Harnessing the power of education to create a legacy of opportunity

Published on September 21, 2022

Lucille MacPherson grew up in hardship and poverty during the Great Depression. A WWII widow and single mother, she became adept at doing a lot with what little she had -- and that included giving back to the community. 

“She lived frugally and invested wisely,” says her grandson Peter MacPherson, adding that Lucille demonstrated that philanthropy is not just for the wealthy. “It is an activity and choice of community-minded individuals.”

One of NAIT’s most philanthropic individual donors prior to her passing earlier this year, Lucille dedicated her life to helping others. Her incredible generosity will continue to support people in pursuit of a trades education for generations to come. She believed passionately in the value of education and its ability to create positive change in people’s lives.

Lucille volunteered teaching reading at the Edmonton Remand Centre and witnessed the impact trades education had on inmates upon their return to society. She believed a career in the trades allows individuals to provide a good life for themselves and their family. As a result, she established an endowment fund that supports multiple bursaries annually for apprenticeship students. 

Lucille viewed education as a powerful force for good, her family says, adding that it was important to Lucille that her resources benefit those in her adopted province of Alberta and that they were used to make a difference in society.

School of Skilled Trades dean Matthew Lindberg says Lucille’s legacy as an individual donor to trades education will have a lasting impact on generations of tradespeople. Each year, five bursaries are awarded to students in a variety of programs including construction, electrical and industrial trade areas. 

“Without support from Lucille’s endowment,” he says, “these students, some of whom are single parents or are children from single-parent homes, may not have been able to attend their program or may have struggled as they grappled with overwhelming financial pressures.” 

About NAIT   

The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is a leading Canadian polytechnic, delivering education in science, technology and the environment; business; health and skilled trades. With 35,000 credit and non-credit students and a 98 per cent employer satisfaction rate, NAIT grads are essential to the provincial economy. NAIT also contributes to Alberta's prosperity by helping business and industry become more competitive with Industry Solutions offered through its Productivity and Innovation Centre, including technology adoption, business and product innovation and industry-driven research. Recognized as one of Alberta's top employers, NAIT provides outstanding returns on investment for its graduates, partners, the provincial government and the people of Alberta.