Building stronger communities

James Daw paying it forward to a new generation

James Daw, BA’72, was a high school senior in small-town Ontario when his aunt suggested he consider studying at Glendon, York and Canada’s only bilingual university campus.

“It was like coming to another village with the added benefit of being surrounded by francophones from Quebec and northern Ontario,” he recalls fondly.

Almost 50 years later, the diversity and intimacy of Daw’s Glendon experience inspired him to pay it forward. Together with a committee of alumni volunteers, the former Toronto Star columnist and certified financial planner launched a bursary to help Indigenous students thrive on a university campus that is deliberately small and committed to accessibility.

The Glendon Alumni Fund for Indigenous Students was unveiled in September 2017 at Glendon’s day-long homecoming event honouring Canada’s sesquicentennial. Daw was on hand to thank the Friends of Glendon for their pacesetting $10,000 donation and to invite alumni to pledge their support. Now valued at more than $27,000, the endowment will support Indigenous students in perpetuity, with only the investment income awarded annually.

The bursary is a direct reflection of York University President Rhonda Lenton’s commitment to accessibility and attracting more mature students, Indigenous Canadians, racialized people, people with disabilities, members of the queer and transgender communities and citizens of the world.

“Canada has a rich and diverse history that includes both francophones and Indigenous people,” says Daw. “It’s not only fitting for Glendon to offer an award to attract and support Indigenous students, it will make our campus even more interesting and fulfilling for all students.”

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