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Registrar makes a gift that keeps on giving

Don MacMillan (above), and his wife Sharon made a planned gift in their wills in support of a scholarship. (Photo by Ken Jones.)

Making a planned gift is a way of helping someone in perpetuity.

That was the motivation behind Don and Sharon MacMillan’s decision to leave funds in their wills for a student scholarship for a student at the University of Toronto Scarborough.

Don MacMillan is the Director of Student Recruitment and Registrar at the University of Toronto Scarborough. His wife, Sharon MacMillan, is Project Manager in the Department of Pediatrics at The Hospital for Sick Children. Two years ago, they established a $10,000 scholarship in honour of her deceased parents, Thomas and Freda Orrell. Through matching funds, it became a $30,000 scholarship.

“When Sharon’s dad passed away a few years ago, it was one of those milestone moments when we realized that, with both sets of parents now gone, you’ve moved up a notch, and you’re not a kid anymore,” said MacMillan. “We were looking for an opportunity to recognize Sharon’s dad’s life, and that of her mother, who had predeceased him. We decided there was no better way to remember them than to create a University of Toronto Scarborough entrance scholarship in their memory.”

The MacMillans have recently made a decision to top up that scholarship by leaving additional funds in both of their wills. “We were making our wills, and we felt that through U of T’s planned giving program, we could make a much more significant contribution to the scholarship in the future by naming it in our wills. As Registrar, I know that the costs of a university education have skyrocketed, so being able to make a small difference for a student through a scholarship seemed like a logical choice. Adding to that in our wills is a way of helping someone in perpetuity.”

The Orrell Family Scholarship is awarded to a student entering the International Development Studies Co-op Program on the basis of academic merit and financial need. “The IDS program has always been a favorite of mine because of the outstanding work that these students do in the developing world,” said MacMillan. “We say that the IDS co-op changes people. During the year, it changes the communities the students work with, but the students also return to Canada changed themselves. Over the years, Sharon and I have met a number of these students and we’ve always been struck by their compassion for others and their desire to make a genuine difference in the lives of others.”

Creating a bequest is just one way a donor can make a difference. For information on this and other giving options at the University of Toronto, contact Linda Pearson at (416) 978-3811 or

© University of Toronto Scarborough