with her sons.

“Thanks to the Lippert Memorial Bursary, I was able to support their interests by enrolling them in extra-curricular activities such as swimming lessons and gymnastics. Additionally, we now spend more quality time together and began volunteering with an organization that provides hot meals to those in need every Saturday afternoon,” added Van Beers.

This is the kind of support that Kathryn Lippert (BA '46) envisioned providing future Golden Hawks when she set up her bursary back in 2004. A seeker of knowledge her entire life, which included a lengthy career with the Kitchener Public Library, Lippert believed in the value of education as an equalizing force and the bursary was a way for her to pay it forward, according to her step-daughter Karleen Waters (BA '85).

“My step-mother lived a good life and was very appreciative of everything she worked for,” says Waters. “She was very generous with both her money, as well as her time, and her strong roots in Kitchener-Waterloo meant that the university environment was a perfect way to provide a living legacy of her family.”

The Lippert Memorial Bursary continues to provide a wonderful example of the long-lasting impact that legacy gifts can have on the student population at Laurier, and the value of an inclusive community that supports and welcomes all students. This endowment has given over 400 students the opportunity to continue their love of learning while ensuring their focus can be on their studies and future career instead of on their personal finances. In fact, since the bursary’s inception, over $436,000 has been granted to students, including $35,000 awarded to 35 students during the 2019-20 academic year. Next year, $36,000 will be available to Laurier students.

Over $436,000 in grants awarded since inception

As the Lippert Memorial Bursary continues to make a positive difference in the lives of Laurier students year after year, Waters and her family look forward to thank-you notes from recipients and seeing first-hand how one person can make a difference in the lives of so many individuals.

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