The Fanshawe College community grieves the loss of Catherine Finlayson, Executive Director of the Fanshawe College Foundation and the Advancement & Alumni Office. Catherine was a dedicated philanthropist, an extraordinary fundraiser, a generous friend and a gifted professional.
A proud journalism graduate from Western University, Catherine worked previously at London Life, the Richard Ivey School of Business, London Health Sciences Foundation and KCI Ketchum Canada.
Catherine joined Fanshawe in 2005 and in 2008, she launched the Fanshawe College Foundation where her spirit of collaboration facilitated numerous productive and enduring relationships for the College. The alliances she forged with industry and the public and private sectors have been a vital force in the ongoing success of the Foundation. In her volunteer role as Chair of the Advancement Committee for Colleges Ontario and as a Director on the board of the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education (CCAE), Catherine was celebrated across the province and Canada for her extensive background in nonprofit organizations, volunteer management and fundraising campaigns.
Locally, Catherine served most recently on the boards of the Western University McIntosh Gallery and the Fanshawe College Alumni Association. She also played pivotal roles on the boards of the Museum London Foundation, the Port Stanley Festival Theatre and the McCormick Care Group. Throughout her remarkable career, Catherine earned numerous professional honours as a community builder.
Catherine's generosity of spirit was evident in the lives she touched as a loyal friend and mentor. People from all sectors felt accepted, supported and inspired by her caring – exemplified by her always having time to encourage others.
Students and education were central to Catherine's being and she told the Fanshawe story with heart and tenacity. Every challenge was an opportunity. Her distinguished achievements are reflected in the thousands of students who benefited from the scholarships and bursaries created under her leadership. Catherine's greatest achievement was celebrated earlier this year with the successful completion of the Remarkable Campaign with over $110 million raised – the largest college campaign in Ontario history.
Catherine worked tirelessly and selflessly to do the right thing, displaying an unassuming grace and dignity throughout her career. Her extraordinary impact on our community will be deeply felt and celebrated for years to come. The Fanshawe College family extends its deepest condolences to Catherine's husband Jim MacNeill, her four children and beloved grandchild.
About the Adventure Expeditions and Interpretive Leadership program
Catherine had a great love of the outdoors and has requested donations in her memory be directed to help support this growing program.
The Adventure Expeditions and Interpretive Leadership program is a unique opportunity offered at the Simcoe Campus and prepares students for the dynamic and complex eco-tourism industry. Students study marketing, business strategies, along with ecological and science-based courses in flora and fauna, geology, adventure guiding, environmental interpretation and education, management of national and heritage of natural areas, and wilderness first aid. Students graduate with a holistic view of the natural world, with knowledge of the conservation, tourism, and business sides of the eco-tourism industry.
When finished the program, the students have the skills to develop and manage resorts, trails, and interpretive projects.