Since its inception three years ago, the University of the West Indies (UWI) Toronto Benefit Gala has raised close to $1 million to assist Caribbean students pursuing post-secondary education at the largest and longest standing higher education provider in the English-speaking Caribbean.
Two students at the UWI Open Campus in Dominica were recent beneficiaries of Can$3,000 bursaries from the gala for the 2012-2013 academic year. Elora Riley is an accounting student, while Aaronia Stedman is pursuing management studies.
“I am humbled, appreciative and elated to have received the bursary,” said Stedman, who is deputy chair of the Guild of Students Dominica chapter. “The help it has provided acts like a catalyst for me to work harder. It will also prove to other students that hard work does pay off, and that UWI is looking out for the good of its students.”
Riley said she’s inspired to know that the UWI is willing to stand in the gap for individuals like her by investing in their future.
“This financial aid came at an opportune time and it will undoubtedly ease some of the financial burden I face in my final year of study,” she said. “I look forward to the completion of my studies and embarking on my career so that I too may contribute financially to the educational pursuits of the young and less fortunate who definitely deserve the prospect of a better future.”
The cost of tuition for a full-time undergraduate program averages about US$12,000 annually. Close to 2,000 students apply annually for UWI scholarships and less than 100 are granted academic funding each year.
The fourth annual UWI Toronto Gala takes place on May 11 at the Ritz Carlton Toronto Hotel, 18 Wellington Street West.
Former Ryerson University chancellor, Ray Chang, said he has been honoured to be the patron chair since the gala’s inception.
“I believe in the best of the human spirit,” said Chang. “We have the ability to extend ourselves well beyond our boundaries – whatever and wherever they may be – and in so doing better the lives of those in our communities and our country.”
By RON FANFAIR