May 23, 2018

Major donation creates awards promoting cross-cultural connections with China

Joe and Cindy Leung's gift will fund prestigious international student scholarships
University of Calgary President Elizabeth Cannon, second from left, with  Vice-Provost (International) Janaka Ruwanpura, left, and major donors Cindy and Joseph Leung.

Elizabeth Cannon, second from left, with Janaka Ruwanpura, left, and donors Cindy and Joseph Leung.

University of Calgary

A philanthropic gift from Joseph (Joe) and Cindy Leung will help the University of Calgary attract students from China, including Macau and Hong Kong, and fuel opportunities for current students to study and acquire international learning experiences.

The $600,000 gift establishes UCalgary’s most prestigious entrance award for international students from China. Received through Energize: The Campaign for Eyes High, it will provide $20,000 per year — renewable for four years — to a student in financial need graduating from a high school in China.

A second award of up to $20,000 will be available to students embarking on one of the university’s many travel study programs in China including Macau and Hong Kong. The quantity of awards presented will depend on the number of applications received.

“Education is a main driver of success. I believe that we all have a duty to learn, earn and return,” says Joe Leung. “Students need to have international experiences to understand and respect cultural differences. This will enable them to work effectively in today’s global world.”

Adds Cindy Leung: “We want to encourage others to join us in supporting bright students to experience the world and make a difference.”  

Vice-Provost (International) Janaka Ruwanpura says the Leungs' gift will help students gain international learning experiences and support UCalgary’s vision to become a global intellectual hub. “It makes a tremendous impact by empowering exceptional student experiences, and cultivates interest in our initiatives to fuel cross-cultural educational initiatives,” he says.

Joe Leung has robust, long-standing connections to the University of Calgary. As president and CEO of Marquis Communities Development Inc. and president of Environcon Systems (Western Ltd.), Leung shares his leadership and knowledge in a wide range of roles on campus and in the community. He was a member of the university’s senate from 1999 to 2005, a member of the Engineering Associates Program at the Schulich School of Engineering, and he served on the strategic board for the Faculty of Environmental Design.

He also served on the university’s International Business Advisory Board, helping to connect and build international partnerships. Leung was instrumental in bringing and financially supporting the Alta de Lisboa, leading UCalgary engineering and environmental design students to winning awards for projects from 2002 to 2004.

“We thank Joe and Cindy for their generosity and vision, which will strengthen international ties and elevate UCalgary student experiences,” says President Elizabeth Cannon. “Their gift exemplifies the spirit and leadership of our philanthropic family who have taken this campaign past the $1 billion mark. It’s a remarkable gift, and our campus community is inspired by their passion to fuel meaningful change.”

Find more donor stories and information about Energize: The Campaign for Eyes High.