Spirit Day is an annual LGBTQ awareness day observed on the third Thursday of October. Wearing purple on Spirit Day is a sign of support for LGBTQ youth and a way to honour LGBTQ victims of suicide.

New financial award supports LGBTQ+ students and allies

October 18, 2018 | Society, Campus Life

Hayley Jayne Richman waved her rainbow flag proudly and passionately spoke the truth without fear, says Craig Richman of his youngest daughter, who graduated from MacEwan’s Business Management program in 2007.

“Motivated by her own negative experiences as a lesbian, she fought fearlessly so others didn’t face similar discrimination, and selflessly volunteered her time and energy to her community,” says Hayley's mother Trudi Sissons. Even with Hayley’s struggles, she saw the world with a perspective that brought positive energy, laughter and light to everyone in her life, adds her close friend Beni Lauren.


Four years after her passing, Hayley's legacy of positivity lives on through a new student award created by her father, mother and sister. All three, like Hayley (pictured here), are MacEwan alumni.

“All four of us attended MacEwan at tender ages and times, and we were all better people from the experience,” says Craig Richman, Hayley’s father. “Our time at MacEwan gave each of our family members direction, self-esteem, courage and determination, and we honour that, and our loving, sweet daughter Hayley, through this award.”

The Hayley Jayne Richman Memorial Award, the first of its kind at MacEwan, will support students who identify as members of the LGBTQ community, allies of the community or those who have LGBTQ parents. Recipients must also have made significant contributions to fostering service and activism, demonstrating leadership in activities or issues that promote awareness and acceptance, or actively advocating for LGBTQ youth who are affected by bullying or suicide.  

“I know Hayley would be proud of the future recipients of this award,” says Beni. “She encouraged everyone to never let obstacles impact their education, and this gift from her will help remove a financial obstacle for someone.”


Dr. Kristopher Wells on the importance of LGBTQ+ allyship

The sad reality is that LGBTQ+ youth are still two to three times more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual peers. Why? A lot of it comes down to feeling unsafe, unsupported and not valued or loved.

The first recipient of the Hayley Jayne Richman Award will be selected in November. The award is one of more than 240 scholarships, awards and bursaries available to students at MacEwan.  

Learn more about how our donors make a difference through giving at MacEwan.


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