Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

StFX announces Elizabeth & Thomas Rankin School of Nursing

July 22nd, 2016
Thomas and Elizabeth Rankin
Tom ’60 and Elizabeth Rankin’s long legacy of giving back to the community, particularly their support of health care, will be honoured on the StFX campus with the naming of the Elizabeth & Thomas Rankin School of Nursing. 
Mr. Rankin, CEO of Rankin Construction Inc. and a 1960 StFX engineering graduate, recently donated $2 million to his alma mater to support both the School of Nursing and the Xaverian Fund for Scholarships and Bursaries.  
Of the amount, $1.5 million will go towards renovations to historic Mount Saint Bernard, where the School of Nursing is housed, and specifically to create a state-of-the-art Nursing Simulation Lab. The impressive 6,600 square-foot lab will provide valuable experiential learning opportunities for nursing students. 
As well, $500,000 will support the Xaverian Fund, established by StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald with a goal of raising $50 million so that all academically focused and socially engaged students can attend StFX regardless of financial background.  
“Tom and Beth Rankin are community champions who truly exemplify StFX’s tradition of service to society. We are so deeply grateful for their most generous gift,” Dr. MacDonald says. 
“Their donation will help in so many ways. With the addition of the new simulation lab, nursing students will have access to learning facilities that are second-to-none. Additionally, their support of the Xaverian Fund will also impact generations of students, helping academically and socially focused students access a university education,” he said.
“We sincerely thank Tom and Beth Rankin for their contributions,” says Dean of Science Dr. Petra Hauf. “The renovations taking place at the School of Nursing at Mount Saint Bernard will result in an unparalleled teaching and learning environment for our students and faculty.”
“StFX’s Nursing Program already has such an excellent reputation,” adds Dr. Joanne Whitty Rogers, Interim Director and Chair for the Elizabeth and Thomas Rankin School of Nursing.  “The addition of state-of- the-art instructional equipment and facilities will only improve the teaching and research opportunities for our students.”
In donating to the School of Nursing, Mr. Rankin, a native of Judique, NS who now lives in St. Catharines, ON, says he is pleased to recognize his wife Beth, a nurse and graduate of the Mack Training School for Nurses, as the cornerstone to his family and business success. “She is the last person to ever look for the limelight,” he says. “It is nice to recognize her.
“The nursing profession is a very noble profession, and it’s close to my heart,” says Mr. Rankin as he noted along with his wife, his oldest daughter holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.  
Over the years, he and his company have supported numerous charities. Always, there’s been a strong focus on health care. The Rankin Cancer Run, which he began 11 years ago, has raised over $6.5 million for local hospitals, and recently, he contributed significantly towards a new facility for Pathstone Mental Health, a facility which helps young people with mental health issues.
“Let’s face it, health is everything. It’s very important. Health care is on everybody’s mind. If you can help your fellow man in that way, I think it’s a very worthy cause.”
He says it was also important to support the Xaverian Fund.
Mr. Rankin says he knows firsthand how pivotal a scholarship can be in a young person’s life.
“I don’t know if I would have went to university if I didn’t receive a Knights of Columbus scholarship and a StFX bursary. It helped me go to university,” says Mr. Rankin who recalls how during his early life his dad hurt his back and couldn’t work for a year.
“Without that, perhaps I wouldn’t have become an engineer, or gone to university,” he says. “There are probably a lot of future engineers, or medical professionals, or teachers, in the community who wouldn’t be able to go to university."
“I feel if a scholarship helps some person get an education in a profession they dearly like, then I am very happy about that.”
A longtime community champion, Mr. Rankin says his values started early at home, in school, and in his religious upbringing. They were further fostered at StFX.
“You’re grounded at StFX to look at your fellow man, and how important it is to help your neighbor. You’re grounded to help the community.”
Mr. Rankin has enjoyed an incredible career highlighted by hard work and dedication. Graduating from StFX with a Diploma in Engineering, he went on to complete his Bachelor of Civil Engineering at Nova Scotia Technical College. He then moved to Ontario and founded Rankin Construction. 
He led his family-run business and is a well-known pioneer in renewable energy projects in Ontario. 
He’s been recognized many times with industry and leadership awards. StFX has also honoured Mr. Rankin with both the 2013 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award and with an honorary degree in 2015.

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