Witnessing how charitable donations helped University of Waterloo students complete their education and achieve their goals demonstrated the importance of the Faculty, Staff and Retiree (FSR) Giving Program for Heather Mair, a professor in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies and the FSR co-chair for the past six years. 

Healther Mair

Heather’s ‘eureka’ moment came when a flyer landed on her doorstep featuring a University of Waterloo student she recognized. 

“I found that really moving, because if you have a philanthropic approach to life, you like seeing where the resources are going. Seeing a student I knew benefit from FSR support was really meaningful to me,” says Heather. 

“I feel very strongly that education should be accessible, and this is a way to support students. That was my entire motivation for joining and co-chairing the FSR Giving Program with Tony Munro (BES ’91) and Rose Vogt (BES ’84). Tony, Rose and Heather are now stepping down as their term concludes. 

For those wishing to become FSR donors, Heather offered some straightforward advice: “Do it!” 

Heather, Tony and Rose are keen to share this message with other UWaterloo employees and retirees, many of whom are unaware of the FSR Giving Program. 

Tony says that if every Waterloo faculty and staff member donated just 1% of their monthly earnings, it could make a huge difference for students and the campus community.Tony Munro

“The greatest challenge we face with the FSR Giving Program is a lack of awareness,” says Tony, who works in marketing and undergrad recruitment in the Registrar’s Office, managing international recruitment and partnerships. 

Tony says there are three ways to give back: through time, treasure or talent. 

The key for him is engaging and educating staff through peer-to-peer communications to encourage them to give to specific areas they may care about, such as a certain faculty or initiatives like the Global Emergency Student Relief Fund, which helps students from countries in crisis to continue their education at Waterloo. 

For Tony, it was his experience in UWaterloo’s world-leading co-op program that sealed the deal. 

“I’m an alum who has worked with the University for 30 years and I would never have had this opportunity if I wasn’t a student in the co-op program,” Tony explained when asked why he chose to get involved with the FSR Giving Program. 

“It was a chance to give back to the university that gave so much to me. I’ve grown to appreciate more how universities are funded and how they need to generate more money.” 

Rose Vogt

UWaterloo also gave much to Rose, who remembers struggling to make ends meet in her student years, especially after a parachuting accident left her unable to walk, work or pay tuition. 

It was this experience that led Rose to start giving once she landed her first job at UWaterloo after graduating, always donating a small portion of her monthly salary to help those students coming after her. After retiring in 2019, she became co-chair of the FSR Giving Program.  

“I gave a little bit monthly for a long time — almost 30 years. I couldn’t afford much, but it was the spirit of giving,” says Rose. 

“As a retiree, I recognize that students are our future. They’re the ones that are going to fill the roles that keep our society running.”

As Heather, Tony and Rose’s term as co-chairs ends, new leaders have stepped up to help support our students through the FSR Giving Program. Sharon Lamont (a retired staff member from the University of Waterloo Library) and Julie Joza from the Office of Research will represent retirees and staff respectively. A Faculty chair to replace Heather Mair is still needed. If you’re interested in volunteering, please contact Jennifer Murray in the Office of Advancement’s Annual Giving team. FSR support is the heart of UWaterloo!