The Gift of Learning

The Gift of Learning | Bader Celebrations

Education changed Susan Solomon’s life. 

The Artsci’17, MIR’18 alumna was born in Sudan during that country’s civil war, which killed two million and caused wide-spread famine. Her family fled and she was raised in a refugee camp in neighbouring Kenya. 

Options were limited for people in the camp, but Solomon knew one way to get out was to do well in school and earn a scholarship. 

She attended Queen’s and received the Principal Wallace Freedom of Opportunity Award, a comprehensive financial award established by the visionary benefactors are celebrating this month, Alfred Bader, Sc’45, BA’46, MSc’47, LLD’86, and Isabel Bader, LLD’07, to help international refugees study at Queen's. 

Solomon was surprised and inspired to learn that Alfred was once a refugee like her. Dr. Bader, who was Jewish, was born in Austria, but fled Europe to escape the rise of Nazi Germany. 

“It blew me away,” says Solomon, “As a refugee kid running away from atrocities, it blew me away that somebody else that went through the same things and threw the rope back down, and I am climbing up the same ladder.” 

Alfred Bader understood the value of education and wanted others to benefit from studying at Queen’s like he did. 

Thanks to the Baders’ generosity, Solomon did not have to worry about paying for tuition, food, or textbooks. For the first time, money and supporting herself were not a concern and she could completely focus on school. 

“It is the most generous award I could have received as (I was) someone who was coming from a place where I had absolutely nothing,” Solomon says. 

Solomon did her undergrad in history and earned a Master of Industrial Relations. She now works as a labour-relations specialist at Canada Post in Mississauga, Ont. 

She was able to thank the Baders personally when they visited the campus in 2013.  

“I told him the only way I could repay him and his family is to work really hard in school so that their sacrifice and whatever finances they invested in me bore fruit,” Solomon says. “And that’s exactly what I did.” 

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