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New bursaries to support racialized and first-generation students

An estate gift will create new bursaries for first-year Black Canadian students, first-year visible minority and racialized students, and first-year first-generation students.

A Queen’s education will soon become more accessible to students who might otherwise not have the opportunity to enroll.

A variety performances by clubs and individuals on campus and in the Kingston community were showcased at the annual ACSA Culture Show in 2017. (Photo by Bernard Clark)
A variety performances by clubs and individuals on campus and in the Kingston community were showcased at the annual ACSA Culture Show in 2017. (Photo by Bernard Clark)

A $2.2 million estate gift provided by the late Ester Margaret Harrison will be used to create bursaries for academically qualified first-year students from equity-seeking groups who demonstrate a financial need.

“We are thankful for this meaningful and impactful gift which will support many qualified students during their time at Queen’s,” says Teri Shearer, Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion). “These new awards will help us to increase recruitment and retention of students from under-represented groups, thereby building a more diverse campus community and enhancing our academic mission and student experience.”

Ensuring the availability of targeted financial support for racialized students is a recommendation of the Principal’s Implementation Committee on Racism, Diversity, and Inclusion (PICRDI) final report.

“We understand there is still more to do to satisfy the recommendations of the PICRDI report regarding the role of philanthropy at our university,” says Tom Harris, Vice-Principal (Advancement). “We continue to work closely with Deputy Provost Shearer to identify new opportunities where we can leverage philanthropy to further support these important recommendations.”

Ms. Harrison was the daughter of Dr. John Featherston (MD 1905), a Kingston-based physician and professor of Anatomy in the Queen’s Faculty of Medicine.  Ms. Harrison specified in her will that her estate would be used to support students in need. Although Ms. Harrison died in 1974, Queen’s was only eligible to receive its interest in her estate after other conditions in her will were satisfied. Student Affairs, in consultation with Advancement and the Human Rights and Equity Offices, drafted the terms of the awards based on the designation in Ms. Harrison's will.

Forty-five percent of the funds will be directed to the Ester Margaret Harrison Awards for Black Canadian Students. Another forty-five percent will be directed to the Ester Margaret Harrison Awards for Visible Minority/Racialized Students. Both of these awards are worth $5,000 and will be annually renewable. Each award will support up to nine new first-year students each year.

The remaining 10 per cent will go to the Ester Margaret Harrison Award for First-Generation Students, a one-time award of $1,000 to students who are the first in their family to attend university as they enter the first year of any undergraduate degree program. The first of these new awards should be disbursed this fall.

To learn more about funding and awards, please visit the Student Affairs website.