$100,000 Goal Achieved!

Laurine Harrison Endowment Fund


Laurine Harrison at SFU Convocation - June 2007 - Photo by Dale Northey (SFU LIDC)


Laurine Margaret Harrison

February 11, 1956 - June 17, 2007

To say Laurine was a remarkable person is an understatement.

In her 30 years as a member of the Simon Fraser University community, she touched countless lives. First, as the Coordinator of Cinema Simon Fraser, then as University Relations Fieldworker for the Student Society, and for the last 14 years as the Ombudsperson.

When she passed away in June 2007, her family, friends and colleagues came together to memorialize her contributions to the University and to create a means to ensure her contributions would continue long into the future.

The goal of Laurine Harrison Endowment Fund is to raise $50,000, which will be matched by Simon Fraser University for a total endowment of $100,000. This will fund, in perpetuity, two undergraduate student awards and one graduate student award. Any funds raised in excess of the $100,000 will go to increase the value and/or number of awards.

If you knew Laurine, please donate now to commemorate her and her work. If you didn't know Laurine, please read about her and consider making a donation to support SFU students.

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Union Donation Puts Fund Over the Top!

On June 17, 2009, the second anniversary of Laurine's passing, the Canadian Union of Public Employees local 5396, which represents employees of the Simon Fraser Student Society, voted to donate $15,000 to the Laurine Harrison Endowment Fund. With this donation, the fund has exceeded its initial goal of $100,000. This means that the three student awards established in Laurine's memory will be funded in perpetuity.

Kevin Harding, student member of the SFU Board of Governors and a member of CUPE 5396, said in an e-mail to his union brothers and sisters:

"Thanks very much for supporting the motion to donate $15,000 to the Laurine Harrison Endowment Fund -- the fund is now at 100%+ of its fundraising goal, meaning that it will be able to support awards for undergraduate and graduate students who are strong student leaders or who have overcome significant challenges in their lives. ... Like I said earlier, I can't think of a better way for us to commemorate Laurine and put our funds to good use. Laurine has left a legacy on campus, and I'm glad we are able to support it."

Laurine's partner Sue Cox and the group of Laurine and Sue's friends who worked with Sue to raise money for the endowment are deeply grateful to CUPE 5396 for this gesture.

Sue and her friends are also extremely grateful to all those people and organizations who contributed to the endowment since its inception two years ago. In addition to cash donations, many people contributed through the two cake auctions held to raise funds for the endowment and by way of planned giving, making provisions in their wills for future donations to the endowment.

Even though the initial fundraising goal for the endowment has been reached, donations are still more than welcome. Additional donations will be used to increase the value of the awards and/or create new awards.

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From the Oven, with Love

Loss of her partner moves Susan Cox to start a unique fundraiser

Burnaby Now
Wednesday, December 3, 2008

by Jennifer Moreau

When Laurine Harrison, 51, died of a heart attack in 2007, the Simon Fraser University community lost a key figure, and her partner of nearly two decades was in shock.

Harrison had worked with SFU for 30 years, and for 14 of those she was the student society's ombudsperson. And, for Susan Cox, she was a life partner.

"We were together for almost 20 years," said Cox, a faculty member with the University of B.C.'s applied ethics centre.

That's why, after Harrison's death, Cox decided to set up an endowment fund to help needy students with scholarships.

Her goal is to raise $100,000 so the fund can earn enough interest to be self-sustaining while paying out three student awards worth between $2,500 to $5,000.

To help raise money, Cox has turned to the kitchen. For the second year, she's baked 51 cakes to auction off in support of the fund - 51 cakes because that's how old Harrison was when she passed away.

All the cakes are made by Cox herself, using "only the finest" ingredients.

"They're mostly all Italian-inspired, because I like them to be more healthy," she said. Some recipes use olive oil instead of butter, for example. The cakes suit a variety of diets, including diabetic and vegan.

This year's culinary confections included a Tuscan orange cherry cake, a grappa pine nut and currant tart, a lemon polenta cake and two dessert risottos.

That Italian-inspired cuisine harks back to her relationship with Harrison and her ties to Burnaby's Italian community.

"We have a great love of Italian culture, food and wine," Cox said. "Living in the Heights neighbourhood, we did a lot of Italian cooking together."

This year's Nov. 29 event, held in Cox's North Burnaby home, drew 70 to 80 people and raised about $5,000. That brings the fund's total to about $86,000.

It was an Italian-themed night, featuring a performer of Renaissance songs, a belly dancer, wine, cheese and snacks. Local businesses Caffè Artigiano and Cioffi's Meat Market and Deli were both sponsors of the event, helping with donations and discounts.

The cake catching the highest bid was a chocolate chili pepper espresso tort, going for more than $200.

Erin Geary, who partly oversees donations at SFU, attended the cake fundraiser.

"(It was) a room full of people who loved Laurine Harrison, and that was palpable," she said.

While Geary didn't know Harrison personally, she sees the impact she had on the SFU community.

"I can tell from the number of gifts that came in, she was someone who was really important to the student community, to faculty and to staff," she said.

With memorial funds, it's typically families who donate money, but not the case with Harrison, she said.

"This was from a lot of different people across the university and the community," she said. "We had 80 different people make donations to this fund and 13 organizations."

Geary said Cox's fundraiser was innovative.

"She put so much work into it, and her creativity was just outstanding," she said.

Cox has baked extra cakes for those who could not attend, and she's auctioning them off online, with all proceeds going to the Laurine M. Harrison endowment fund. E-mail Cox for further details at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 604-762-7515.

See www.laurineharrison.ca for more details on the student awards and Harrison's life.

