A Canadian businessman who has made millions of dollars building roads and bridges in Jamaica has paved the way for young people from the Caribbean island to study Civil Engineering at Nova Scotia’s Dalhousie University.
Nova Scotia residents, Richard Murray and his wife Melda, have presented a $1-million gift to the university to award two Jamaican students. The renewable scholarships, to be awarded in perpetuity, are each valued at up to $22,000 annually.
“This is great news,” said Jamaican-born Dr. Afua Cooper who heads the James Johnston Endowed Chair in Black Canadian Studies at Dalhousie University. “This will go a long way in training a batch of professional civil engineers. I wish more people in the business community would extend their philanthropy to Jamaica in the same way that the Murrays have done.”
The Murrays lived in Jamaica for just over a decade and one of their children was born there.
As president of R.A. Murray International in Halifax, Murray and his team provide engineering, general contracting, material procurement and logistical services to countries around the world. They recently completed 17 bridges and connector roads across Jamaica.
Since 2000, the Canadian company has been the project and procurement managers for the Jamaica Bridges Development Program.
Murray, who went to Jamaica for the first time in 1967 to work with Alcan, was involved in the last two phases of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) bridge building program in the country in 1965 and 1985.
“One of the most important parts of bridge building is the people,” Murray said. “Whether you are building a physical bridge or just trying to bridge a gap between people, it’s always the people that make it successful.”
Each scholarship will cover the cost of tuition and housing and is for students entering the Faculty of Engineering directly from high school or transferring from another institution.
Interested students should submit a Richard & Melda Murray Engineering Scholarship application by March 15. The scholarships are awarded every two years.
For further information, interested individuals can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dalhousie offers several scholarships to Black Canadian and Caribbean students. They include the Forsyth Family Nova Scotia Undergraduate award that supports Black high school students residing in the province and the First Nations & Indigenous Black Students Scholarship that’s available to students living in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Islands.
The Jeff & Martha Edwards scholarships for Black Canadian and Bermudan students honour the memory of Jeff Edwards who came to Canada in 1910 at age 21 to escape segregation and prejudice in the American South. He and his wife Martha were enormous contributors in the Amber Valley community in Alberta where they settled and raised 10 children.
BY RON FANFAIR