Best in the West

Recruiting and supporting top students from Western Canada

Being a university student can be expensive. Between tuition, housing, books and other supplies, it can cost a small fortune to attend the school of your dreams – and that financial strain can become overwhelming if you have to relocate to a new province for your studies.

Thanks to a generous gift from Dr. Richard Walls, PhD’78, and Carolina J. Walls, BSc’85, McGill has moved much closer to achieving its ambition that every academically qualified student is able to obtain a first-rate education.

The Calgary-based couple dedicated $1 million in 2008 to create and endow the Best in the West Student Awards program, designed to strengthen McGill’s ability to attract and retain top undergraduate students from British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. Their gift established the Dr. Richard and Carolina J. Walls Best in the West Scholarships in Science, for outstanding undergraduates from the three western provinces entering their first year of a full-time degree program in the Faculty of Science, as well as the Best in the West Scholarship in Earth and Planetary Sciences, for an exemplary second-year student.

“We are proud to offer Western Canadian students the opportunity to study at Canada’s most prominent and internationally recognized university,” says Carolina Walls.

The need remains great

Today, the Best in the West Awards program continues to thrive, thanks in large part to the generosity of other Western Canadians who have stepped forward to create additional scholarships and bursaries. And with more than 1,600 students from Canada’s three western provinces receiving letters of acceptance from McGill each year, the need for Best in the West Scholarships remains great.

“A scholarship makes a real difference in a student’s decision to attend a leading university like McGill,” says Professor Morton J. Mendelson, Deputy Provost (Student Life & Learning). “The Best in the West awards program has an enormous impact on the lives of deserving students, and it is vital to McGill’s strength and direction for the future.”