Ryerson’s History Department—just like the University itself—is on the move. We are adding new faculty, expanding our course offerings, and playing a major role in the new Arts and Contemporary Studies (ACS) BA programme. In the Fall of 2006, in response to student demand, we launched our first ever History major at Ryerson. A stand-alone degree in History is coming soon.
Our momentum and opportunities have been great. In November 2005 I was named “Ontario’s Best Lecturer” by TV Ontario after the show Big Ideas ran its first “Academic Idol” search. This was, of course, a great honour for me, but it was really a reflection of the Department and its faculty members, past and present. Mostly it was about Ryerson students, without whose enthusiasm, curiosity and dedication we would not have such a great university.
TD Meloche Monnex generously sponsored the “Best Lecturer” series with a $10,000 award to the winning university. Starting with this $10,000, I have been building an award fund that will send an ACS student every summer to take history and/or international relations courses at universities overseas. Former and current faculty and, wonderfully, some students themselves have generously contributed to the fund. They see great value in providing this kind of unique opportunity, and simultaneously helping enhance Ryerson's international image. It is with this in mind that I ask you to consider making a tax-deductible donation to our new History Travel Award Fund.
We have asked our own students to help us develop this project and their reaction has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic. Right now we have an agreement to send students to the Freie Universität Berlin International Summer (FUBiS) programme—one of the most prestigious schools and programmes in Europe. We sent our first ever Award winner, Julian Reid, in the summer of 2007 and followed that by sending Samantha Stevens-Hall in the summer of 2008. Both had excellent experiences and represented Ryerson in the best possible fashion. Plans are to expand opportunities like this involving other programmes and schools abroad. The Award is also designed to provide the student with some additional funds to help them travel Europe before or after their studies at FUBiS. This life-changing experience for the students will enhance the reputation of the Department and Ryerson as a whole.
Our goal is to raise a minimum of $100,000 in order to create an endowment that can support the History Travel Award in perpetuity. We have received some support from friends of the department, but much more is needed. Your gift will ensure that future generations of Ryerson ACS and History students will have this opportunity to take intellectually rigorous and enriching courses while being exposed to another culture and language. The Ontario Trust for Student Support (OTSS) will provide matching funds at a rate of $1.66 to every $1 raised and plans for additional fundraising are on-going.
Please help give our students this chance of a lifetime and join us in making this unique opportunity a permanent part of the Ryerson University experience. The fund is now called the History Travel Award pending our fundraising drive. We hope to name it in accordance with the wishes of our biggest donors!
You can contribute to this fund by donating on-line to Ryerson at www.ryerson.ca/supporting/giving and indicating that your support should be directed to the History Travel Award. Further information on donations can be found at the above website, but if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you from me, the Department of History, Ryerson – and of course from our students!