Liboria Marsala
Liboria Marsala, recipient of a Marcel A. Desautels Leadership Scholarship.

So no deserving student is turned away

The costs of being a student add up quickly. Tuition, relocation expenses, paying for a place to live, food, books and supplies – the prospect can induce budget panic, and some talented students simply aren’t able to make ends meet. But thanks to increased philanthropic support for scholarships and bursaries, the University has moved much closer to its ambition that every deserving student gets access to a McGill education, regardless of financial means.

Awards such as the Best in the West Student Awards Program, created in 2008 through a $1-million gift from Dr. Richard Walls, PhD’78, and Carolina J. Walls, BSc’85, and buoyed by contributions from other generous Western Canadian donors, is going a long way to helping students from British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan who are entering their first year at McGill.

“It was a huge honour to receive this award,” says Science student Marina Smailes, inaugural recipient of a Best in the West General Scholarship. “Without it, I wouldn’t have been in a position to travel across the country and live away from home. My time at McGill has completely changed my life.”

Likewise, entrance awards such as the Heller Family Entrance Scholarships in Medicine, Management and Arts, established by William J. Heller, BCom’78, are supporting top incoming students needing financial support, so that they can apply themselves, expand horizons through campus involvement or volunteering, and make the most of their time at McGill.

In-course scholarships are also instrumental for rewarding students for outstanding academic achievements while they are at McGill, and a generous endowment established by Marcel Desautels, LLD’07, as part of a visionary $22-million gift in 2006, is doing just that for deserving undergraduates in the Desautels Faculty of Management.

In the past two years, McGill has increased the overall amount of support for undergraduate students by nearly 10%. It’s a simple strategy: reducing the financial burden for students helps them achieve more of their goals and excel in their studies.

“A scholarship makes a real difference in a student’s decision to attend a leading university like McGill,” says Morton Mendelson, Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning). “These awards have an enormous impact on the lives of deserving students.”

It was the motivation for Montreal businessman David Moyse in creating the David Moyse Guitar Scholarship now awarded annually at the Schulich School of Music. “I want to support music students, so they don’t have to worry about their finances and can practise their art.”