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A memory that lasts

Deborah Kuehnbaum’s (BA ’70) best Laurier experience isn’t a golden memory – it's an ongoing joy.

Deb feels as connected to Laurier now as she did more than five decades ago when she graduated. She credits her connection with Laurier to her membership in the WLU Alumni Choir, which formed in the early 2000s when former Laurier Choir members from the 1960s and 70s reunited for a benefit concert in honour of member Keith Knights’ passing.

For more than 20 years now, the WLU Alumni Choir has been singing, socializing and raising money for students through the Keith Knights Memorial Award, the WLU Alumni Choir Voice Performance Scholarship and other initiatives. They reunite yearly to perform at Homecoming, as well as at many other concerts over the years, including Laurier’s 100th anniversary.

“I was thrilled when an old friend reached out to let me know the choir was reuniting … I’ve loved every minute of it since,” says Deb, an economics major and one of Canada’s first women to be hired as a student-in-accounts by one of Canada's large national accounting firms. She worked as a chartered accountant, controller and adjudicator until her retirement in 1997. “It’s what’s kept me connected to Laurier.”

Deb remembers in particular when nearly 100 members gathered in 2004, shortly after the formation of the choir, to reminisce while rehearsing and performing Gabriel Fauré’s “Requiem” in Kitchener, Ontario. “It was bittersweet as it was only some three weeks after my mother died,” she says.

A number of years after the choir was formed, Deb and her late husband were reviewing their own wills. The couple didn’t have any children or family in need, so they looked at other areas where they could make a difference. After some conversation, Deb’s husband remarked on how much joy the choir brought her.

Deb wholeheartedly agreed, acknowledging her deep connection to the choir and the Faculty of Music, even though she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the then School of Business and Economics.

Together, they took the next step and set up wills to provide one quarter of what remains after settling their estate to the Keith Knights Memorial Award, one quarter to the WLU Alumni Choir Voice Performance Scholarship and 50 per cent to the Faculty of Music to be used as needed.

Deb also regularly supports both academic awards established by the alumni choir and made a larger gift when the choir donated a grand piano to Laurier for use in events in the Paul Martin Centre and Senate and Board Chamber. Through the choir, Deb also supported the Faculty of Music’s capital fundraising campaign, Making Space for Music, naming a room in the Glen Carruthers Practice Studio wing.

A gift in her will just made sense. Knowing she is supporting areas that are so meaningful to her brings her great joy.

“The WLU Alumni Choir has kept me close to Laurier and it’s what makes me want to ensure the Faculty of Music remains strong,” says Deb.


If you are interested in making a bequest to Laurier, please contact Cec Joyal, Development Officer, Individual & Legacy Giving, Development & Alumni Relations   548-889-4864  |

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