KAMLOOPS—BMO Financial Group today announced a donation of $750,000 to Thompson Rivers University (TRU) to fund awards for Indigenous students and support their undergraduate research. The gift is a significant investment in Indigenous learners, who represent about 10 percent of TRU’s student population.
“We are grateful that BMO has dedicated this funding to advance the work Indigenous students are doing to achieve at their highest potential,” said TRU President and Vice-Chancellor Brett Fairbairn. “As a university, we have a responsibility in reconciliation. That includes honouring our relationship with the Secwépemc people on whose lands we reside, reducing barriers to post-secondary education and ensuring our learning community is a place where everyone truly belongs. Today’s announcement creates more opportunities for Indigenous learners to succeed.”
BMO is dedicating $400,000 to student awards for the Knowledge Makers, an award-winning mentorship program that guides Indigenous researchers starting at the undergraduate level. A second set of awards totalling $350,000 for the School of Nursing, will support Indigenous students across various health-care programs in Kamloops and Williams Lake. The donation contributes to TRU’s Limitless campaign to raise $50 million, pushing the total beyond $46 million to date.
“BMO values its long relationship with Thompson River University. We are honoured to support Indigenous students through scholarships and awards. Education is one of the three pillars of BMO’s commitment to Indigenous communities,” said Paul Seipp, head of Business Banking, Western Canada, BMO Financial Group. “Our actions and progress against these pillars and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Call to Action 92, are guided by our Indigenous advisory council and employee Sharing Circle and continue to be a priority for BMO.
With one of the highest percentages of Indigenous students in British Columbia, TRU has made a renewed commitment to honour truth, reconciliation and rights, while recognizing its responsibility to improve education attainment levels and to close educational and employment gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians as laid out in the Truth and Reconciliation calls to action.
BMO Financial Group has also committed to progress reconciliation for Indigenous peoples through three pillars that are guided by a council of Indigenous leaders nationwide and respond to the Truth and Reconciliation calls to action for corporate Canada: education, employment and economic empowerment. This is achieved through supporting long-term sustainable economic growth for Indigenous communities, increasing Indigenous representation and advancement in its workforce, creating a culture of inclusion through the Sharing Circle, which advocates for and on behalf of Indigenous employees, and supporting community partnerships that advance Indigenous peoples through access to education, health care and more.
This donation brings BMO’s contributions to TRU’s Limitless campaign to $1.35 million. In 2013, BMO donated $600,000 to support the revitalization of Old Main. Since then, TRU students have started their post-secondary journey on BMO Student Street.
Kelly Hechler, Media Relations, BMO Financial Group
(416) 867-3996 | Kelly.firstname.lastname@example.org
Michele Young, Strategic Communications, Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University campuses are on the traditional lands of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc (Kamloops campus) and the T’exelc (Williams Lake campus) within Secwépemc’ulucw, the traditional and unceded territory of the Secwépemc people. TRU’s region also extends into the territories of the Stat’imc, Nlaka’pamux, Nuxalk, Tsilhqot’in and Dakelh.
The Knowledge Makers is an Indigenous research network that involves TRU faculty, staff, deans and Elders working together to mentor Indigenous students in learning to conduct and publish Indigenous research. The initiative, introduced in 2015, was recognized with a national teaching excellence award in 2019 for its commitment to Indigenous-led research. It brings together up to 15 Indigenous undergraduate students each year from across the university to learn how to “make knowledge” through a multi-modal approach.
TRU’s School of Nursing is home to the Indigenous Pathways for Health Careers initiative that offers Indigenous students individual assessment to identify their needs and strengths. This assessment aids students as they complete courses that encourage strong foundations for success in a degree or diploma program. Additionally, TRU’s nursing faculty are leading in the development of nursing curricula and practice informed by Indigenous knowledge as a guiding principle in undergraduate and graduate nursing education.