Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs 519 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

November 21, 2005

New Scholarship Will Help Student Fulfill Dream

Ask University of Guelph student Miranda Johnston how she feels about receiving one of the inaugural William and Nona Heaslip scholarships and she is at a loss for words.

“When I first got an e-mail saying I had received the scholarship, I didn’t know what to do or what to say — I just kept staring at the screen,” she said. “I still don’t know what to say. It’s going to help me out so much. It’s going to change everything.”

Johnston, 25, is in her second year at U of G studying political science. She grew up dreaming of becoming a lawyer, but when she got pregnant at age 17 and decided to raise the baby on her own, she feared her dream would never be fulfilled. But she persevered, completing two college programs before enrolling at U of G with her sights set on attending law school after graduation. Along the way, she’s been raising her daughter, Abigail, now 7.

Today, Johnston was presented with a William and Nona Heaslip Scholarship, which provides $15,000 a year and is renewable for up to three years. She is one of two U of G students receiving the award this fall. The other recipient is John Bouwers, a dairy farmer and father of four from Welland, who is enrolled in the B.Sc.(Agr.) program.

The number of Heaslip scholarships being presented at U of G will increase each year until 2007/2008, when the foundation will fund six renewable scholarships on an ongoing basis. The scholarships are open to undergraduate students who have completed semester two, maintained a minimum 70-per-cent cumulative average and have demonstrated financial need.

“William and Nona Heaslip have made an outstanding commitment to assisting undergraduate students with financial need by establishing these renewable awards,” said president Alastair Summerlee. “Their generous gift will help many talented students reach their full potential.”

William Arthurs Heaslip, a member of the Order of Canada, was chair and CEO of Grafton Group Ltd., the second-largest men’s retail clothing chain in Canada. Nona Macdonald Heaslip’s background as a journalist and television and radio producer led to a career in public relations management in New York and Toronto.

The Heaslips believe in giving back to the community and have supported hospitals, non-profit agencies, and many cultural organizations like the Canadian Opera Company, the Art Gallery of Ontario and Shaw Festival. In addition, they’ve established similar scholarships at six other Canadian universities and colleges.

In addition to the William and Nona Heaslip Scholarships, several other new undergraduate and graduate scholarships were announced during the University-wide undergraduate student awards presentations Nov. 9 and the graduate student awards presentations Nov. 21.

Close to 250 people attended the events, including undergraduate and graduate students who were recognized for their academic achievements and scholastic goals. Award donors, including individuals, families, corporations and organizations, also attended and were thanked for investing in the students’ futures.

The new scholarships announced during the ceremonies are:

• The Edward Stewart Graduate Scholarship in Scottish Studies. Created and endowed by friends and family of the late Edward Stewart, the former deputy minister of education and secretary of cabinet in the Ontario government, the scholarship honours his lifelong interests in higher education, Scottish culture and history.

• The Anna Hovanec and Val Hovanec OGS Funds. Established by the Lupina Foundation of Toronto, the first scholarship honours Foundation chair Margret Hovanec’s mother, Anna. It will support Ontario Graduate Scholarships for students doing research related to women’s health in rural communities. The second scholarship honours her late father, Val, and is directed to graduate students pursuing research in environmental biology, with a preference for recipients studying the impact of agricultural chemicals on farmers’ health.

• Bayer Crop Science OGS Fund. One-time funding for Ontario Graduate Scholarships for students doing research on environmental biology and plant agriculture.

• The Agnes Varis Undergraduate Scholarship in Women’s Studies. A new College of Arts award established by Dr. Agnes Varis, founder and president of Agvar Chemicals, to be presented annually to a student who demonstrates a passion and commitment for advancing education for women.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rebecca Kendall, Ext. 56982.

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