Scholastic Awards

December 2018

Recipients of Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Scholarships

The threat of the first big winter storm of the year didn’t deter our alumni/donors and students from attending our annual Scholastic Awards Reception, where we honour our students for their academic achievements and say thank you to our supporters – alumni, donors and industry partners.

With close to 200 people in attendance, there was mingling, talking, sharing Macdonald experiences, words of thanks from student Nancy He and alumnus Tom Clapp, BScAgr’65, as well as many photos taken.

Tom Clapp

Tom Clapp spoken poignantly about what Macdonald has meant to him and how important it is to continue supporting the Faculty. “To those receiving the scholarships I wish to say that what you have done is special. You have had to work hard or demonstrate special qualities to achieve your scholarship. Just being around you I can feel the excitement and that is contagious.

“But I also want to recognize the Macdonald team – Dean Anja, Faculty and Staff – all who have shared their experiences, the teaching material and not only taught you but challenged you to do better.

“I have been a member of a team of graduates in the Ottawa Valley (Richard Gilmer, BScAgr’75, is here with me today) that has been involved in raising funds to support five scholarships over 10 years – the Bob Pugh, Dean William H. Brittain, George Dion Memorial, Lewis E. Lloyd Memorial and Dr. John E. Moxley/Valacta Scholarships. The experience of raising funds for scholarships has been fun, rewarding and also gives one a great sense of pride. It is satisfying to have the opportunity to help make a difference by supporting you the students, for what you have accomplished so far. As individuals, some of us do not have the resources to give back but as a team, be it a Class group or a group of graduates, much can be done.

“As a challenge to you, the student scholarship recipients, once you graduate and become part of the alumni community, remember to give back to other students following in your footsteps. Remember how you felt today, so share that with future students.

“To me and many of the alumni, Macdonald is a family. The Alumni and donors, Dean Anja, Professors and you, the students, we are a family, a very special family. I am proud to be a member of this family. We are proud of you, so carry on that family legacy.”

Kevin Cuffling (right) with the 2018 recipient of the Saint Lambert Horticultural Scociey Centennial Scholarship, Sascha MacIntosh-Hobson (Agro-Environmental Sciences)

Kevin Cuffling, President of the Saint Lambert Horticultural Society, has been attending the Macdonald Scholastic Awards Reception for 17 years, though the award was endowed in 1994. According to Kevin, “The society, the oldest of its kind in Quebec, decided to celebrate its centennial in 1994 by creating a scholarship fund for a student entering Year Three of the BSc (Agriculture) Plant Science Major (later evolving to BSc(AgEnvSc)). Seeing as we were on the South Shore of Montreal, preference would be given to a student from the Montérégie region of Québec. The original objective was to raise a capital sum large enough to generate an annual interest of $1,000.  Every time I think of it, my hat goes off to the fundraising committee that managed to raise over $22,000 in just a few years via multiple avenues including afternoon teas, raffles, sales of plants, roots, vegetables, flea markets, loony banks (one loony per month until the pill box contained 25), auctions and personal contributions.  Over the next 25 years, the Society has continued to donate money to the fund, now managed by McGill, via community plant sales to ensure that the scholarship keeps up with the cost of living increases. 

The recipient of the award almost invariably comes to the Society to thank us for the award and to regale us with a short description of their interests and work. The members really enjoy this part, as we get to meet the student and see that our fundraising efforts can make a difference to advancing plant science and other ecological activities. We are pleased to know that the future of horticulture is in good hands with the students at Macdonald College.”

This year, Associate Dean Jim Fyles awarded over $357,000 to undergraduate students and Associate Dean Ian Strachan awarded over $406,000 to graduate students in fellowships, awards and prizes. Scholarships, prizes and bursaries are essential to supporting McGill’s scholars as they learn and grow academically, professionally and personally. Alumni and donor generosity helps our students become confident and engaged members of the community; they’re making an impact at McGill and around the world.

Alum Débora Santschi, BScAgr’02, MSc’04, Nutrition and Management Expert at Valacta, summed up the feeling of the event…

“I had the great pleasure to be present at the Macdonald Scholastic Reception mid-November, almost 15 years after graduating from McGill. It was my first presence at this prestigious awards reception, representing the donors and alumni side. Years after being a student there, seeing that the same friendship, enthusiasm and pride to be “part of Mac” is still present brought up a lot of memories. Of course, meeting these amazing students who are willing to share their experience in life so far with the generous donors was refreshing and proved the importance of these scholarships in connecting donors, especially Alumni donors, with future colleagues.”

“J’ai eu l’immense plaisir d’être présente à la soirée de reconnaissance du Campus Macdonald mi-novembre, presque 15 ans après avoir gradué de McGill. C’était ma première expérience à cette soirée prestigieuse, en tant que représentante des donneurs et anciens de McGill. Des années plus tard, voir que cette même amitié, cet enthousiasme et cette fierté d’appartenir à ‘Mac’ existe encore a ramené pleins de souvenirs de mes années passées ici. L’opportunité de rencontrer ces étudiants passionnés désireux de partager leur expérience de vie jusqu’à maintenant avec les généreux donateurs est rafraichissante et démontre l’importance de ces bourses pour réunir les donateurs, tout spécialement les donateurs qui sont d’anciens de McGill, et ces futurs collègues.”

Photos can be viewed on the Faculty Flickr page.

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