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Best gift ‘ever’

Four Dawe daughters honour father with Grenfell Campus business scholarship

Campus and Community

By Kaila Mintz

Last Christmas, the Dawe sisters made the gift of a lifetime.

Gerald Dawe stands in front of a woodstove. The walls are brown brick and there are framed pictures and candle holders in the background.
Gerald Dawe
Photo: Submitted

They established a scholarship at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University, in honour of their father, Gerald Dawe.

Mr. Dawe is the retired president of Stan Dawe Ltd., a building supplies company headquartered in Corner Brook.

The Gerald Dawe Scholarship in Business Administration will provide financial assistance and recognition to exceptional undergraduate students pursuing a business administration degree at Grenfell Campus.

It is also intended to honour Mr. Dawe’s lifelong dedication to learning and support for his daughters’ post-secondary education.

“The exceptional science education that I received [at Grenfell Campus] ignited my passion for learning and prepared me well.” — Beverly Dawe

Beverly Dawe, one of the four Dawe sisters and the chief veterinary officer of Newfoundland and Labrador, says her father has always appreciated the significance of Grenfell Campus to the West Coast community and to the province.

“As a young high school graduate, uncertain about my future career, he encouraged me to attend Grenfell to see what university was all about,” she said. “The exceptional science education that I received there ignited my passion for learning and prepared me well for admission to the veterinary medicine program at the Ontario Veterinary College.”

Beverly then returned home to contribute service to her home province.

“I am forever grateful to my father for encouraging me on this path, and to Grenfell Campus for the education that launched me into a successful and rewarding career.”

‘Encouragement and help’

The five-year, annual scholarship, valued at $500, will be awarded to a student in year three of the bachelor of business administration program at Grenfell.

Preference will be given to a student who can demonstrate leadership, personal integrity and a strong work ethic — all qualities espoused by Mr. Dawe throughout his illustrious career.

A family of five in a line, dressed for a celebration and smiling at the camera.
The four Dawe sisters are pictured with their parents, Myrtle and Gerald, on their father’s 80th birthday.
Photo: Submitted

Preference will also be given to a student who has graduated from a high school in Newfoundland and Labrador, underscoring the Dawe family’s commitment to the province’s students.

In an interview, Mr. Dawe shared that success in business comes down to being honest and fair and being willing to put in hard work and long hours, as needed.

Running a business can feel like more than a full-time job, as there is always more work to do — not unlike being a student. From Mr. Dawe’s perspective, family support is essential.

“Not only will this boost confidence, but it will let future employers and/or schools know that you are exceptional.” — Brenda Dawe

He credits his equally hard-working wife, Myrtle Dawe, for their family’s success over the years. Asked how Grenfell parents can make a difference, Mr. Dawe suggests giving students “the encouragement and the help that they need” in order to succeed.

The Dawe family has long held education in high esteem, with all four daughters pursuing post-secondary degrees.

“Our father has always been a huge advocate for post-secondary education and was extremely supportive of mine and my sisters’ studies,” said Shirley Dawe, executive director of Crown-Indigenous Consultation Coordination at Natural Resources Canada, and based in Calgary, Alta. “Setting up this scholarship was a way to recognize and honour our father’s influence in our own education and careers and to pay forward our experience by supporting the education of other young people.”

Their father has never been easy to buy gifts for, according to Sandra Dawe, a lawyer and managing partner at Shibley Righton LLP, based in Toronto, Ont.

“When we read the description of the scholarship to him this Christmas, he told us that he could not think of a better present, ever,” she said. “Putting his four daughters through university is a big source of pride for him and our mom.”

The sisters say they are “delighted” to be contributing to the education of another generation.

Mr. Dawe echos these words, noting that he was speechless, and emotional, upon hearing about his daughter’s tremendous gift. As a business person, he says, he has long made it a priority to give back to the community.

The Dawe family hopes that the new scholarship will not only provide financial assistance to students, but also encourage them to pursue their dreams and stand out among their peers.

“While scholarships help students pay for university, they also reward them on their achievements,” said Brenda Dawe, an accomplished singer and seasoned performer, and chair, Department of Music and Theater Arts and associate professor, State University of New York Broome in Binghamton, N.Y. “Not only will this boost confidence, but it will let future employers and/or schools know that you are exceptional.”

Grenfell Campus is grateful to the Dawe family for their generous gift in support of students. To create a scholarship, contact Laura Edwards at ledwards@grenfell.mun.ca or (709) 637-7331; or Larissa Groch at (709) 864-2351 or larissa.groch@mun.ca.

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