More than 50 years ago, the University of Lethbridge changed the landscape of southern Alberta – both physically and culturally. As the new Science and Academic Building takes shape on the north end of campus, it’s about to happen again.

“This facility will lead to new scientific discoveries for the benefit of humanity,” explains Dr. Matthew Letts, associate dean, Faculty of Arts & Science, highlighting the impact the building will have not only on our campus but on the broader community and even globally. “It will allow us to augment research productivity, improve our research funding success, forge new partnerships with industry, develop the regional economy, serve as a science centre for southern Alberta and inspire proud U of L students to embark on scientific careers.”

The building — and its positive impact — is more than the sum of its parts.

“We feel it’s important to make a donation to this phase of the Destination Project because we want to contribute as best as we can to the generations who follow us,” says Janice Varzari (BN ’90, MEd ’02), the U of L’s 13th chancellor, a long-time Senate and Board of Governors member and a proud alumna. Janice and her husband Glenn have stepped forward with a significant gift towards the project.

When the new building opens in fall 2019, it will be one of the most advanced facilities for science and research in Canada. A home for innovation and discovery, the open and flexible laboratory environments will encourage and foster research between the sciences, and with an abundance of transparent walls, science will truly be on display for the public to see.

Sustainably designed with the local climate in mind, students, faculty and community will come together under one roof to create, inquire and discover like never before.

“Education is our future,” Janice explains. “We are investing in the U of L because it is an institution that invests in others.”

Glenn echoes Janice’s statements emphasizing their family’s commitment to tomorrow.

“It’s more than supporting a building. It’s an investment in the University, its students and our community,” he says. “It’s creating a legacy that goes beyond our own region, province and even lifetime.”

Truly a U of L family, the Varzaris have a longstanding connection to the University and began their support as a show of gratitude. They are now leading by example and have seen the charge taken up by the next generation.

“We’re grateful to see that philanthropic spirit emerging in our grandkids now,” says Glenn. “We hope to see it grow in our own family, but also the community at large.”

As Janice gets ready to wrap up her term as chancellor next spring, she is looking forward to watching the impact of her work and her family’s contributions to the University continue to take root.

“It makes you feel like as small as we are, our tiny little efforts will reach across the world in some way through the thousands of graduates doing their work,” she says.