King's Spotlight: Helen Spriet recognized as woman of excellence
London women are gathering tonight in celebration of the YMCA Women of Excellence Awards at the London Convention Centre. One of the eight inspiring women to receive an award is Helen Spriet, co-chair for King’s Student Life Campaign.
An avid philanthropist and compassionate human being, Helen takes joy in helping others and offering a hand to those in need. She was genuinely surprised to hear she was selected for the Outstanding Achievement Award.
“I appreciate the thought very much. It wasn’t anything I expected to receive,” says Helen. “We have always been active and involved with multiple groups in London, and it’s an important part of our lives.”
Helen and her husband Andy, an architect and fellow philanthropist, have supported and assisted many charities and organizations over the years, including the Spriet Family Theatre at Covent Garden Market and the Spriet Family Visitor Centre at Fanshawe Pioneer Village. Helen has also been a board member for various organizations, and continuously looks for ways to give back to the community.
Principal of King’s, David Sylvester, is one of many Londoners who has been touched by Helen’s generosity and compassion.
“I can't think of a more deserving recipient of the Women of Excellence Award than Helen Spriet,” notes David. “For many years Helen has generously enriched the King's community with her sound advice, her philanthropy and her incomparable sense of humour. Congratulations, Helen, from your King's family.”
The Spriets have made a considerable impact on the King’s community. Andy became involved with King’s in 1999 and has served as both director and chair of the College Board, as well as a member of the Foundation Board. The couple was named Honorary Patrons of Music Reigns in 2000, a fundraising Gala that King’s hosted in partnership with Orchestra London from 1997-2009. They have also supported past campaigns at King’s, including “Building Faith Building Futures” which raised funds for Labatt Hall.
The Spriets have been the co-chairs for the Student Life Campaign since it was launched in 2008. With a goal of $10.5 million dollars, the Campaign focuses on two key initiatives – the Darryl J. King Student Life Centre opening in September 2013 and creating more financial assistance for students in need.
Erin Lawson, Executive Director of Development & Alumni Affairs at King’s, is pleased to hear of Helen’s recognition.
“Helen has led the Campaign Cabinet for King's Student Life Campaign in partnership with Andy. The Andy and Helen Spriet Learning Commons in the King Centre will be a focal point of the new building,” says Erin. “Helen's support for King's has inspired others as she has opened her home and given generously of her time to help King’s achieve its goals.”
Helen is excited by the opportunity to provide students with a positive learning environment that will allow them more time to focus on student life and student activities on campus.
“We have been involved right from the start,” says Helen. “When we first learned about the Campaign, it seemed like the right thing to do. We felt that acting as co-chairs was a good way for us to participate.”
Helen is a successful and respected woman in the London business community. She operated her own furniture and design store, Yorkville Interiors, for 21 years, retiring in 2009. Helen can focus on what she values the most – her three children and nine grandchildren. Her generous spirit is already shared by her grandchildren who are involved in charities by donating their time and expertise. Helen’s commitment to philanthropy and family life is a testament of what inspirational women can achieve in our community.
The YMCA of Western Ontario Women of Excellence Gala is a unique event hosted every second year by the YMCA in London. All proceeds from this event support the YMCA Strong Kids Program, ensuring everyone has access to YMCA programs and services regardless of their ability to pay.
For more information on the Women of Excellence Awards, please visit ymcawo.ca/womenofexcellence