From generosity to possibility

The Dalhousie Difference

- August 15, 2012

Scholarship recipient Ally Wilson. (Danny Abriel photo)
Scholarship recipient Ally Wilson. (Danny Abriel photo)

First Joel got one. Then Ryan got one. Then . . . silence.

“I had worked so hard to keep my grades up, I couldn’t help but be a little disappointed that I hadn’t won one of those big Murphy scholarships like my classmates,” says Ally Wilson, who—you guessed it—had won one all along. “So, when I learned after the fact that I had actually been successful, it was huge. I live with my mom and she works two jobs to support us, so it was a great moment. Everyone is so proud.”

Ms. Wilson is one of nine students enrolled in the Faculties of Health Professions, Science, Arts and Social Sciences, and Engineering who received the J & W Murphy Scholarships as renewable awards in 2011-2012. Each is valued at $10,000 per year.

An animal whisperer at heart—she loves horseback riding and sees veterinary medicine in her future—Ms. Wilson is studying sciences with a focus on marine biology and chemistry for now. And while some of her classes are much bigger than what she’s used to, she enjoys the labs that come with the courses because they’re great for that small-group interaction.

“Everyone has been so nice and welcoming,” she says. “I’m really enjoying the university experience.”

The biggest adjustment is getting used to city life. “I’ve lived in the same house in Milton for 18 years, so coming to the big city of Halifax has taken some getting used to.”

Winning the scholarship has made the difference between getting a Dal education – or not. “I’ve always wanted to go to Dalhousie because it’s such a prestigious school and has such a great research reputation,” says Ms. Wilson. “Receiving this financial support means I can get that Dal education that really opens doors.

“Without the generosity of the donor, I wouldn’t have this lifestyle or these opportunities. It means everything to me.”

This article is part of the Dalhousie Difference series, exploring what the power of philantrophy means to the university and introducing and showcasing some of the 50 innovative projects in development. Learn more at


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