NorQuest College Chair provides $1 million gift to promote diversity and inclusion

NorQuest President and CEO Jodi Abbott

EDMONTON – NorQuest College is proud to be recognized locally and nationally as an organization that is a leader in diversity and inclusion, leading by example in the post-secondary world. That leadership is about to get stronger thanks to an incredible $1 million donation to the college.

Dr. S. Ann Colbourne, Chair of the NorQuest College Board of Governors, made the generous gift, inspired by NorQuest’s growth and dedication to inclusive and culturally sensitive workplaces. The work of NorQuest’s Centre for Intercultural Education (CIE) – aimed at assisting the workforce with diversity and inclusion training – is of particular interest to Dr. Colbourne.

“I have a deeply-held passion for the agenda of diversity,” says Dr. Colbourne. “As a college, NorQuest really helps shape the mosaic of the communities it serves. It honours and respects where individuals come from, but still creates a cohesive whole. The ability of NorQuest to take what it does every day and channel that into programming that helps people beyond the walls of the college is very powerful and meaningful.”

“This wonderful gift from Dr. Colbourne will certainly have a tremendous impact on the communities we serve,” says NorQuest College President and CEO Dr. Jodi L. Abbott. “Our clear strategic goals include developing programs and services that anticipate and respond to market demand, and we know diversity training plays a key role in today’s economy.”

Due to her leadership and generosity, the CIE will be renamed the Colbourne Institute for Inclusive Leadership in her honour. The Colbourne Institute will carry on the work of the CIE, providing a range of services that encourage and support organizational capacity in developing and sustaining inclusive cultures.

Companies operate in an increasingly complex and global context; embracing diversity is no longer an option, but a necessity. Inclusive workplaces that are positive about the richness of diversity in our communities boost employee engagement, profitability, and brand.

“Organizations who are known to invest in diversity and inclusion not only transform their culture, but attract top talent, and maximize that talent through a culture of respect, belonging, equity, and growth,” says Lori Campbell, Senior Manager, CIE. “NorQuest’s goal is to have a presence nationally and internationally through our thought leadership and innovative approaches to research and practice, collaborating with our community and corporate stakeholders.”

Dr. Colbourne’s donation is also a clear indication of the unprecedented growth of NorQuest College in recent years. Her gift will provide the institute with the capacity to expand its offerings, allowing NorQuest to have a broader reach into the community.

“I expect NorQuest will continue to grow, since it has learned to be adaptive and responsive to the needs of not just students but to the broader community,” says Dr. Colbourne. “NorQuest offers a space where people feel that they can live up to their full potential. I have great excitement for the growth of both the diversity and inclusion agenda and the college.”

Dr. Colbourne has been a longtime friend and supporter of the college and was appointed Chair of the college’s Board of Governors in March 2018.

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