Iris G. Petten
Iris G. Petten
For alumna Iris G. Petten, BA'84, B.V.Ed.'97, the fishery has been a significant presence in her life for as long as she can remember. “I was cutting fish on the wharf with my dad at the age of 10,” she chuckled. Education also had a strong impact on Ms. Petten. “Education helps us break the cycle often found in rural fishing communities. We can still be fishers, but we can be educated fishers. I deal with people on a daily basis who joined the fishing industry as young men and women. In some cases, these people didn’t have opportunities to finish their primary education, let alone a secondary education. They had to be on the water or the wharf – no time for books. I want to help break this cycle found within our traditional fishing industry. For me, this means education and exposure to new ideas, new ways of thinking.”
Since the fishing industry plays such an integral role in her life, Ms. Petten felt it appropriate to help others working within this sector to advance their spheres of knowledge and influences, to teach them the importance of receiving an education and in helping the next generation. So she established a scholarship at the Marine Institute to offer financial assistance to students who were planning on working in or improving the fishing sector.
“I tried to look at unique ways of giving. Working with my financial advisor, I examined several novel approaches to establish my charitable gift. The solution for my personal situation was to make my gift through a life insurance contract. By taking out a life insurance policy on my life and making Memorial University both the policy owner and beneficiary, I was able to realize several objectives at once. My premiums would be paid throughout my working career and invested to grow over time. This would leverage my cash flow to provide a more significant contribution to the Marine Institute and its students. In addition, it would generate considerable tax savings for me by converting my annual insurance premium into a charitable donation.
“As today’s leaders, we can help to improve and better our province – our world – and its industries. We can all help to ensure a bright future for the leaders and decision makers of tomorrow. It’s easy to help when you believe in what you are doing – it just shines through.”
It was Wade Dawe’s, B.Comm.(Co-op)’92, positive experience at Memorial that encouraged him to support the university through the establishment of an endowed scholarship designed to encourage entrepreneurs amongst business students.
As a student at Memorial, Mr. Dawe was the recipient of an entrepreneurial scholarship and he recalls this award as a very motivating event in his life. “To be a successful entrepreneur, one has to be energetic, motivated, creative and tenacious, with a strong desire to succeed. Similar skills and assets were instilled in me through my family and during my studies at Memorial. I firmly believe that by fostering entrepreneurship at a pivotal time in the academic career of a young person, we have the opportunity to plant the seeds that could well blossom into the next generation of our business leaders.”
After graduation, Mr. Dawe went on to a highly successful career in the mineral exploration sector and venture capital, but he never forgot the contribution that Memorial played in making him such a success. “Memorial is a great university and it played a major part in my personal development.”
Mr. Dawe chose to name the scholarship after his close friend and brother-in-law, James (Jim) Robert Pearcey, who died tragically shortly after graduation from Memorial’s engineering faculty in 1994. “He was a tremendous person who gave of himself in both his professional and personal lives. I wanted to honour Jim and his contribution to this world. He was a dynamic and positive person, a loyal friend, and head of his engineering class at Memorial. He had a lot to offer and was happy to give of himself whenever and wherever he could. It is my wish, through this scholarship, that this gift may help in some way to inspire others to achieve their goals in independent business.”
So Mr. Dawe established the endowed James R. Pearcey Scholarship for Entrepreneurism as a means of promoting entrepreneurship to young individuals driven to succeed on their own terms in the world of business.
“Entrepreneurs are the cornerstone of economic growth and innovation in Canada, but more particularly in provinces such as Newfoundland and Labrador where economic diversification is so very important,” said Mr. Dawe. “I know Jim would be happy having his name linked to such a positive undertaking – one that benefits those who will lead our province into the future.”
“I have reached a point in my career where I can reflect proudly on the past while looking with confidence to the future. My education and experience at Memorial provided me with a strong foundation which has been invaluable to me. It feels good to support an institution that did a great deal to support me.”