By Johanne Adam
“It’s important to give to help students, because for some of them the road is difficult at times.”― Christina Richard, acting director, Alumni Relations Office and Faculty of Social Sciences alumna
Christina Richard says these words with conviction, as someone who knows. She worked doggedly during her studies here at the University of Ottawa.
In fact, to make ends meet, she held down three part-time jobs while studying full time. “I had practically no social life, but I still have fond memories of this time in my life,” she says.
Her efforts bore fruit: she graduated with a cumulative grade point average of 9.6, in addition to receiving the University Gold Medal for the Faculty of Social Sciences. She then completed a master’s in political science.
An inspiring grandfather
In her office, Christina keeps a replica of her paternal grandfather’s diploma. “In my family, only my grandfather Gilles Richard went to university,” she says. “He was a very cultured man, very curious intellectually. In fact, he received his final bachelor’s at the age of 70, at Saint Paul University,” she says with much emotion.
Her grandfather was at convocation when she received her bachelor’s, but he didn’t live to attend the convocation for her master’s. Still, Christina knows how proud he was of her. “I was his youngest granddaughter and the only one in the family to go to university.”
An urge to help
Christina feels a deep desire to help others. That’s what motivated her to undertake graduate studies. “I decided to study political science because I like to speak for those in need. It’s probably because I myself have experienced some difficult times.”
Christina doesn’t even count her hours of volunteering anymore. She has been involved for many years with the Conseil régional de l’environnement et du développement durable de l’Outaouais and the Boucher Forest Foundation.
This is in addition to her volunteer work since 2012 with the University’s Employee Giving program. Christina believes in how the program benefits student success.
“Education is the foundation for everything. In addition to having better job prospects, educated people have better critical thinking, so they’re better equipped to change our society,” says Richard, who has contributed to the program since 2011.
“The Employee Giving program allows you to contribute to a cause that really matters to you. There’s something for everyone.” ― Christina Richard
The Employee Giving program plays an integral role in Defy the Conventional: The Campaign for uOttawa, which seeks to strengthen the University’s teaching, research and service. Employees can make a donation by logging into VirtuO.