Fanshawe College is delighted to announce that private donations totaling $500,000 will support a brand new Renewable Energies Technician program at the College's St. Thomas/Elgin Campus.
The recent donations come from two local sources: a contribution of $405,000 from the Estate of Dorothy Palmer, and a gift of $95,000 from the Alma College Foundation.
The money will be used to provide equipment and facilities for the program, which will train students to work with technology in the growing green energy sector. The program is anticipated to launch in September of 2012.
"We are proud to share in Mrs. Palmer's legacy by building a program that will provide opportunities in St. Thomas, help create and respond to needs in the renewable energy industry, and ultimately contribute to a healthier environment," said Lane Trotter, Fanshawe's Senior Vice President, Academic. "Mrs. Palmer has left an inspiring gift for all of us."
In addition, the special gift from the Alma College Foundation represents a legacy contribution from the residue of the Foundation that previously aimed to support Alma College in St. Thomas.
"Fanshawe is very grateful for the donations we have received from the Dorothy Palmer Estate and the Alma College Foundation," said Catherine Finlayson, Executive Director, Fanshawe College Foundation. "Through this gift from the Alma College Foundation we are creating a new program that will continue the fine legacy of education that was important to Alma College and its alumnae."
Dorothy Palmer was born in 1925 and was the only child of Fred and Ethel Ingram, who operated the "Elgin County House of Industry" from 1927 to 1942. A graduate of St. Thomas Collegiate Institute, she taught elementary school in Eden, Sparta, and St. Thomas. Mrs. Palmer lived her whole life as a resident of Elgin County. She died in June 2010.
Alma College was founded in 1877 and was an important private school for girls, operating in St. Thomas for more than 100 years and attracting students from around the world. In 1976, it was designated a provincial historic site to celebrate the school's centennial. The main building was destroyed by a fire on May 28, 2008. Before this unfortunate event, the Alma College Foundation was working toward funding a purchase and rejuvenation of the facility. With the main school building destroyed in the fire, Foundation members began to look around the community for other worthy causes to support. Education in St. Thomas was the priority, which encouraged the Foundation to help fund development of new programming at the St. Thomas Campus of Fanshawe.
With help from the Foundation and the Dorothy Palmer Estate, the Renewable Energies Technician program will provide students with a solid theoretical and practical understanding of evolving renewable energy technologies, with an emphasis on systems that harness and generate solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal energy. The program will also introduce general concepts in global climate change and energy conservation.
Andrew Gunn, in his dual capacity as Trustee of the Estate of Dorothy Palmer and President of the Alma College Foundation, expressed his satisfaction with this new initiative. "With the establishment of the Renewable Energies Technician program at the St. Thomas campus of Fanshawe College, the opportunity now exists for the City of St. Thomas to become recognized as a leading centre for the study of renewable energy in Ontario and indeed the whole country. As links are fostered with partners in the green energy industry, the economic benefit to our region should be substantial. I feel very fortunate to have been able to support this project. It is truly exciting to think of all the students from Elgin County and beyond who will benefit from this innovative and distinctive program."
"This is a very exciting program announcement for the St. Thomas/Elgin Campus of Fanshawe College," stated Heather Jackson-Chapman, Mayor of the City of St. Thomas. "The investment from the Dorothy Palmer Estate and the Alma College Foundation will help to create a one of a kind program that will attract students in a growing green energy field."