Bow Valley College donor Ross Glen presented with honourary diploma

Ross Glen’s journey as a Bow Valley College donor and partner in student success began in 2011 with a $1 million gift from RGO Products Ltd., the company he founded 1966 and remained president of until stepping down in 2016. An additional $500,000 was committed in matched funds from the Government of Alberta’s Access to the Future Fund which was instrumental in establishing the Financial Need Bursary Endowment. The fund has since supported 403 student recipients by providing 484 bursaries totaling more than $410,000 in emergency financial support. The RGO Library and Learning Commons was named in recognition of this generous gift.

On December 8, Ross was presented with an honourary diploma at the Fall 2023 convocation ceremony to acknowledge his incredible commitment to student success through his many years of generosity to Bow Valley College. Both Ross and his daughter, Cathy Orr, who took over his position as president of RGO, were present for the ceremony. Cathy, former Vice Chair of the Bow Valley College Board of Governors and a former member of both the Board’s Community Relations Council and the Open Doors – Open Minds Campaign Cabinet, offered remarks to the graduates on behalf of her father.

“Our family and Ross, have a strong connection to this place and to all of you,” she shared. “As a proud Calgarian and Albertan, he has always been willing and happy to support and champion causes that make our community a better place.”

Since his original $1 million gift over a decade ago, Ross and RGO have contributed a total of $1.7 million to several Bow Valley College initiatives including the Premier’s Scholarship, 1000 Women Rising – Finish Lind Fund, Community Leadership Awards, Linda Adams Memorial Award, Bert Foster Christmas Fund and the Academic Excellence Scholarship Endowment.

In addition to the diploma, Ross was presented with a Distinguished Citizen Award from Bow Valley College in 2014, honouring his work as Chairman of Bow Valley College’s Quest for Best campaign. He is also an enthusiastic supporter of other Calgary post-secondary institutions, including Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT), the University of Calgary (U of C), EducationMatters and Mount Royal University (MRU), which received a $1 million gift in 2006 and was recognized by a named space, Ross Glen Hall at MRU.

“RGO’s commitment to education has been unwavering,” said Cathy during her convocation address. “Beyond the boardroom, my father’s commitment to education is a cornerstone of RGO’s values. Removing barriers for students, ensuring they can focus on their studies and make a meaningful impact in our community remains a priority for us.”

Most recently, Ross personally contributed a gift of $500,000 in summer 2023, in support of establishing the Ross Glen Practical Nursing Bursary fund. These funds will make a pivotal difference in removing barriers and providing support for students entering the Practical Nursing program. In recognition of this generosity, RGO will remain a named supporter of the RGO Library and Learning Commons for the next five years.

“As a family, we have personally witnessed the invaluable contributions of healthcare workers – graduates just like you – who tirelessly provide crucial care to families facing health challenges,” said Cathy. “Whether in hospitals, pharmacies, doctor’s offices, or other healthcare spaces, we are immensely proud to support your noble efforts.”

Here are what student recipients of Ross Glen’s generous contributions to Bow Valley College have said:

“Thank you for selecting me for the financial need bursary. I am studying to become a Medical Office Assistant where I hope to find a job doing what I love, which is working with children and families. I am interested in helping others and bringing light and positivity to those around me.”
– Sierra Copeland

“Thank you for the Emergency Needs Bursary. I feel the honour to be part of this year’s recipient list. I come from a non-medical family background, and my parents came here from India to lead a life full of opportunities. I am an aspiring Pharmacy Technician. I wish to work at the Alberta Health Ser vices pharmacy one day so that I can make my parents proud. My parents taught me to be persistent and achieve my dreams, and this bursary will assist me in achieving my dream of becoming a pharmacy healthcare provider.”
– Tarandeep Virk

“Thank you for establishing the Financial Need Emergency Bursaries at Bow Valley College. It is an honour to be a recipient of this bursary. I plan to continue to work hard to pursue my dream of becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse, and hopefully someday upgrade to become a Registered Nurse.”
– Rochelle Jewel Idio