Donors make a Difference

Darwin and Betty Park believe in helping students acquire an educationDarwin and Betty Park give back by supporting students: a note from Darwin Park

Betty and I have a fundamental belief that education is a key building block in successful citizenship.  We acknowledge the positive influence and life benefits we have received through public education.  We are keen to do our small part in giving back to others.

We have established and contributed to a number of education endowments that support student awards in perpetuity.  We believe this is the best way to help struggling students who are trying to make ends meet while going to university.

We also believe Physical Education and Recreation students from the University of Alberta with their achievements in academics, athletics and recreation, along with volunteer involvement in campus life, have the potential to be the cornerstones of community leadership and service in the future.

Betty and I gain real satisfaction from staying connected, financially supporting, and meeting positive, energetic, and enthusiastic young people…it even helps us stay young and energized!  As we age, we think ‘doing nothing’ isn’t a positive or satisfying alternative.

Darwin Park, Class of ’67 Physical Education

Student Recipient Testimonial: Baljot Chahal

Darwin Park congratulates Baljot Chahal at the 2010 scholarship celebrationI am the grateful recipient of two scholarships for the 2010-2011 academic year.  I have been fortunate to receive numerous academic and leadership scholarships and awards over the course of the last two years.  All of these awards matter – no matter the financial contribution – make a difference in furthering my education.

At first, I thought scholarships were simply a way to pay for my education – tuition, books, and other miscellaneous expenses. Since I have enrolled in university however, I have realized their meaning and importance to my development is radically different. The scholarships I have won have not only subsidized my education, they have provided me the financial flexibility to seek out opportunities that I most likely would not have been able to afford otherwise. 

Undergraduate students are often caught in the unfortunate position of weighing the costs and benefits of unpaid volunteer work or low wage jobs against other, more financially beneficial extracurricular activities. I choose to participate in activities not because they are high paying, or offer extravagant incentives, but rather because I believe in their underlying values. I believe that volunteerism - and even paid work - without a final goal is fallible. Many on campus devote their time to activities they lack passion and vigor for because it will “help them on their scholarship applications,” or “look good on a resume.” Scholarships continue to allow me to devote my time to causes that I am committed to including environmentalism, teen mentorships, high performance sport, and physical activity for the community at large.

My career goals include becoming a physician, graduating from the University of Alberta. Of particular interest to me when I can achieve this goal is placing special emphasis on the benefits that physical activity can have on both physical wellbeing and environmental conservation. I am also interested in continuing in research.

The awards I have received have truly changed my life.  For that reason, it is my intention to give back to the faculty and its students when I have graduated and am in a financial position to do so. Thank you to our donors: you do make a difference.