UVic Torch -- Fall 2004
Autumn 2005,
Volume 26, Number 2

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Maurice Summerhayes and his daughter Phyllis, in the 1920s.

WHEN SUSAN PERKINS, A SINGLE MOTHER OF TWO, thought about going to university the “sheer terror” of potential debt caused her to think twice about taking up software engineering studies. Three years into it, she’s well on her way to her degree. And now, because of a $3.6-million gift to the Faculty of Engineering, others in similar circumstances may not have to go through the same pre-registration turmoil that Perkins did.

The Summerhayes Memorial Fund, established by the late daughter of a Canadian engineering pioneer, will provide yearly financial relief to 50 engineering students plus a $20,000 annual graduate scholarship. “This gift will live on in perpetuity. A hundred years from now, students will be receiving Summerhayes awards,” said President David Turpin during the announcement of the gift.

The fund was left to the university by Phyllis Summerhayes, who passed away in Victoria in October of 2004. Maurice Summerhayes, Phyllis’ father, worked in gold mining in Ontario beginning in 1911 and later became president of the Ontario Mining Association.

The bequest came as a surprise to university gift planners, but it was in keeping with the Summerhayes family tradition of getting things done. “There was something about them, they made things happen,” according to the donor’s cousin, Marigold Vodden of England. She was among several extended family members who traveled from overseas to attend the announcement. It’s the largest single gift received by the university in support of student awards and scholarships.

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