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November 18, 2011

University of Calgary Launches Student Leadership Program

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A unique three-year pilot program that will enhance current student leadership development on campus officially launches this week at the University of Calgary, thanks to a $2.5 million donation from Calgary entrepreneur John Simpson and his family.

"The Simpson family’s commitment to cultivating student leadership aligns seamlessly with our goal of ensuring our students graduate with leadership development opportunities that will help them become future leaders," says University of Calgary President Elizabeth Cannon. "This gift will help us achieve our vision of becoming one of Canada’s top five research universities, grounded in innovative learning and teaching and fully integrated with the community of Calgary, by the university’s 50th anniversary in 2016," she says of the university’s ambitious strategic direction, Eyes High, which was announced this past September.

The gift from the CANA Group of Companies’ president and director will be used to centralize and co-ordinate leadership activities on campus through one cohesive program. The goal of Leadership and Student Engagement is to provide all undergraduate and graduate students with the opportunity to gain valuable personal and professional leadership skills they need through various training and mentorship programs, community service-learning and other support throughout their university career. Already, more than 15,000 students have participated in some aspect of the program, which is the only one of its kind in western Canada.

The Simpson gift will be formally celebrated this Thursday evening at the opening reception for the fifth annual Canadian Conference on Student Leadership (CCSL), one of the many initiatives the program supports.

More than 200 student leaders from 26 post-secondary institutions across the country are expected to attend the national conference, which will be held on campus for the second time since its inception in 2006. Students will enhance their leadership skills, learn and discuss relevant student issues and be inspired by community leaders through student-facilitated workshops, networking activities and keynote speeches from entrepreneur and philanthropist, W. Brett Wilson and author and activist Conor Grennan.

The CSSL takes place at the University of Calgary from Nov. 17 - 20, 2011.

The Canadian Conference on Student Leadership (CCSL) was founded by student leaders at Wilfrid Laurier University in 2006. The conference brings students and professional leadership educators from across the country to meet and discuss student and student related issues as they pertain to leadership. For more information on the Canadian Conference on Student Leadership visit

Read the original news article from U of C here.

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