Supporting Bright Students
Arnold and Grace Rumbold
“We need trained, licensed tradespeople. NAIT is producing these people, and the fact that NAIT is continually expanding its facilities shows just how great the needs are.”
–Arnold Rumbold, Philanthropist
Former Electrical Contracting Estimator and volunteer with the Edmonton Radial Railway Society
Grace and Arnold Rumbold arrived in Edmonton from the Peace Country in 1958. Like many people back then, they embraced their community wholeheartedly. They bought a house in a good neighbourhood, raised a family, earned a good living and could be counted on to make life better for their fellow Edmontonians.
Arnold earned his Alberta Master Electrician licence and the Canadian Construction Association Gold Seal Certificate as an electrical contracting estimator. It became the foundation upon which he built a rewarding career.
In his mid-50s, he parlayed those skills into an entrepreneurial role, working as an independent custom estimator. It was a good move. He built a client base across the country, and enjoyed the opportunities. At age 70, he retired and decided to focus his energy in a different direction.
“I’ve always felt that during your lifetime, ideally, you spend the first 25 years training, the next 30 or 40 years earning a living and—if there’s time left—you spend the rest of your time giving back.” Eight years ago, when he crossed that last threshold, he decided that NAIT would be the primary focus for his philanthropy. Why?
First, he explains, he’s had an interesting and prosperous career. He wants others to have similar opportunities.
Second, he believes in the importance of educating men and women for hands-on, practical careers. He points out that many NAIT students already have degrees and yet land on the polytechnic’s doorstep for job-focused training.
Third, he knows how financially challenging it can be to take time away from work to study. No surprise, then, that one of the awards he supports is a bursary to offset tuition costs for students taking their electrical apprenticeships. He’s particularly keen on ensuring women find their place in the electrical trade.
There’s also a very pragmatic motivation: “Creating a bursary reduces your taxes. Why pay those taxes to government if you can help students—or for that matter, if you can help the symphony or the opera?”