On February 4, 2020, community leader, volunteer and philanthropist Debra Deane Little was named the University of King’s College 15th Chancellor.
Deane Little was born in Toronto and raised in London, Ont. She holds BA, BEd and MA degrees from the University of Windsor. She lives in Windsor, Ont. with her husband, Robert Little. They have three boys who are adopted, one of whom is a King’s graduate, and a fourth young man who has been a part of their family since he was 17.
“Debra Deane Little is warm, caring, friendly, down-to-earth, enthusiastic, genuinely interested in everyone, and deeply committed to King’s and its well-being,” says William Lahey, King’s President and Vice-Chancellor. “We are delighted she has agreed to be the honorary leader of our community for the next five years.”
As an engaged King’s parent, Deane Little has grown to admire King’s and its distinctive educational mission with its emphasis on living and learning together in a supportive community. On that basis she has, with her husband, become a major benefactor of King’s, including the funding of the Debra Deane Little and Robert Little Academic Scholarships for Varsity Athletes. These include 14 four-year entrance scholarships every year and additional scholarships of shorter duration to students who excel at King’s. Over the next five years, potentially more than 100 students will receive funding under this unique academic scholarship program.
Deane Little’s motivation for supporting King’s is her desire to promote and support greater and wider awareness of King’s, the life-changing education it offers, and the lives of meaning and purpose it inspires its graduates to lead. To that end, Deane Little and Robert Little have designated King’s as a primary beneficiary of their family’s Alpha Aquilae Foundation.
The Deane Little family also benefits post-secondary students within their own community with the four-year Robert Little and Debra Deane Little Windsor-Essex Scholarships, to be awarded to 50 students over the next five years through the Greater Essex County District School Board. Their objective is to provide consistent financial aid to academically able graduating secondary students entering a university in Canada with a special focus on students who demonstrate a combination of academic ability, financial need and balanced personal development.
Throughout her life, Deane Little has been an active community member and volunteer for a range of causes and organizations including hospice care, church work, public education and support for adoption and families of adoptive children. She served nine years as a member and then chairperson of the Adoption Resource Group of Windsor and Essex County.
“I believe in the life-long value of the education students receive and create at King’s,” says Deane Little. “I look forward to working with President Lahey and the King’s community to help others come to know the transformative and sustaining quality of the education students receive here.”
Debra Deane Little is King’s first woman Chancellor.