The leader of the Campaign for Momentous Change has made a $207,000 gift to Trent University with a significant portion supporting Nursing students who travel to remote villages in Central America to support vulnerable populations through health promotion and nursing education. This most recent gift brings Gavin Marshall ’76 (Lady Eaton College) and his wife Susan Marshall ’76 (Otonabee College) to $1 million in lifetime gifts to the University.
From this most recent gift, $100,000 will be devoted to the hands-on International Nursing Placement–available to second-year students in the Community Health practicum—that has traditionally operated in Honduras but will expand this fall to include Guatemala. He calls the placement symbolic of the University’s ethos of building a better world.
“Nursing students are using their Trent experience to bring their skills, knowledge, expertise and caring hearts to help others who are living in areas where there’s an enormous disparity in access to health services,” says Marshall. “That’s a powerful symbol of building a better world. What shines more brightly than that?”
The funds will help offset program expenses for the students who fundraise to pay for their own flights and program fees. The gift will also support installing clean water filters, creating barrel gardens at a home for children with disabilities, and purchasing over-the-counter medicine such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen for a high school for young women in Tegucigalpa.
“We are so grateful for Mr. Marshall’s support of an experiential-learning opportunity that is truly life-changing for our Nursing students,” says Dr. Patti Tracey, professor and collaborative program coordinator in the Trent Fleming School of Nursing (TFSON).
From humble beginnings to leading philanthropist
Marshall is CEO of the award-winning Magenta Capital Corporation, one of Canada’s oldest and largest mortgage investment companies, and recently announced he’s leading the University’s $100-million campaign with honorary alumna Linda Schuyler.
After graduating from Trent in 1979 with a B.Sc. in Economics, Marshall went on to earn an MBA and achieve progressively senior positions within Canadian financial institutions before founding Magenta in 1994.
Marshall, a first-generation post-secondary student with humble roots, has always held Trent University's groundbreaking leadership in Indigenous Studies and its culture of diversity in high esteem. He credits the University for having an extraordinary impact on his life because it’s a young institute without pretense and unshackled by paradigms, offering a nurturing and inclusive environment for learning.
“At Trent, no one ever questions if you belong because you’re judged not by your pedigree but rather by your pursuit of excellence,” he says. “I’ve tried to replicate that at Magenta Corporation where you belong solely based on your talent, contribution, work ethic, and most importantly, content of character.”
Marshall has stayed connected with the University over the years by serving as the inaugural chairperson of Trent’s Philanthropic Advisory Committee and a member of the University’s Advancement Board of Governors External Committee. He and his wife are also proud Trent parents as their daughter, Heather Marshall ’16 (Peter Gzowski College), earned a B.A. in English Literature.
While Marshall previously joined four other alumni to make a combined $500,000 gift to the Student Centre in 2017, he recently turned his attention to the Nursing placement after learning more about how Trent’s Nursing students travel to remote villages where they face many social-justice issues while working with the most vulnerable - children with disabilities, young women, and children.
Students support primary health care needs in both urban and rural settings while providing important education on topics such as sexual health, family planning, gender equality, nutrition, dental care and clean water access. Students also support small construction projects to aid and assist communities in healthy daily living.
“Progress is about more than just more – it’s about creating a more caring and just world,” Marshall says. “Given its ethos and history, Trent University is a place that’s uniquely positioned to create that kind of forward-thinking progress, which is needed more than ever at this point in human history.”
Learn more about supporting the School of Nursing through the Campaign for Momentous Change.