2020 Reflections: A heartfelt thank you to our alumni, donors and friends

Dear Nipissing University alumni, donors and friends,

As the final weeks of 2020 come to an end, we want to take this opportunity to send you a humble thank you. As this year progressed, it seemed that every month brought new challenges as a result of COVID-19. However, despite these challenges, our alumni, donors and supporters have been right beside us, every step of the way. This year, you kept reaching out to ask how you could help and each time you showed up with your support when and where it was needed most, resulting in 560 gifts to the University in 2020.

This year was unlike any in our lifetime. Nipissing is a small school with a big heart, and there has been no better illustration of this than in 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in financial hardship for many, and our students are no exception. In response, Nipissing launched a Student Emergency Fund to provide urgent financial assistance to students unable to cover immediate, essential expenses as a result of the crisis. This fund was made possible with an initial commitment of $100,000 from our Alumni Advisory Board, and by contributions from donors like you. To date, we have been able to support over 380 students experiencing hardship as a result of income loss, housing insecurity, lack of family support, urgent travel, medical expenses, technological challenges and food insecurity.  The applications from students enrolled in our nursing program were twice the amount of applications from any other program, with the majority of support directed to first year students. We invite you to read a few examples of the impact this effort made in the lives of our students.

Nipissing provides financial assistance for our students through 2,400 scholarships, bursaries and awards totalling $4.5 million. Earlier this year, the University saw record attendance at our annual Donor Social, a celebration that connects donors with the students receiving their support. Nipissing continues to focus on access and equity for students who, without interventions and support, might not otherwise participate in post secondary education. This area of need increases every year. This year, you helped increase the opportunity for financial assistance for our students, with the establishment of six additional donor-funded awards and bursaries, totalling over $110,000.

Throughout 2020, we have also seen our long awaited Student Centre rise out of the ground, and into our hearts. This building is a culmination of the support of students, donors, alumni and community supporters and offers a space that not only our campus community, but our North Bay community, can be proud of. When it is safe to do so, we look forward to celebrating the official opening of the student centre with NUSU where we can share stories of the impact this Centre will have on the lives of our students and the communities we serve, all made possible by supporters like you.

Nipissing University is seeing increasing levels of alumni who are getting involved as volunteers, mentors and ambassadors for the University through the NU Café. Alumni are seeing the value of staying connected with the University at every life stage, and are inspiring increased pride and greater understanding of Nipissing’s mission and impact. The result of this engagement, pride and support is benefiting every aspect of the University and empowering our students and faculty to push the limits of knowledge, challenge the status quo, and tackle the issues that we care about most.

At Nipissing, giving is never just about the money. We have seen our community and supporters give with their time, knowledge and resources in order to assist the University as it adapts to existing social, cultural and economic realities while keeping the success of our students at the heart of what we do.  We see the results of these contributions as we look to the future to strengthen our role as a city-builder and community connector, educate the next generation of leaders, and catalyze new ideas for a healthier, more sustainable and prosperous society. While we still have important work ahead of us and many critical targets to reach, the University is grateful for the visionary support of our donors, alumni and friends. This tremendous goodwill is helping ensure that Nipissing has the resources to look to the future, serve the needs of Northern Ontario, meet today’s local and global challenges and prepare tomorrow’s global citizens.

Although these past several months have been difficult, and there will likely be more challenging days ahead, we remain grounded in our commitment to advancing education to transform our communities, and educating citizens to contribute to a future we can all be proud of. We couldn’t do this without the support of our alumni, donors, supporters and friends like you. And for that, we will be forever grateful.

Wishing all of you and yours the best for a safe and healthy holiday season.

Cristin Christopher


Cristin Christopher

Cristin Christopher
Director, External Relations