Alumni Couple Giving Back

When Alumni couple Keith MacLeod and Gail Matheson decided to commit to a $1 million gift, paid over ten years to CBU in 2018, they had one goal in mind – to have a lasting impact on students.

After seeing how significantly students were impacted and how their dollars were creating a real difference, the couple decided to give the remaining funds early and establish the MacLeod-Matheson Bursary Fund endowment.

“We made the decision to establish this bursary fund in memory of our parents and to recognize the support and encouragement we received from them during our studies at UCCB,” says Keith MacLeod. “If it wasn’t for them, we may not be where we are today and in a position to give back. We wanted to help create that opportunity for other students to help them on their career paths.”

Keith and Gail attended Cape Breton University, then the University College of Cape Breton and both graduated with their Bachelor in Engineering Technology, Keith in 1978 and Gail in 1980.

“We know that some high school students are impacted by personal challenges (family, financial, health, etc.) or outside activities which impact their ability to perform scholastically. For that reason, we felt it was important to offer support to those high school students that may not qualify for scholastic scholarships but have demonstrated leadership in sports or their community,” says Keith.

“While Gail and I spent our career in Alberta, we have always kept a close eye on what was happening at home,” says Keith. “We watched philanthropists like Joe Shannon, Annette Verschuren, Marty Chernin, Stuart MacLeod and others give back to the community and truly make a difference – that was what motivated us to support CBU students.”

Since the establishment of this fund, more than 100 students across Cape Breton Island have received valuable financial support from the MacLeod-Matheson Fund. This is only the beginning and students will be able to benefit for many years to come.

This week, charities around the world celebrated National Philanthropy Day, a special day that is set aside on November 15th to recognize the outstanding contributions of philanthropy.

Keith and Gail would like to share this message with their fellow Alumni and community members –

“It’s not about the amount you give and the dollar value, it is about the act of giving back and knowing you are making an impact on someone else’s life,” commented the couple.

“We are fortunate enough to give a substantial gift, but we encourage others to give what they can, knowing that their donation can change the course of a student’s life and may mean the difference between obtaining a degree or not. “We want to reach those students all across Cape Breton Island who may not know or believe that university is an option for them. Those who struggle financially or maybe are from rural Cape Breton and worry about travel costs, that is how we want to help. Education is powerful, and it’s something that you can always fall back on.”

If you are interested in supporting CBU students, you can visit for more information or to make your gift today.