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Why I give: 'To be a positive impact on someone's life'

Jenny De Guia created the Romeo and Eva De Guia Faculty of Arts Scholarships in memory of her parents

By Jacquie Moore

For Jenny De Guia, BA’99, making a philanthropic gift to the University of Calgary was, first and foremost, a personally gratifying act — and it also satisfied her desire to express gratitude in her professional life. De Guia is a senior communications advisor with UCalgary’s Development and Alumni Engagement team. She recently endured an unimaginably tough couple of years, losing her parents to cancer within 18 months of one another. Last week, she created a scholarship in her parents’ names — the Romeo and Eva De Guia Faculty of Arts Scholarship — whose $2,500 award will be matched by UCalgary as part of the current Giving Day initiative.

“Education was really important to my parents,” says De Guia. “Both of them earned university degrees in the Philippines, which was very difficult to do in a place where poverty is so rampant. My mom was a teacher and my dad had a business degree. They were really proud of me for getting my English degree.”

Campus Giving Program celebrates generosity

De Guia is one of a growing legion of staff and faculty who have quietly contributed time and/or treasure to various causes throughout the Energize campaign, which publicly launched last year. UCalgary has created a new Campus Giving Program to formally celebrate and thank her and the hundreds of other individuals on campus like her for their transformative gifts.

“Our faculty and staff contribute to the university’s success every day through their hard work and commitment to our Eyes High ambitions,” says President and Vice-Chancellor Elizabeth Cannon. “And many of these individuals also give back through philanthropic contributions. This new Campus Giving Program is a way of recognizing those closest to us — all of our faculty and staff — who are making a difference. We want to celebrate their dedication to helping others and shed light on the opportunities to contribute to the Energize campaign in a personal way.” 

De Guia says her decision to make a gift not only felt like a meaningful and practical way to honour her family, but the scholarship also serves as her official “thank you” to the university.

“When I was dealing with my parents’ illnesses, I encountered doctors, professors and students from the university nearly every day,” she says. “As just a person in the community — at the hospital and dealing with various medical professionals who were caring for my parents — I was completely amazed by the reach and impact of our university. It gave me such a sense of pride in the place I work; it was suddenly very clear to me how, by helping a student in any faculty, I’d be part of their eventual positive impact on someone else’s life.”

Program provides opportunity to thank campus community

The Campus Giving Program — by our community, for our community — begins in conjunction with Giving Day and follows with the opportunity between May and August to personally thank all faculty and staff, who, like Jenny De Guia, have supported the Energize campaign on their own initiative since it quietly launched in April 2011, or as part of Giving Day. Watch for more details about the program in September. Learn more about the Energize campaign.