In honour of Loyal Donor Appreciation Week, we are celebrating the impact our community of loyal donors has made on the University of Guelph. Today we are sharing the story of Irene Thompson proud alumna (2015), staff, and loyal donor of an incredible 20+ years to the University of Guelph (U of G).
Meet Irene Thompson
Irene has been working with the University of Guelph since 1983, which amounts to a remarkable 40-year journey. Initially, she joined the University with the expectation of staying for just five years, but as she became increasingly engaged with working alongside inspiring students, witnessing campus life, and collaborating with dynamic, knowledgeable, and creative colleagues, U of G became her professional home. Throughout Irene’s career with the U of G, she predominantly focused on collaboration with students, particularly in student housing and student affairs. She also had a brief stint in Alumni Affairs as Director, covering a parental leave. More recently, as a staff member on campus, Irene was elected to the University Board of Governors, where she served for six years. Presently, Irene is honoured to serve as the Interim Vice Provost, Student Affairs.
Over the years, Irene’s family has deeply embedded themselves in the University's vibrant life. Her children benefited from the childcare and learning center as well as Gryphon camps, and continue to enjoy supporting varsity athletes and campus cultural events.
A legacy of giving to the University of Guelph
Irene’s commitment to giving to the University of Guelph is rooted in a profound understanding of the transformative power a university education has in shaping the lives, careers, and civic responsibilities of our students.
“I've been fortunate to witness firsthand the impact of both monetary gifts and gifts of time on individual students. I choose to give to support our students through scholarships and bursaries to honor special individuals who have played pivotal roles in my life. My parents, Walter and Halina Slabikowski did not have the benefit of attending a post secondary education, but they always championed my pursuit of higher ed. Additionally, I honour the memory of my infant grand-daughter, Wrenleigh Wand.” - Irene Thompson, Interim Vice Provost, Student Affairs
Irene’s gifts aim to allow recipients to worry less about the financial strain of being a student and to focus on the opportunities, learning experiences, skill development, and meaningful connections that come with being part of university life. “I hope these scholarships help enable recipients to fully engage in significant aspects of student life, such as residing on campus or participating as residence life staff.”
Most memorable memories with U of G
With four decades of service at the University of Guelph, Irene shares numerous memorable moments. One that stands out more recently, is the response of Student Housing Services to the global pandemic declaration in 2020. The Student Housing Services team rallied together to provide support to several hundred international students who found themselves unable to return home. In a time of uncertainty staff created social networks, provided emotional support, supplied cooking utensils and essentials, and continually found innovative ways, both digitally and face-to-face, to support many students. Equally memorable was witnessing colleagues from various departments, including Hospitality, Physical Resources, Athletics, and Alumni Affairs and Development, coming together to lend their support in ensuring our students were well taken care of during these challenging times. It was a testament to the incredible sense of community and solidarity that defines the University of Guelph.
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