Annette Verschuren to Lead Fundraising Campaign to Construct

by NationTalk on June 25, 20082155 Views

For Immediate Release
June 25, 2008

(Sydney, NS) – On Wednesday, June 25 at 12 noon at the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre, Annette Verschuren, Chancellor of Cape Breton University and President, The Home Depot Canada and Asia, announced to a sold out audience her pledge to head a fundraising campaign to raise $5 million from private sources in support of the construction of a $20 million environmental research centre on the CBU campus.As the chair of this $20 million fundraising initiative, Ms. Verschuren is demonstrating her commitment to her community along with establishing an environmental legacy. Ms. Verschuren, further solidified her commitment to the project by committing to the largest single personal donation to CBU in more than two decades and the largest single donation by a living donor in the history of Cape Breton University. Her personal donation of $500,000 sends a strong signal to corporate Canada and to Canadian philanthropists of how serious she is as she chairs the national campaign.

With three levels of government investing in remediation at the Sydney Tar Ponds and Coke Ovens sites, these former industrial lands provide the opportunity for tremendous scientific research. This research centre will bring together expertise with a research focus in innovation in mine water management, environmental remediation and renewable and sustainable energy.

Ms. Verschuren, who was born and raised in North Sydney, knows the importance of a positive environment and is pleased about making this announcement in front of her friends and family. “It gives me great honour to stand in front of fellow Cape Bretoners to announce this project that will change the face of Cape Breton’s environmental standing. As Canadians we need to confront the challenge of environmental corporate responsibility and this project will help do just that.”

It is anticipated that this project will build strategic partnerships with a wide range of academic and other institutions in the region and beyond and will place special emphasis on training a new generation of professionals.

A strong coalition of local, provincial and national institutions currently support the establishment of this environmental research facility. These partners include:

• The Cape Breton Development Corporation
• The Sydney Tar Ponds Agency
• Nova Scotia Lands Inc.
• The Cape Breton Business Partnership
• Environment Canada
• Public Works and Government Services Canada
• Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation
• Various corporate interests

A commitment is also in place from the Cape Breton Development Corporation to endow a $1.7 million Chair in Mine Water Management. This key institutional function will operate from within CBU’s environmental research centre.

Cape Breton University’s reputation as Atlantic Canada’s premier leader in the education of Aboriginal Peoples will support and broaden the mandate of this environmental research facility. The University’s Aboriginal Science Program will be integrated to provide a publically acknowledged generation of First Nations environmental managers and scientists who will lead remediation projects worldwide.

As the chair of this $20 million fundraising initiative, Ms. Verschuren is demonstrating her commitment to her community along with establishing an environmental legacy that will potentially have global impact.

CBU President and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. John Harker is passionate about what this environmental project means for Cape Breton. “This marks an important announcement for Cape Breton University and, indeed, this project can potentially have global impact. I am confident that this project will make a positive and necessary difference in the environment and the economy as a whole,” says Harker.


Additional Information on Annette Verschuren:
Annette was recently appointed to the North American Competitiveness Council as part of the Security and Prosperity of North America by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. She also serves as Vice-Chair of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and is on the Board of Directors for both Liberty Mutual Group and the Conference Board of Canada. She was the 2007 Communicator of the Year award winner for the International Association of Business Communicators. Ms. Verschuren was also chosen as Wilfred Laurier University’s Outstanding Business Person for 2006 and in 2005, was the Distinguished Canadian Retailer of the Year for the Retail Council of Canada.

She also has been honored with two honorary Doctorates from Saint Francis Xavier University and Mount Saint Vincent University.


Kelly Rose
Communications Officer
Cape Breton University
t: 902-563-1638

Paula MacNeil
Manager of Fundraising
Cape Breton University
t: 902-563-1848

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