McGill’s newest Loran Scholars celebrated at Thomson House event

On Feb. 20, six McGill students from the Class of 2017 were welcomed into the Loran Scholars fold.
McGill’s newest Loran Scholars, from right to left: Dawn Avery, Margaret Ovenell, Peeha Luthra, Kaitlin Wong, Blair Crawford and Janine Lock. / Photo: Marie Labrosse, Photofund

On Feb. 20, six McGill students from the Class of 2017 were welcomed into the Loran Scholars fold at an event co-hosted by the Loran Scholars Foundation, and McGill’s Scholarships and Student Aid office.

The prestigious Loran Award, valued at $100,000, includes annual stipends, tuition waivers from a partner university, mentorship and funding for summer internships.

“Bravo and welcome to the new and continuing Loran Scholars, and also to their mentors. C’est une belle fête de famille,” Principal Suzanne Fortier told the 50 or so guests at Thomson House, including McGill’s current Loran Scholars and alumni, mentors, Montreal selection committee members, faculty and staff representatives, as well as friends of the Loran Scholars Foundation. “In a fractured world in which a lot of people are finding things difficult you are the people we are counting on. Your leadership can help us achieve harmony, and I will be there to applaud you.”

Mentor Lili de Grandpré (MBA’81) and Loran Scholar Somaya Amiri reunite at the Loran Scholars event. / Photo: Marie Labrosse, Photofund

LORAN, short for Long-Range Aid to Navigation, is a system that uses three points (character, service and leadership) to determine a scholar’s course for a long journey. Since 1988, the foundation has provided more than $31.5 million in awards to over 2,600 students, including 599 past and present Loran Scholars.

“McGill is the most selected university for Loran Scholars over our 29-year history,” said Catherine Fowler, CEO of the Loran Scholars Foundation. “McGill was one of the first universities to share our founders’ vision-to create the next generation of leaders of integrity. We need to look beyond the transcript and invest in young Canadians who demonstrate character, leadership potential and a commitment to making things around them better.”

Kirk Wright, a 2014 Ralph M. Barford Loran Scholar from Winnipeg, is in his fourth year of Economics with minors in Computer Science and international Development Studies. Wright told those assembled “I have been given guidance and support by many scholars, my mentor, and countless others in the Loran community. As time goes on, I increasingly try to contribute what I can to Loran and other communities that have been important to me. As proven by the hard work of those here tonight, such communities are best preserved when we give more than we take.”

Janine Lock is a 2017 Loran Scholar, originally from a town of 25 people in the Brador Lakes district of Cape Breton. “I was absolutely stunned when I got word that I had been accepted,” said Lock. “Since I arrived to study in Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at MacDonald Campus I have had a wealth of opportunities and worked with an awesome mentor, lawyer Paul Setlakwe.”

Lili de Grandpré (MBA’81) is mentor to Loran Scholar Somaya Amiri, who is in third-year Political Science. They greeted each other with hugs at the reception. De Grandpré is former Vice Chair of the Board of Governors of McGill and former Co-Chair of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada. “Somaya came to Canada as a refugee from Afghanistan,” said de Grandpré. “Somaya is an impressive person who has a lot to give to Canada and the world. She chose to come to McGill to experience the city and the francophone culture. I am really proud of her achievements and proud to be her friend and mentor.”

Before 2007, the Loran Awards were known as Canadian Merit Scholarship Foundation National Awards. The new name is designed to emphasize the long-term impact of Loran’s work on the three pillars of character, service and leadership.

See the full list of 2017 Loran Scholars