Why I give: Shirley King

- June 25, 2024

Shirley King. (Supplied photo)
Shirley King. (Supplied photo)

When Shirley King thinks of her parents, she recalls how profoundly they were shaped by their early life experiences in Truro, N.S.

Their families had generational ties to settlers from Scotland and New England and pursued traditional livelihoods in farming, small business, and the rail services in Colchester County,” King says. “It was the norm for everyone to invest in their community through loyal social connections and commitments to the welfare of each other.”

Although King’s parents relocated to the Toronto area after World War II in pursuit of a better life, their connection to Truro remained strong. She remembers summer vacations at the family’s cottage on the nearby Brule Shore serving as consolation for their longing to return to the place they knew as home. Those memories, and that passion, inspired King to think about ways to celebrate her parents’ abiding ties to the community.

“I wanted to honour them in a manner that reflects the strong influence of their Nova Scotia heritage and the powerful benefits of community life and friendships in Truro,” says King. “The town gave them a lifelong sense of place.”

King found a way through Dalhousie’s Truro Start Program. It offers rural students an opportunity to complete the first year of their chosen degree at Dal’s Truro campus, where they can take advantage of smaller class sizes before transitioning into their subsequent years in Halifax.

Realizing she could help rural students succeed in achieving their academic dreams, King created the George and Ethel King Entrance Scholarship. It provides support to Nova Scotia students entering Truro Start, with preference given to Indigenous students.

“I was overwhelmingly heartened to learn about the program and to have the opportunity to endow a scholarship,” King says.

“I was overwhelmingly heartened to learn about the program and to have the opportunity to endow a scholarship,” King says.

The appeal of a program like Truro Start for King is not just that it helps put rural students on a path to success. It also allows them to stay close to home. “That seems like an ideal trajectory for building a vibrant community in Truro,” she adds.

King has subsequently made an estate gift to the Truro Start program. She wants to ensure students continue to have the opportunity to develop academic confidence and a sense of place in a university setting that they will carry forward through graduation. More importantly, she hopes that, through the program, they will retain that same sense of belonging to the community that her parents felt all their lives.

“My parents would have been very gratified to know that the community of Truro plays host to this promising generation,” King says.

Further reading: Dal's Truro Start program expands small‑school option to more students

This story appeared in the DAL Magazine Spring/Summer 2024 issue. Flip through the rest of the issue using the links below.


All comments require a name and email address. You may also choose to log-in using your preferred social network or register with Disqus, the software we use for our commenting system. Join the conversation, but keep it clean, stay on the topic and be brief. Read comments policy.

comments powered by Disqus