Celebrating More Than 50 Years of Student Leadership: Meet Rick McCarthy

Rick McCarthy, a former executive member of the Cape Breton University Students’ Union (CBUSU), is spearheading a heartfelt initiative to celebrate a remarkable milestone. As Cape Breton University (CBU) marks its 50th Anniversary in 2024, Rick and a committee of Students’ Union (SU) alumni from the past 50 years are organizing a reunion for everyone who has been involved in the SU over the past five decades. The event is not just a walk down memory lane, but a fundraiser to support future students and student leaders at CBU.

Rick served as the CBUSU Vice President Academic in 2008-2009 and subsequently as President in 2009-2010. “Whether it was organizing events, advocating on behalf of students or contributing to the vibrant campus community, we put all of ourselves into our respective roles,” Rick recalls. “Friends I made while in the SU are still some of my closest friends to this day, and that is something I’m truly grateful for.”

The upcoming reunion aims to gather alumni from every era of the Students’ Union, celebrating the legacy of student leadership at CBU and reconnecting with the many individuals who have contributed to its success over the years. “We’ve made concerted efforts to reach out to past members of the CBUSU through various channels, including social media, alumni networks and direct communication,” Rick says. The response has been overwhelmingly positive and the committee anticipates welcoming more than 100 SU alumni to join the event.

The reunion, scheduled for May 31 and June 1, will be a weekend filled with nostalgia, connections and celebrations. “Attendees can expect a casual and nostalgic atmosphere where we will reminisce, have a few laughs and share many great stories about our time with the SU,” Rick shares. “We have planned a full two-day event with music, a campus tour, lots of networking and many surprises to commemorate this milestone.”

Beyond the celebration, the organizing committee has launched a fundraising initiative to raise $50,000 for the CBUSU Awards Endowment Fund in honour of CBU’s 50th Anniversary. As the Development Officer – Major Gifts and Donor Relations at CBU, Rick works with current and prospective major and annual donors to ensure their generosity is stewarded and aligns with their vision for CBU. He has been instrumental in leading this initiative to support scholarships. “We’ve already received $45,200 in pledges, surpassing 90 per cent of our goal – further connecting our CBUSU alumni to our present students and student leaders,” he shares.

The fundraiser is a way for alumni to make a lasting impact on the University and its students. “The Union is more than an organization; it is our cornerstone, guiding us as we’ve navigated life and helped shape who we are today,” says Rick. “We’re forever grateful for the experience and for the opportunity to serve our fellow students.”

As the reunion approaches, Rick is filled with anticipation and excitement. “When we come together at the reunion, we will not only celebrate our collective achievements within the Students’ Union, but also the growth and success of the entire CBU community,” he shares. “What started as an idea and a project for the 50th Anniversary has quickly become a career highlight for me – that I am truly grateful for.”

For Rick and the countless others who have been a part of the Students’ Union, the reunion is more than just an event. It’s a testament to the enduring spirit of CBU, a tribute to the power of student leadership and a commitment to supporting the next generation of CBU students. “Here’s to 50 years of memories,” Rick says. “And to many more years of making a difference.”

For more information on the CBU Students’ Union Reunion, visit the event page.

To stay up to date on the 50th celebration, visit cbu.ca/50.