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Today's scholarship recipients, tomorrow's leaders

By Jennifer Batten

For many students beginning undergraduate studies at Memorial University, scholarships help pave the way to academic achievement and excellence and help shape the future. These sentiments indeed ring true for Cole Walsh and Jivetesh Chhatwal, recent recipients of the inaugural Canadian Schulich Leader Scholarships. Mr. Walsh and Mr. Chhatwal were each awarded an entrance scholarship valued at $60,000 to be disbursed in annual payments of $15,000 during each year of their four-year undergraduate degree programs at Memorial.

Mr. Walsh, who hails from Nameless Cove, N.L., will use his scholarship to pursue a bachelor of science degree at Memorial beginning this fall.

"This is a tremendous opportunity, life-changing even," said Mr. Walsh, a recent graduate of Canon Richards Memorial Academy in Flower's Cove. "I'm now focused on getting my bachelor's degree and I'm excited to begin this next chapter of my life. It just goes to show that people do notice and appreciate hard work. I can't thank Mr. Schulich enough."

Mr. Chhatwal, of St. John's, also plans to use his scholarship to pursue a bachelor of science degree at Memorial. He recently graduated from Prince of Wales Collegiate and says he had decided to attend Memorial long before he was awarded the scholarship.

"Through the concurrent studies program, I was a part-time biology student at Memorial in Grade 12," said Mr. Chhatwal. "I was ecstatic when I learned the news that I was awarded the scholarship and I would like to express my gratitude to all individuals and organizations involved in the creation and administration of the Schulich Leader Scholarship program."

Memorial University was one of 20 Canadian universities selected to participate in the scholarship initiative, one of the largest education endowments in Canada's history. Mr. Walsh and Mr. Chhatwal were among 977 Schulich leader nominees from high schools and CEGEPs across Canada, and two of the 40 students nationwide who were ultimately awarded the prestigious scholarships.

The Canadian Schulich Leader Scholarships initiative was founded last year by Seymour Schulich, renowned entrepreneur and one of Canada's greatest philanthropists. It is an annual undergraduate entrance scholarship program for students enrolling in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Mr. Schulich committed $100 million to the scholarships and believes that Canada's future lies in leadership committed to science and technology. He created the scholarship to support and encourage young people to embrace science and technology in their future careers, helping to drive the Canadian economy. The United Jewish Appeal Federation of Greater Toronto will manage the Schulich Leader Scholarship program. In addition to the Canadian program, a similar Schulich Leader Scholarships program is being carried out in Israel.

Dr. Gary Kachanoski, Memorial's president and vice-chancellor, expressed his appreciation for the Schulich Leader Scholarship program and recognized Mr. Schulich for his contributions to the success of today's students – tomorrow's leaders.

"I offer my sincere congratulations to these two bright young individuals and extend a warm welcome to Memorial University," said Dr. Gary Kachanoski. "Seymour Schulich's generous investment will have a tremendous impact on the academic pursuits of Mr. Walsh and Mr. Chhatwal, and other leaders of tomorrow in years to come. On behalf of Memorial University, I extend my thanks to Mr. Schulich for his support of students throughout the country."

One of the major criteria used in the scholarship selection process was leadership potential. For both Mr. Walsh and Mr. Chhatwal, leadership seems to come naturally. In addition to their studies and extracurricular activities, both students have been deeply involved with a variety of organizations over the past several years in volunteer and leadership capacities.

Mr. Walsh volunteers at the Lions Club Community Centre and tutors almost 200 hours per year in his community. He also has a keen interest in entrepreneurship and has excelled in national math competitions, science fairs and heritage fairs. In addition, he is a two-time winner of the David Saxon Arts and Letters Humanitarian essay competition.

Mr. Chhatwal has been a junior achiever with Junior Achievement of Newfoundland and Labrador for the past two years and in 2010-11 won the organization's Company of the Year Award. He has extensive volunteer experience with the Association for New Canadians, Eastern Health, School Key Club and the Newfoundland Sikh Society. He is also a youth mentor for junior high school students and created a social responsibility program to help ensure students give back to the community.

Wise beyond their years, brimming with intelligence and confident yet modest, both students reiterated their thanks to the program's founders and administrators and provided important food for thought for future Schulich leader nominees.

"If you are interested in becoming a Schulich leader nominee, discuss the details of the scholarship and nomination process with your school early in the year," said Mr. Chhatwal.

"Do what you want to do and do what makes you happy," added Mr. Walsh. "Work hard, and don't forget what you're working for. I guarantee you, it will pay off."

For more information on the Schulich Leader Scholarship program, visit www.shulichleaders.com.

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