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Scholarships help Atlantic Canadian students thrive

By Meredith Dault, Senior Communications Officer

 Donald and Rob Sobey speak with scholarship-winning students.

When six students from Canada’s Atlantic region arrive at Queen’s this fall to begin their Commerce degrees, they will be doing so with a significant vote of confidence from two people who know a thing or two about making it in business: Donald Sobey (Com’57), Chair Emeritus of Empire Company Ltd., and his son, Rob (ArtSci’88) president and CEO of Lawton’s Drug Stores Ltd.

In 1999, the pair founded the D&R Sobey Atlantic Scholarship, which is awarded annually to six students from Canada’s east coast entering their first year of the Bachelor of Commerce program at the Queen’s School of Business. The scholarship, worth $75,000 over four years, is awarded to students who demonstrate academic excellence, leadership skills and community involvement

For the Sobeys, who are both based in Nova Scotia, it was a chance to give back to the university that helped shape them. “My dad had a great experience attending Queen’s and loved the idea of being able to help young people directly with a scholarship,” says Rob Sobey. “We want to be able to give these high achievers a chance to make their mark nationally and internationally as Atlantic Canadians.”

Former recipient Robert Marsh has done just that. The Dartmouth, Nova Scotia native received a scholarship from the Sobeys to study Commerce at Queen’s from 2003 to 2007, but says he likely would have gone to school in his home province if it had not been for the financial support.

“It was pretty life changing for me,” says Mr. Marsh, who currently serves as the Assistant Vice President, Calgary Branch Manager at Liberty International Underwriters, a specialized insurer. “I really attribute the successful start of my career to the Sobey family,” Mr. Marsh says, explaining that he still maintains a friendship with them. “That’s what is so interesting about the scholarship – it’s that you do establish a relationship with two business icons who are great people and great east coasters.”

“Dad and I both feel an incredible sense of pride in all of the award recipients and continue to enjoy watching their professional development,” says Rob Sobey, who continues to cite his friendships as one of the most memorable aspects of his time at Queen’s. That’s why he and his father make the journey to Kingston once a year to attend a dinner for the recipients, flying in lobster especially for the occasion.

The D&R Sobey Atlantic Scholarship has steadily increased in value since it was first established. In 2013 the award jumped from $68,000 over four years to its current total of $75,000 – an increase Rob Sobey says will help to further ease the financial pressures on students. “Every year we like to add a little ‘sizzle’ into the award!”

The 2013 D&R Sobey Atlantic Scholarship recipients are: John Dale (Ketch Harbour, NS), Sarah Kingsley (Corner Brook, NL), Kendra Saunders (Dartmouth, NS), Alexandra Schaerer (Rothesay, NB), Zachary Scott (Dartmouth, NS) and Keir Sullivan (St. John’s, NL)

For more information on the D&R Sobey Atlantic Scholarship, visit http://dandrsobeyscholarship.com

D&R Sobey Scholarship recipients pose with Donald and Rob Sobey, Dean David Saunders, and Sobey Scholarship Trustees in Kingston, 2012.