Thompson Rivers University

TRU alum dedicates legacy gift to future community leaders

  Posted on: August 15, 2019

Lorianna Bennett

TRU alum Lorianna Bennett is paying it forward to future students with a legacy gift to TRU.

Much has changed at TRU since Kamloops lawyer Lorianna Bennett enrolled in the Bachelor of Science program in 1990—but not everything.

Still the same are the small class sizes, knowledgeable faculty and directed study opportunities that made Bennett’s early education so memorable. Her desire to create a scholarship for future students—by leaving a donation to TRU in her will—is rooted in her own experience at her alma mater.

Though Bennett earned her law degree at the University of Alberta, her TRU Bachelor of Science degree holds a special place.

“I wouldn’t be here if not for TRU,” Bennett says from her Paul & Company office, where she is partner alongside her older brother, David Paul.

“I could have gone to a larger institution, sure. But I think TRU has been underestimated, and I believe people are finally becoming more aware of its value.”

In many ways, TRU represents home for Bennett—a university in her hometown, the one she and her husband both attended. It’s where she and her brother have taught as sessional faculty members, first in the School of Business and Economics, and then in the Faculty of Law. It’s where she expects her children to begin their post-secondary studies.

In 2010, Bennett was given a TRU Distinguished Alumni Award in community service for her work as a prolific volunteer.

“I want to recognize the institution that helped me, and I’ve always advocated for my clients who are looking to create a will to give to a charity, and to consider a charity that they have a connection to,” she said.

“I was the recipient of an entrance scholarship in 1990 and it covered my tuition for four years provided that I maintained a specified grade point average. That scholarship was a significant financial benefit so I worked hard to maintain it.”

That financial relief essentially enabled Bennett to later pursue law school with minimal debt.  After getting her science degree in animal biology, she was able to use her savings (that she would otherwise have spent on obtaining her four-year science degree) toward her law degree.  Bennett is now paying it forward by leaving a legacy gift to TRU in her will: a charitable contribution that will outlive her. She is directing the gift to an endowment fund that will be awarded annually to a science or law student who demonstrates community leadership skills.

“You can plan to leave a legacy while still providing for your family and that legacy can look different years down the road once your family is grown,” Bennett said. “There is no doubt TRU will always have a  place in my will. Whatever contribution I make, whether big or small, it’s nice to know that I’ll be giving something to assist our future generation of students.”

For information on planned giving, contact Director of Development Sarah Sandholm at ssandholm@tru.ca or 250-371-5702.