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“Think Ahead” milestone: Boarding Campaign hits $14-million goal

It’s time to celebrate. Upper Canada College’s freshly revitalized, world-class boarding program has achieved its $14-million fundraising goal. This success is entirely due to the UCC community’s dedication and steadfast commitment to this “campaign within a campaign” that kicked off in 2011.

This news comes as the College concurrently announces it has sailed beyond $95 million and enters the final leg of the journey towards the $100-million Think Ahead Campaign goal. This is a groundbreaking achievement — supported in no small measure by the boarding campaign’s success.

“Boarding has long been a part of the school’s identity,” says Principal Jim Power. “The significance of this moment is that the program now stands as a true jewel in UCC’s crown. We’ve recharged and re-envisioned it as a truly great program. It’s all about giving extraordinary boys an extraordinary opportunity.”

Supporting key priorities, such as facility renovations, financial assistance and enhanced programming, the success of the boarding campaign could not have been achieved without the commitment of Old Boys and parents, and the determination of successive boards of governors and a long list of volunteers, faculty and staff. More than 550 donors contributed to surpassing the $14-million goal and donations keep rolling in as the College remains committed to the long-term health of the boarding program.

Boarding offerings now include an enhanced program of academic support from faculty, extra-curricular and weekend activities including more trips within the city and boarder-specific sports competitions; comprehensive facility renovations to both houses, including common and dormitory rooms; as well as financial assistance to ensure generations of outstanding boys, who would not otherwise be able to attend, may do so.

It’s no surprise that former boarders who cherish both the unique, lifelong friendships and life lessons that the UCC boarding experience promotes, came forth to lead the campaign. Blake Hutcheson ’80 and Martin Abell ’81 co-chaired the campaign, with the help of several key volunteers from Asia, United Kingdom, Canada and the United States, including Adam Markwell ’92, J.P. Mackay ’02 and Ari Kopolovic ’01.

“As a kid from Huntsville, I learned a lot about life and responsibility as a boarder at UCC,” Hutcheson has often said. “I’m extremely proud that this ‘campaign within a campaign’ has been such a remarkable success,” says the CEO of Oxford Properties Group Inc.

Besides the life lessons learned, the often used phrase “band of brothers” is used to describe the depth of friendships forged when 88 boys from 25 different countries and across the nation end up in the same house.

“I’m so proud that the community has come together to ensure its success,” says entrepreneur and community organizer Abell. “UCC boarding gave me one of my most treasured possessions—the friendships I’ll have for life.”

And the impact of the program’s revitalization extends to the entire school. “If you talk to any of the boys, one of the key things they love about the College is meeting boys from all over the world, and the strong representation from across Canada,” says Abell. “Housing a diverse group of boys, who can offer fresh perspectives in the classroom and socially, benefits both the boarders and day students.”

In all, it’s a remarkable finale to a long journey. The future of boarding at UCC was called into question in 2007, but overwhelming support by students, parents and alumni, in favour of keeping the program alive, convinced the College’s board of governors that it should continue, with a significant investment in both programs and facilities to keep pace with the rest of the internationally respected school’s offerings.

“I’m absolutely delighted to have seen the boarding campaign steered so effectively by so many committed individuals to such a successful finish. Thank you for your unwavering support,” says board chair Andy Burgess ’83.