LA&PS announces new donor-funded awards for Black students

Black female student working on a laptop

The Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS) Advancement Team has announced six new donor-funded awards for Black students within the Faculty. The announcement comes during Black History Month, and aims to provide greater access to funding for Black students.

The awards exemplify support from the Faculty’s donors to reduce financial barriers and reward academic excellence for Black students.

Two of the awards are also open to Indigenous students.

The awards

The Tom Janes Award for Black Scholars is a $5,000 award created to support 10 Black students in their first year of study in an LA&PS program and is renewable for up to two years. Awardees will be selected by the Advisory Committee to the Special Advisor on the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies’ Anti-Black Racism Strategy. This award is being made possible by a leading gift from the Janes family, in memory of Tom Janes.

The Melissa Grelo Entrance Award for Black and Indigenous Excellence will benefit Black and Indigenous women entering their first year enrolled in a program offered by the School of Information Technology or the Department of Economics. Melissa Grelo (BA, psychology and French), the celebrated alumna who established this award, is well-known for her work moderating CTV’s The Social, and her other successes in television broadcasting. She remains connected to York through both prominent volunteer roles and her generous financial support.

Samira Mursal
Samira Mursal

The Stephanie Stavro Scholarship in English is awarded to a Black student majoring in an English program offered by LA&PS. Named after the York University Department of English alumna, the new scholarship will support a second-year student.

The first recipient of this award has already been selected. Reflecting on her goals, student awardee Samira Mursal said, “I want to be a teacher because of the disproportionately low number of Black teachers. I am a first-generation student, and with that comes a lot of barriers. I am extremely grateful for the Stephanie Stavro Scholarship because it helped me come one step closer to achieving my dreams.”

The Founders Scholarship in Anthropology has been established through donations from faculty and friends of the Department of Anthropology. It will include both an undergraduate scholarship and a graduate fellowship awarded on an annual basis. Eligible scholarship applicants include Black and Indigenous students demonstrating academic excellence within the Anthropology program.

The Obodai Sai Entrance Award in Commerce recognizes incoming first-year undergraduate Black students entering the Bachelor of Commerce program, for their demonstrated leadership and academic performance in high school.

The Riverside Natural Foods Award will benefit Black students enrolled in an undergraduate program within the Bachelor of Commerce program in LA&PS, or in the Lassonde School of Engineering. Applicants must submit a one-page statement describing how they have inspired a healthier and more compassionate world.

The LA&PS Black Student Support Fund will create new awards for Black students through donations from the LA&PS community. The Faculty will match donations made to this fund – up to $50,000 – until April 30, to facilitate new awards of $2,000 for Black students enrolled in an LA&PS undergraduate program. These awards will be adjudicated by the Advisory Committee to the Special Advisor on the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies’ Anti-Black Racism Strategy.

“Providing financial support for Black students recognizes that they have faced systemic and institutional barriers that have disproportionately affected their ability to not only access a university education, but also to succeed in higher education,” Special Advisor, LA&PS Anti-Black Racism Strategy Andrea Davis says.

“It is incumbent on LA&PS as the largest and most diverse liberal arts faculty in Canada to lead the way in repairing some of the damage universities have historically caused in entrenching discourses and practices of anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism.”

Click here if you are interested in supporting the LA&PS Black Student Support Fund.

More information about the student application processes for these awards will be posted on the LA&PS Awards Search website. Please check this page periodically for updates.