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Carrie-Ann Bissonnette looks to future with planned gift

September 03, 2015
Ryerson grad and staff member Carrie-Ann Bissonnette

Carrie-Ann Bissonnette

For Carrie-Ann Bissonnette (RTA, ’03), planning a gift to Ryerson was logical and emotional: “Ryerson is family, and you take care of your family in your will.”

Carrie-Ann knew Ryerson was for her on her first visit in the late 90s. Her mom, who worked in the print industry and always liked hiring industry-ready Ryerson graduates, had planted the seed. Carrie-Ann was attracted to Ryerson because it aligned with her values and work ethic. That it has remained true to those values through a remarkable trajectory of growth is why she feels good about supporting its future.

“Some things have changed dramatically in my time here, and some things have remained constant.” say Carrie-Ann. “Our size has changed and our reputation improved. But our purpose and mission, our practical approach to meeting societal needs— those things have remained, and that’s great. Those are the fundamental values that make up the Ryerson DNA.”

Carrie-Ann has been connected to Ryerson for almost 20 years. As a student, she was an ambassador for Ryerson with the Admissions office, stayed on after graduation, taking on roles with the President’s office, the DMZ and most recently the Student Learning Centre. “I get to forge new paths, to pioneer and develop something new. It’s exciting.”

She now represents the staff on the Board of Governors, where she can see the way her role fits into the bigger picture, “and can help shape the plans to take the university forward.” A seat at the table has only increased her confidence in the direction and future of the university. She’s expressed that by designating her gift to the university’s area of greatest need, which is directed by the university for its highest priority at the time.

“Ryerson has given so much to me,” says Carrie-Ann. “If it hadn’t been for Ryerson, I might not be in the position to be able to do this. I came from a small town: my graduating class was just six people and access to education was limited. Because of the support I got at Ryerson, I was able to make the transition and achieve what I did. I am grateful for the opportunity Ryerson gave me, and grateful to be able to create that opportunity for others.”

Making a gift in your will is a remarkable act of generosity that looks to the future. Carrie-Ann is precocious on this score, making her gift when she was in her 20s. “It would be great,” says Carrie-Ann, “if this encourages other young folks to think about giving in this way—to think about making a will, and leaving something to the people and places that have impacted you and helped you get where you’ve gone.”