Giving for 50 Years: A Bursary Story as told by Marilyn McDonald Dubuc, BSc(HEc)’52

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Beta Sigma Phi was founded in 1931, in Kansas City, Missouri, as an International Sorority with the motto: Life, Learning and Friendship. The first Chapter in Montreal was established in 1937 with Mme P. Casgrain as the Sponsor.

In 1971, Beta Sigma Phi International initiated a Canadian Scholarship program, awarding $1,000 to a suitable college within each of the 10 provinces. Our chapter received $500. At that time, our member Margaret MacWilliams was the secretary for Helen Neilson, BHS’39, MSc’48, Director of the School of Household Science at Macdonald College of McGill University. Our City Council Scholarship Committee agreed to select students in good standing in Household Science who would benefit from financial assistance.

This year we will be awarding the Beta Sigma Phi Bursary to our 50th recipient. Over the past 50 years, $58,915 in financial assistance has been given out to students in what is now the School of Human Nutrition – an impressive achievement!

We have been fortunate that each bursary recipient has sent us a thank-you letter, as well as some information about themselves and their future ambitions. We invite recipients to attend our annual Founder’s Day Banquet in April and most of them have been able to attend. This has provided the students with an opportunity to share some of their experiences and learn more about the organization and its mission.

I have been involved with the Bursary since the beginning and have seen how the change in student maturity and the evolution of the education they are receiving is truly amazing. I can attest to the fact that all the deserving recipients have been hard-working, as well as participating in other Macdonald organizations and activities. The speed of the technology they are dealing with is guiding them for the future. I can’t help but compare this to my own four years at Macdonald, graduating in 1952 with a degree in Dietetics. A great deal has happened since then but it’s very rewarding to feel that continued connection with Macdonald and the students.

The amount of the Beta Sigma Phi bursary has also grown over the years, with donations from our City Council, our Montreal Chapters, individuals, other alumni and, for the last 10 years, a generous donation from the Kiwanis Club of Lakeshore Montreal. Making an annual donation in support of students has been really rewarding for me as an alumna of the Faculty. Collectively, this bursary is making a difference in a young person’s life.

We are looking forward to meeting our 50th recipient as the new term begins with a brighter future.

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