Meet the inaugural class of McCall MacBain Scholars

Scholarships will create a community of innovators committed to working with others to make real change
Published: 7 April 2021

Twenty aspiring innovators, community-builders, and leaders will join the first class of McCall MacBain Scholars at McGill, recipients of Canada’s first comprehensive leadership-based scholarship for master’s and professional studies.

The newly selected McCall MacBain Scholars come from 15 universities in Canada and abroad. The places they have called home span the country and beyond, from Grande Prairie to Brossard to Beirut, Lebanon.

“The global challenges we face as a society need the energy and entrepreneurial spirit of these scholars,” said John McCall MacBain, who, together with his wife Dr. Marcy McCall MacBain, created these scholarships through a historic gift to McGill University. “Through this scholarship program, they’ll have opportunities to deepen their knowledge, develop their leadership skills, and create meaningful connections that will enable them to bring about positive change. We want to congratulate these students and recognize the hundreds of candidates across Canada who were considered for this scholarship.”

Each scholar was chosen based on their character, community engagement, leadership potential, entrepreneurial spirit, academic strength, and intellectual curiosity.

“Our selection committees looked for traits like empathy, integrity, grit, and a commitment to working with others,” said Natasha Sawh, Dean of the McCall MacBain Scholarships. “These students have a wide range of experiences and interests, and that diversity of perspective will be fundamental to their shared learning experience as McCall MacBain Scholars.”

More than 130 Canadian leaders, with varied professional and life experiences, volunteered their time to help select McCall MacBain Scholars. They reviewed 735 applications, interviewed 132 students regionally, and invited 50 to a final set of interviews which took place in March.

In September 2021, the inaugural McCall MacBain Scholars will begin their master’s or professional degrees in five faculties at McGill University. The scholarship enables students to pursue a fully funded master’s or professional degree at McGill University while connecting with mentors and participating in an intensive leadership development program.

The McCall MacBain Scholarships are the result of a historic $200-million gift to McGill University, which at the time was the largest single donation in Canadian history.

In addition to selecting 20 McCall MacBain Scholars, the McCall MacBain Scholarships program and McGill University have offered 55 entrance awards of $5,000 or $10,000 each to promising candidates. Altogether, this year’s 75 scholarships represent an estimated commitment of $2 million in tuition and living costs alone, which will be complemented by mentorship and leadership development programming. With the scholarships planned to continue in perpetuity, this year’s students represents the first of many generations of scholarship recipients.

Outreach is already underway for the second class of McCall MacBain Scholars, with the application period opening in June.

About the McCall MacBain Scholarships at McGill

Established in 2019, the McCall MacBain Scholarships enable outstanding students to pursue a funded master’s or professional degree at McGill University while participating in mentorship and leadership development opportunities.

About McGill University

Celebrating 200 years of discovery and learning, McGill University ranks as one of the top universities in Canada and the world. McGill’s mission is to create and share knowledge by offering the best possible education, by carrying out research and scholarly activities judged to be excellent by the highest international standards, and by providing service to society. These activities span three campuses, 11 faculties, 13 professional schools, and some 300 programs of study. Every year, McGill welcomes over 40,000 students, attracting more than 30% from 150-plus countries, and has the highest percentage of PhD students of any Canadian research university. Nearly 60% of its student population speaks French.

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