The idea of the bursary fund developed at the annual golf tournament held by Calgary alumni each autumn. Spearheaded by Gordon Beach (BSc’74), the committee has attracted both younger as well as older, experienced alumni. The goal of the bursary is to provide financial support, reward academic performance and recognize the contributions of the society’s student members.
To support their initiatives, the group recently launched a website (oregangue.org) that includes a history of the Ore Gangue dating back to its earliest years. Beach calls the Calgary Ore Gangue a tight-knit organization with strong social and professional bonds. They first met as university students in Saskatoon, and as they migrated towards the centre of the oil and gas industry in Calgary the group continued to stick together.
The golf tournament began as a few friends spending time together for an afternoon and eventually grew into an annual tournament with yearly attendance of 100 or more. Ten years ago, the decision was made to raise money to provide steady, predictable funding support to students in need of financial help.
The ongoing social events "help maintain contact and friendships," said Beach, but with the added bonus of fundraising success. While he says more work needs to be done, the golf tournament has been successful in raising more than $12,000 for the U of S Michael D. Welch Memorial Book Prize and $80,000 for the U of S Ore Gangue Alumni Bursary Fund. "I am sometimes asked how the Ore Gangue is so successful at raising funds. My answer is simple—we know supporting the next generation of students is a valuable goal and we always have fun while we do it," said Beach.
Jim Merriam, professor and head of the Department of Geological Sciences, is appreciative of the Ore Gangue's good work. "The Ore Gangue Alumni Fund is targeted towards students in need of financial assistance. We put on field schools, which means additional travel and accommodation costs over and above tuition, so many of our students may not be able to participate without this valuable support," he said.
Merriam looks forward to attending more Ore Gangue events in Calgary and perhaps some closer to home. "The resource industry in Saskatchewan has seen such impressive growth in the past 10 years that there are now a significant number of Ore Gangue alumni in Saskatoon. It would be great to see a Saskatoon Ore Gangue formed."