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‘No intention of slowing down’

Business student named one of best in Atlantic Canada

By Susan White

An entrepreneurial approach to studies and volunteer work has helped a Memorial University business student earn a $25,000 scholarship.

Matthew Raske of St. John’s has won a 2018-19 Frank H. Sobey Award for Excellence in Business Studies. Each year, the Sobey Foundation recognizes eight Atlantic Canadian business students with the prestigious award. A Memorial student last won in 2016.

“It’s so great,” said Mr. Raske, a fourth-year student in the bachelor of commerce (co-operative) program at the Faculty of Business Administration. “This award opens so many doors for me.”

‘Tenacity, determination, ambition’

The Frank H. Sobey Award recognizes entrepreneurial students and considers academic achievement, employment history, university and community leadership, and career aspirations.

“Entrepreneurship is more than just starting a business — it’s a unique set of qualities and skills that can be applied to build value in many different areas of life,” said Mr. Raske. “If you look at Frank Sobey, he established a huge business empire through tenacity, determination and ambition. Those same entrepreneurial qualities enabled him to succeed in academics and in not-for-profit initiatives like the Sobey Foundation, which is still thriving today.

“In that sense, I do believe that I am entrepreneurial. It’s an honour to have my name associated with a great Atlantic Canadian entrepreneur like Frank Sobey.”

Academic achievements

Mr. Raske maintains a 4.0 GPA in his coursework at Memorial.

He has received numerous scholarships from the faculty and university for his academic performance and has been named to the Dean’s List in each year of his program to date. He’s also simultaneously completing a bachelor of arts in political science at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

He’s heavily involved in extracurricular activities on campus, serving as the digital media representative on the Commerce Class of 2020 student council, as a founding member of the St. John’s Youth Social Justice Society and as a volunteer with the university chapter of Global Brigades.

Passion for community

Mr. Raske is passionate about helping others, both locally and internationally. He’s completed four humanitarian missions to Dominican Republic, Mexico, Ecuador and Honduras to build homes, a school and a safe drinking water system.

His history of community involvement is extensive, from co-ordinating fundraisers for the Autism Society and Refugee and Immigrant Advisory Council, to helping to organize free panel discussions at Memorial on social justice issues, to participating in numerous events by local advocacy groups.

“I have no intention of slowing down. I enjoy working and I enjoy pushing myself so I definitely want to continue doing that in the future,” said Mr. Raske.

“I want to do something exciting and dynamic. I like the unexpected.” — Matthew Raske

With hopes of completing a law degree after graduating from Memorial, Mr. Raske says winning the Sobey award removes some of the financial stress of pursuing post-secondary studies and will help him achieve his career goals.

“It’ll make them a lot more achievable. Finances are much less of an issue now than they were before. Having this award will definitely empower me to be able to pursue my goals,” he said.

“I’m definitely open to a lot of possibilities right now. I want to do something exciting and dynamic,” he added. “I like the unexpected.”

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