Robert “Bob” Morris established the “Morris Bursary Fund for Excellence in Mathematics” with the Shuswap Community Foundation in 2008. The income from that fund will provide a bursary to a female student graduating from Salmon Arm Senior Secondary School who has demonstrated excellence in mathematics and who intends to pursue post-secondary studies in mathematics or a related field.
Bob moved to Salmon Arm after retiring from the Canadian Navy. An avid reader, he recalled studying a poll conducted in the United States where, of some 1,100 students, only 11 planned to take further studies in the field of mathematics. He noted some of the best jobs in North America require mathematics yet only 11 of 1,100 took math.
He noted that there is often an emphasis on sports, an abundance of good coaches and opportunities for male students to obtain scholarships. He feelt there is not the same advantage for young women to obtain scholarships and added that there are careers, that require foundations in math, for women in: physics, computer science, and nursing to name a few.
Even though he didn’t have children, he had an interest in the next generation and wanted to leave a legacy. He wanted to contribute to the community and help level the playing field.
As a person who knows and acknowledges the value and power of education, Robert Morris decided that a bursary would be the best way he could make a difference in his community. He is a deep thinker and an avid reader who says his library card is his most valued possession.
In trying to decide what type of bursary to create Robert researched the challenges faced by modern post secondary students. Through research Robert found that society had often directed girls into particular roles, thereby limiting what they might consider for careers. Knowing that the skills and abilities that a person develops are not limited by their sex but are often a combination of natural abilities, environment, and opportunity, he decided to create a bursary specifically for girls in high school. Girls are uniquely challenged in their career choices; it was not yet common place for girls to aspire to be engineers and be in male dominated classes. Robert wanted his bursary to have an added advantage in smashing the glass ceiling, and what better place to start but in high school? So the “Morris Bursary Fund for Excellence in Mathematics” was born in 2008.
You may ask why Mathematics? Well, as a subject that opens the doors to careers in highly technological fields, excelling in Mathematics affords students the advantage of pursuing studies that are on the cutting edge of human advancement. Critical thinking, problem solving, analytical thinking, the ability to manipulate precise and intricate ideas, and quantitative reasoning are just a few of the many career-advancing skills that are developed through the study of Mathematics. They are precisely the skills increasingly required for the modern employee.
Shuswap Community Foundation was entrusted to create and manage the “Morris Bursary Fund for Excellence in Mathematics” because of its deep roots in the Shuswap and its commitment to connecting people who care with causes that matter.
The fund will provide a bursary annually to a female student graduating from Salmon Arm Secondary School who has demonstrated excellence in mathematics and who intends to pursue post secondary studies in mathematics or a related field. The recipient shall demonstrate a need for financial assistance for post secondary education.
2023 Award – two scholarships for $4,000 each