Celebrating academic excellence and diversity
September 26, 2023
Queen’s students, staff, faculty, and leaders gathered in Grant Hall recently to celebrate the more than 300 current undergraduate recipients of Queen’s major scholarships and awards, including Promise Scholars, Commitment Scholars, Karta Catalyst Scholars, Principal’s Global Scholars, and Major Admission Awards recipients.
The event brought together first-year and upper-year students to make connections with each other and people across the university as the academic year gets into full swing.
Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs Ann Tierney hosted the event and delivered words of encouragement to the students.
“To all of our Scholars, the university is thrilled you are part of our community,” said Tierney in her remarks. “We are excited to have this opportunity to celebrate your journey to date, and to talk with you to hear about your plans for your time at Queen’s, and your bright futures ahead.”
Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Matthew Evans was also on hand to address the scholars.
“You are here, as recipients of these various awards, because of your leadership and commitment, your academic excellence, your hard work, and your perseverance,” said Evans. “You bring many diverse experiences to campus, and this is of huge significance to us because a university is nothing without its students. At Queen’s, we want to provide a challenging and enriching experience for all, and we can only succeed in this if the people who make up our community bring forth all they have to offer and share their experiences, perspectives, and ideas.”
Two second-year Commitment Scholars also took the stage to share their stories and wisdom they’ve learned from their Queen’s experience so far. The Commitment Scholars program supports diversity on campus and recognizes the significant contributions students make to creating and supporting an inclusive community through their commitment to racial justice, social justice, and diversity in their schools, their communities, and at Queen's. There are currently 29 Commitment Scholars at the university.
“As a Queen's Commitment Scholar, I have been privileged to witness nothing but growth and positive influence from my fellow scholars who stand beside me,” said Ore Maxwell, second-year health sciences student and Commitment Scholar. “We stand together, uplift one another, and support each other unconditionally. Together, we are dynamite, and a force to be reckoned with. We have an unwavering commitment to dismantling barriers and nurturing inclusivity in all that we do.”
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned from being a Queen’s Commitment Scholar, it is to constantly push my own boundaries, because as I look around the room, and see all these amazing people here today, I can confidently say that opportunity has never looked so big,” said Kasai Major-Browne, second-year psychology student and Commitment Scholar.
Following the remarks, there was a reception where students mingled with each other, as well as with faculty and staff and took photos with signs showing their Queen’s spirit.
Commitment to access and diversity
All Queen’s major scholarships and awards recognize academic achievement, and some are also specifically designed to increase access to the university among equity-deserving students. In addition to the Commitment Scholars program, these include the Promise Scholars program, the Karta Catalyst Scholars program, and the Principal’s Global Scholars program.
The Promise Scholars program is designed to reduce financial barriers and increase access to Queen’s for first-generation students from Kingston and the surrounding counties. The program provides dedicated financial, academic, and career support to help students complete their degree. There are currently 16 Promise Scholars at Queen’s.
The Karta Catalyst Scholars program is a partnership with The Karta Initiative, which provides access to university for promising students from low-income rural communities in India. There are currently six Karta Scholars at Queen’s.
The Principal’s Global Scholars program provides students who have been forcibly displaced by war, conflict, and political instability with an admissions pathway and funding to complete their degree at Queen’s. Through Queen’s long-standing partnership with the World University Service of Canada (WUSC) Student Refugee Program, there are currently 10 WUSC students at Queen’s.
The Major Admission Awards recognize students who demonstrate superior academic ability, creative and original thinking, involvement in school or community activities, and proven leadership. These awards include the Chancellor’s Scholarship, for which students must be nominated by their high schools, and several need-based awards. There are currently 203 Chancellor’s Scholars and 105 additional Major Admission Award recipients at Queen’s.