The Champions series by Sarah Brown profiles those who are supporting social and economic good in society. This is Carleton’s founding premise and it’s being celebrated on the cusp of the university’s 75th anniversary in 2017. Learn more about Carleton’s most ambitious comprehensive fundraising campaign. Together, we’re Here for Good.
Linda Ann Daly, BA/71, has always been a Carleton enthusiast. Growing up in the small south-east Ontario community of Ingleside, she was accepted to a number of universities but, “even at 18 I somehow sensed that Carleton was the perfect fit for me — I was so thrilled to study here.”
Her commitment to her alma mater continued over the years, but was rekindled in a very personal way by a special student. Rodrigo Pereira arrived at the Kingston home of Linda Ann and her husband, Walter Fenlon, in 2009 as a high school Rotary scholar. They hosted the Brazilian student for four months, connecting with him deeply. When it was time for Pereira to return home, the couple offered to help support him if he wanted to return to Canada for university. Rodrigo would go on to enroll in the Sprott School of Business, enjoying three years as a popular and engaged student before his life was tragically cut short by cancer in 2014.
Today Linda Ann Daly is on the Board of Governors and chairs the Community Relations and Advancement Committee. She and her husband launched the International Student Emergency Fund in Memory of Rodrigo Pereira to help provide short-term financial assistance to international students facing a personal emergency situation.
Here, Linda Ann Daly remembers the student who inspired that fund:
On Meeting Rodrigo Pereira When He was a High School Student
In 2009, my husband and I decided to host an international Rotary student, who turned out to be Rodrigo. He stayed with us for four months while he went to high school in Kingston. I still remember contacting Rodrigo’s mother before he arrived. I asked her if she had any advice because I had never been a parent. She wrote back a beautiful note in which she said: “Keep him close, but let him fly. He’s a born leader.” She was so right.
The Importance of the International Student Emergency Fund in Memory of Rodrigo Pereira
Knowing Rodrigo helped me to understand just how vulnerable international students are. Many of them don’t have a lot of money and they can’t just get on the bus and go home or have Mum and Dad pick them up if there’s an emergency. When I joined the Board of Governors, my husband and I set up this fund and made it in Rodrigo’s honour. After he died, it became in memory of Rodrigo. His death came as a shock to us — we expected him to live; we expected him to come back to Carleton to finish his degree.
Carleton’s Continuing Connection with the Pereira Family
Rodrigo died in August 2014. Even though he was very ill, he live-streamed the graduation of his classmates that summer and sent them a note of congratulations. That’s the kind of man he was. He said to me, “I didn’t know if all of my classmates would make it through, and I’m so proud of them.” We were so proud to host his family in Kingston last summer — the highlight was when Carleton University granted Rodrigo his degree posthumously. It meant so much. And now his name continues with this important fund.
The 5 Ws:
Who, at Carleton, has inspired you? President and Vice-Chancellor Roseann O’Reilly Runte. I find her to be a visionary. She’s also very real and very sincere. She understands the subtle nuances of saying thank you — she is appreciative and acknowledges everyone’s effort for Carleton.
What is your top Carleton memory? That’s easy! Winning the Panda Game when I was an undergrad.
When are you most engaged? Every June, I participate in a convocation ceremony. It’s such a proud moment when I see the graduating students and hand out awards.
Where is your favourite spot on campus? I don’t have one favourite spot. For me, it’s the overall setting — looking out over the canal.
Why give back? Because Carleton University has such a fantastic culture of inclusiveness. Everyone is given the chance to excel, and I value and love that sentiment.