Stephen Wallace ‘75: A Twenty Five Dollar Tradition

It’s not everyday that you realize you’ve donated nearly $16,000 toward your Alma Matter. And yet that’s precisely what happened to alumnus Stephen Wallace, who was pleasantly surprised that his 36-year legacy of small annual gifts had blossomed into a very noteworthy sum.

Receiving a phone call from the Trent Annual Fund a few years following his graduation from Trent, Wallace felt motivated to give a small donation toward the university, a donation of $25, and an amount that would later become significant in his long-standing relationship with the university.

As a recent graduate, Wallace had left his Trent years behind him, embarking on a career and a life beyond his small room in the north wing of Lady Eaton College. When he took a phone call during a donation drive, he was persuaded by a volunteer to donate $25. One year following, the same volunteer called again, and the two joked about adding $25 each year, beginning a lasting tradition that would span three and a half decades and counting.

 “I still remember my first donation to Trent in 1979 or 1980. I actually got a call during a donation drive and the volunteer persuaded me to donate $25. At that point of my working life that was a big deal. The next year the exact same volunteer called me again and we joked about adding $25 each year. And sure enough every year it has gone up by $25. I had no idea that the sum total was over $15k.”

Wallace’s annual donation now far exceeds $25, as his commitment to Trent continues to grow. Settling into a career at Bell Canada, Wallace wanted to give back and hold onto his strong relationship with the university, inspiring his annual gift to Trent. A gift that allowed him to say thank you, and connect to an important part of his past.

“Trent seemed to reappear in my life as I reviewed my experiences since the 70s and I realized that those few years in university had set me up for so many experiences both exciting and mundane all of which I believe I successfully handled.”

A reflection of how a small, annual effort truly adds up, Stephen Wallace’s donation tradition has provided funds to areas of greatest need throughout the university, for 36 years.

“If you keep doing it someone, somewhere at Trent will benefit and that just feels good."

To learn more about Giving to Trent, visit

Comments are closed.