(November 5, 2020) Laurentian University is proud to announce the creation of the Desiderata Entrance Bursary, thanks to a donation by Catherine Gravely. The bursary, worth a total of $120,000, will be granted annually to three Laurentian students who have spent time in society care as youths in Ontario. This is a first in the province, and builds on the university's announcement last year of waiving tuition for Ontario students who spent time in care.
The name of the award is a tribute to the poem Desiderata by Max Ehrmann, which gave strength and comfort to Catherine. "Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself," the poem says. "You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here."
The bursaries will defray costs for books and living expenses for students primarily entering the first year of any program. In selecting the recipients of the bursaries, priority will be given to first year students entering Laurentian University who fulfilled the eligibility criteria. Valued at $10,000 per year, this award is renewable for four years.
"I am delighted that you have already been able to increase the funding and am happy to do more. My goal was to send a message to youth or former youth coming from care that there are people who ‘have their back’, even if they don’t know them at all. There is an unseen cheering section that wants these youth to succeed, and I am only one of those. Life is partially hard work, but much of it is also “luck” - both good and bad. I would like to be the creator of some good fortune for those who have experienced undeserved bad fortune - in part ‘to right the scales’, and in part to demonstrate that more unexpected good things will come for them, and that there will be times ahead when life will be much brighter." Catherine Gravely, donor
"What a wonderful opportunity to help our students build their futures thanks to the support of such a generous heart. This bursary will serve as a reminder during their studies that a giving spirit is an important quality. It helps promote the construction of a more unified world." Marie-Josée Berger, Provost and Vice-President, Academic, Laurentian University