Cox predicted to reach the $100,000 mark by next year's cake auction. But even when she reaches her goal, she won't stop - she hopes to raise money through cake auctions for other charitable causes. To get on the guest list for the 2009 cake fundraiser, contact Cox.

© Burnaby Now 2008

Link to Original Story

Grads Rename Lounge to Honour "Best Friend"

The Peak
July 28, 2008

By Shara Lee, News Editor

Notables from across the University came together to honour and remember Laurine Harrison, the former ombudsperson of the Simon Fraser Student Society who died of a heart attack in 2007 at age 51. The room formerly referred to as the grad lounge in the Maggie Benston Centre was dedicated to her memory in a small ceremony last Thursday.

Family members and close friends, along with university administrators, Student Society directors and Society staff people were among the attendees to last Thursday’s dedication.

Michael Letourneau, a member of the Graduate Student Society emceed the event and began the commemoration detailing Harrison’s many contributions to the graduate students of Simon Fraser University in a compelling address. “Laurine’s been the best friend grad students could have at SFU,” he said.

Letourneau’s introduction was followed by heartfelt speeches from Sarah Dench, a University staff person, Women’s Centre Coordinator Nadine Chambers, and former SFSS Graduate Issues Officer Joel Blok.

During the speech given by Chambers, a family member of Harrison’s was moved to tears. “I just wanted to let you know that she is with us. We loved her so much,” said Chambers to Harrison’s family. “She was my touchstone here. I think we worked in similar ways.”

Blok acknowledged the contributions that Harrison had given to graduate students in particular. “It seemed really fitting to do something to remember all that Laurine did for grads,” said Blok, referring to Harrison’s lengthy career in the Student Society. Before becoming ombudsperson, Harrison held the now defunct position of SFSS University Field Worker in which she helped establish the Graduate Issues Council, an independent political forum for SFU’s grad students which served as the precursor to today’s Graduate Student Society.

Graduate Student Society President Clea Moray presented a $500 donation from the GSS to Harrison’s long-time partner Susan Cox for the Laurine Harrison Endowment fund. “I think it’s a wonderful tribute,” said Cox who originally met Harrison when she was still a student politician pursuing her graduate degree at SFU. Cox is now a professor of Applied Ethics at the University of British Columbia. Harrison’s endowment fund will provide three awards; two are designated for undergraduates, and one is designated for graduate students.

The website for the fund currently displays a thermometer which shows the amount donated. So far, almost 80 per cent of the site’s goal of $100,000 has been attained. While many graduate students have benefited greatly from Harrison’s services, as ombudsperson for 14 years, Harrison helped countless students, both grad and undergrad, navigate their way through all manner of academic crises including disputed marks, disciplinary appeals, and general problems with University bureaucracy.

“Right from the day that Laurine died, there was an incredible outpouring of calls, letters, and e-mails,” said Cox. “To this day I still get letters from both parents and students.”

The Peak’s opinions section editor J.J. McCullough, who formerly served as chief electoral officer of the SFSS was Harrison’s office neighbour for two years. McCullough was incredibly moved by the commemorative event. “When you go to these kinds of memorial things it’s often a bit cheesy because everyone’s always going on and on about how great the person was. But in this case, I think the rhetoric completely matches the reality,” said McCullough. “Laurine was such an incredibly caring, warm, and maternal woman. Even when she was alive, almost everyone who came into contact with her had nothing but wonderful things to say.”

*To donate to the Laurine Harrison Endowment Fund visit www.laurineharrison.ca*

Original article at http://www.the-peak.ca/article/3992

Caketastic Fundraising Event!

December 8, 2007

Sarah Dench Displays a Cake Up for Auction
Sarah Dench Displays a Cake Up for Auction
with Emcee Rob Clift in the Background

On December 8th, Laurine's friends and family gathered to raise funds for the Endowment Fund by participating in an auction of 51 cakes baked by her partner Sue Cox — otherwise known as "The Cake Lady". The event was a resounding success, raising almost $6,000 in cake sales and donations and surpassing the most optimistic estimates.

Sue Puts the Finishing Touches on a Cake
Sue Puts the Finishing Touches on a Cake

Why 51 cakes? Because Laurine turned 51 in 2007 and Sue loves to bake. The cakes were based on various Italian recipes, but each given its own unique flavour and personality by Sue. Top bid of the night was the $225 paid for "The Lady Godiva Bombe", a luxurious chocolate and raspberry creation.

Thea Hinds Announces Matching Funds from SFU
Thea Hinds Announces Matching Funds from SFU

The evening was financially successful in another way. Thea Hinds from the SFU Dean of Graduate Studies office announced that the University will match the first $50,000 raised for the fund, bringing the total value of the endowment to $100,000 when it's fully funded! This will ensure a substantial, permanent legacy to memorialize Laurine and her contributions to the SFU community.

Jodi Proznick Quartet
Jodi Proznick Quartet

The entertainment for the evening was provided by the Jodi Proznick Quartet. An accomplished and popular jazz musician, Jodi has known Laurine and Sue for several years and wowed the crowd with reworkings of old tunes and her own compositions. One of those compositions was a new song written to memorialize Laurine entitled "Espace", which brought the guests to their feet at the conclusion of its first public performance. Jodi plans on recording the song and including it on a future CD.

Sue Prepares the Cake Samples for Serving
Sue Prepares Cake Samples for Serving

Photos of the evening were taken by Sue and Laurine's friend, professional photographer Toby Snelgrove, and can be viewed in the Gallery section of his website.

Sue with the Food Prep Team - Jessica Easton (left) and Angela Hold (right)
Sue with the Food Prep Team
Jessica Easton (left) and Angela Hold (right)
Photos by Toby Snelgrove © 2007