The William Leonard McNeil Scholarship

During the 1930's and 1940's, Queen's offered summer courses and the opportunity to earn an undergraduate degree by studying exclusively during the summer.

For 17 consecutive summers, my Uncle Leonard and his younger brother (my dad, John McNeil, also BA 1949) studied and earned credits toward their Bachelor of Arts degrees. During the academic year, Uncle Leonard (and my dad) taught school. Neither man had the financial resources to study "full-time". They were from a farming family and had themselves and their families to support.

By offering this summertime undergraduate opportunity, Uncle Leonard (and my dad) earned the ticket to their future successes in the field of education. Uncle Leonard became a provincial school inspector for Independent Schools (based in Halton County) and my dad was the first director of education in Prince Edward County.

Uncle Leonard was a loyal man, remembered his benefactors and although he adored his wife of 62 years, did not have offspring. Uncle Leonard acquired a Queen's tam, and my dad taught his 3 children the Queen's cheers, even though neither Leonard nor John were directly able to participate in Welcome Week or football spectating. Uncle Leonard wanted to fund a scholarship in order to advance future generations of Queen's students. He chose geography because of the pride he felt in receiving 100% in a Queen's geology course. As for my dad, he launched his three daughters towards undergraduate education.

All three of his daughters achieved undergraduate degrees. I am the only one to graduate from Queen's. My dad died suddenly of a heart attack three months before I completed my B.Ed. in 1979. I followed his footsteps into education, and retired in June 2010 following a 31 year career in education.