By Earl Zukerman
Basketball players Mariam Sylla and Francois Bourque combined to received four of 17 bursaries awarded to McGill student-athletes, Wednesday, at the 30th annual Fondation de l’athlète d’excellence du Québec awards gala.
A total 100 athletic scholarships – valued at a combined $277,500 – were issued at the event, held before 850 guests at the Sheraton Laval Hotel. Among the dozens of former McGill bursary recipients in attendance were McGill Sports Hall of Fame inductees Mathieu Darche and Pierre Gendron (both hockey players) and Tina Fasone (basketball). Over the three decades since the program was initiated, McGill has received 324 awards totalling $639,250.
Sylla, a pharmacology senior with a 3.73 grade-point average last year, collected bursaries in both the athletic and academic categories. The 6-foot-1 forward from Conakry, Guinea, was named as the top recipient in the athletic excellence category for a team sport. Named player of the year in the RSEQ league last season she averaged a “double-double”, with 12.4 points and 10.9 rebounds per game en route to earning CIS All-Canadian first-team honours.
Bourque, a third-year accounting major from Terrebonne, Que., also collected bursaries in both athletic and academic categories but was named as the most outstanding in the academic excellence category. Honoured as a CIS Top 8 Academic All-Canadian last week by Governor-General David Johnston, Bourque completed eight courses (24 credits) with a 3.88 grade-point average out of 4.0 in the Desautels faculty of management. On the court, the 6-foot-6, 197-pound forward was voted player of the year in the RSEQ basketball conference and merited All-Canadian second-team status.
McGill’s third recipient of an academic excellence bursary went to hockey goaltender Jacob Gervais-Chouinard, an economics junior from Sherbrooke, Que. Additional athletic excellence awards went to McGill football linebacker Karl Forgues of Repentigny, Que., and rower Lucas de Gelder of Vancouver, B.C., while a bursary for perseverance was presented to basketball point-guard Dianna Ros, a native Montrealer.
Among the recruitment bursaries awarded to McGill, four went to basketball rookies, namely Gladys Hakizimana of Montreal, Fredericke Laflamme of Trois-Rivieres, Que., Michael Richard from Boisbriand, Que., and Parker Joyce of Stouffville, Ont. Rounding out the freshmen group was cross-country runner Jeremy Briand of Ste. Julie, Que., soccer forward Tia Lore of Richmond, B.C., and swimmer Kade Wist, a 17-year-old from Calgary. Two other recruitment bursaries were second and third installments, respectively, initiated in previous years to basketball players Jennifer Silver of Montreal and Marika Guerin of Sorel, Que.
Some 55 recruitment bursaries totalling $189,750 were awarded to the top athletes from the Quebec CEGEP system who opted to compete at a Quebec university. The Montreal Carabins led all Quebec institutions in this category with 16 bursaries, followed by Laval (14), McGill (9), Concordia (7), Sherbrooke (5), UQTR (2), Bishop’s (1) and UQAM (1).
Of the 45 awards presented to returning student-athletes in the merit categories of academic and athletic excellence, as well as leadership, McGill again ranked third among all Quebec universities with eight recipients. Laval led all schools with 13, followed by the Montreal Carabins (10), McGill (8), Sherbrooke (6), Concordia (5), Bishop’s (1), UQAM (1) and UQAC (1).