All in a Day's work
by Marilyn Smulders - February 17, 2011
What do you get for the guy who has everything? Here’s an idea – how about an enduring legacy in the form of a $1-million scholarship fund to benefit Dalhousie students?
That’s what Sir Graham Day’s friends did, getting together and chipping in to create the endowment. The first Sir Graham Day Scholarships in Business will be awarded to undergraduate and graduate students in the Faculty of Management this fall.
“God bless them all,” said Sir Graham, on the phone from his home in Hantsport, N.S., who also contributed to the fund. He spoke to a crowd in the Rowe Building Tuesday evening at the invitation of the Faculty of Management.
The scholarship fund was instigated by John Bragg, president of Oxford Frozen Foods and chairman of EastLink Cable Systems and Bragg Communications Inc. The Nova Scotia businessman is a big supporter of universities in the Atlantic region.
“When Graham came back to Nova Scotia from England, he was very helpful to family businesses by serving on boards and giving advice,” explains Mr. Bragg, who was awarded an honorary degree from Dalhousie in 2008. “So I thought this was something we could do for him.”
Creating scholarship endowments is something Mr. Bragg has done before; one for law students in remembrance of the late Halifax lawyer J. William Mingo and one for medical students in the name of Dr. John Hamm, former Nova Scotia Premier.
“So the donors raised the money and we left it to Graham to decide how the money would be used,” says Mr. Bragg.
For his part, Sir Graham says the scholarship in his name was a clever way to deflect attention away from Mr. Bragg’s own generous philanthropy. “Let’s just say I was a useful vehicle for him to achieve the results he wanted,” he says with a wry laugh. “I’ve observed over the years that he’s incredibly persuasive and difficult to say ‘no’ to.”
A Dal law grad (1956), former professor in the School of Business Administration and Dalhousie chancellor from 1994 to 2001, Sir Graham decided he’d like the scholarships to support students in the Commerce, Management and Corporate Residency MBA programs by subsidizing their work experience placements required by their programs. In particular, the scholarships will go to students doing course work or related work terms in the areas of family business, transportation or business-government relations.
A great believer in the value of hard work, Sir Graham is interested in supporting students who work while they’re in university. Growing up in Halifax’s north end, he attended university on his own dollar and tenacity, working nights and weekends selling shoes at Simpson’s. He recalls catching the number-five trolley from Dal to the west-end department store.
“I think it’s healthy to work. I think it matures individuals and helps them to figure out what they want to do when they graduate,” he says. “When you’re on your knees fitting shoes, you get an interesting view of the world.”
This article is part of the Dalhousie Difference series, introducing and showcasing some of the 50 innovative projects in development. The first story, "The Dalhousie Difference," explored what the power of philanthropy means to a university like Dalhousie. "Imagining where they can be" unveilled the new TD Black Student Opportunity Grants.