Brescia focuses on international human rights at Breakfast for Bursaries

October 20 , 2011

London, ON – With over 360 attendees braving the rainy Thursday morning, Brescia University College celebrated its 10th Anniversary Breakfast for Bursaries event at the London Convention Centre. This event has raised nearly $350,000 over its 10-year history toward the Eleanore Donnelly Bursary Fund, providing access to education for 10 mature women. Last year’s event brought in $20,000 while this year that number has doubled. The $40,000 will be matched by the Ontario Trust for Student Support (OTSS).

During the presentation, Dr. Colleen Hanycz mentioned the gratitude that previous recipients have felt and the impact that this bursary has made on their lives and the lives of their families. “What a wonderful morning it was for us and a huge success for our mission of educating women for leadership. . . I was reminded of exactly what we are doing on a daily basis at Brescia,” said Hanycz.

Nazanin Afshin-Jam, this year’s guest speaker, challenged the crowd to think about ways to get involved as she shared her life story as an international human rights activist and “voice for the voiceless.” Her untiring dedication to bring justice to a world fraught with civil and ethical injustices is inspiring.

Her talk shed light on the plight of women in Iran, a country in which she was born at the height of Iran’s Islamic revolution. A year after she was born, her family was forced to flee to Canada after her non-political father was arrested, tortured, and nearly executed. Her empathy as a child propelled her to become a human-rights activist. Afshin-Jam became a singer/songwriter, actor, and Miss World Canada, in the knowledge that these things would provide a platform for her to effect positive change. As president and co-founder of “Stop Child Executions” organization, she has saved Iranian children that were slated for execution through her courageous advocacy and by raising global awareness. She is the recipient of several human rights awards of distinction and was appointed to the board of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation through the office of the Prime Minister of Canada to help eliminate racism and discrimination in Canada.

Proceeds from Breakfast for Bursaries support an endowment fund, which honours 1939 Brescia graduate, Eleanore Donnelly. The Eleanore Donnelly Bursary Fund provides financial support for mature women who have made the courageous decision to further their education. This year’s recipient of the bursary is Jessica Jackson. She follows nine other proud recipients. As Principal Hanycz notes, “These students have been able to complete their programs and move forward into life armed with the many benefits of a university education and also with the sense of civic responsibility that is the precursor to making a difference in the world around them.”


For more information please contact Colleen Aguilar, Communications, Marketing & External Relations Officer, at 519.432.8353, ext. 28280 or

Brescia University College, Canada’s premier women’s university college, is affiliated with The University of Western Ontario. The 1,100 women registered as either full or part-time students at Brescia study a wide variety of subjects in Arts, Social Sciences, and Foods & Nutrition in an empowering, compassionate, student-centred, and invigorating environment. Degrees are granted by Western. The Catholic College welcomes students from all backgrounds and values diversity. For more current and archived news, a listing of faculty experts, and photos please visit our Online Media Room at