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Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops has promised to put a surprise $350,000 donation to good use.
The school was caught unawares when they learned a Lilloeet man, James Bain, had named TRU as the sole beneficiary of his entire estate.
He died in 2019.
Bain did not tell the university of his intentions and his will explained only that he wanted to fund bursaries for women in science.
TRU has now created an endowment with the cash which will fund at least 12 annual bursaries for science students.
“Not only was it a surprise, but it couldn’t have come at a more crucial time,” said Greg Garrish, TRU Foundation past president.
“If only Mr. Bain had known how profound his gesture would be. We are honoured to establish this legacy in his name.”
The first bursaries will be handed out in 2021.
“Women are doing great things in science, technology, engineering and mathematics/computer science (STEM) but we are still underrepresented in these fields,” said Catherine Tatarniuk, assistant teaching professor in the department of engineering and applied science.
“I believe grants, scholarships and awards specifically for women are the best way to guarantee more women pursue careers in STEM.”