Legendary generosity

Athletics scholarships create leaders on and off the court

By Matt Rea - 12 May 2020

It takes André Kelly a minute to calculate how he’d balance his day if he didn't have a scholarship. The six-foot-two Golden Bears guard has team workouts before dawn, classes until mid-afternoon, a few hours of basketball practice in the early evening and extra shots right after. He regularly eats on the go, does homework in the schedule gaps and, when the day is finally over, he gets a bit of sleep before starting again in the morning. If life were any busier, his brief evening downtime would be the first to go, he says. Then he’d have to choose between studying and sleeping. 

But Kelly doesn’t have to choose, thanks to Hank. Hank Tatarchuk, ’68 BPE, is a regular at Bears home games. He sits in the same seat every time — top row, right in the middle of the court, beside the Bears logo — and watches the game unfold with the quiet intensity of someone who has coached and played in countless basketball games in hundreds of cities around the world. He is an 89-year-old basketball legend whose 33 consecutive years (and counting) of generosity ensure that the players who hold his scholarship can excel in school as well as sports.


Thanks to a donor-funded scholarship, André Kelly can focus on excelling as a student and an athlete. Kelly and his Golden Bears teammates were photographed during playoffs in February 2020.


Tatarchuk has lived and breathed basketball ever since picking it up as a student playing intramurals at UAlberta in the 1940s. He was playing, coaching, officiating and administering basketball at universities and even the Olympics before the sport had a three-point line. He was inducted into the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003 for his work building the game in Canada. 

Tatarchuk helps athletes because athletics helped him. He knows from experience that playing varsity sports offers a valuable education of its own. Students who receive his scholarship graduate with lessons from the court and the classroom — which is precisely the impact he is hoping for. “Sport makes the student a better person,” Tatarchuk says, noting that competition and teamwork learned through sport pay dividends in life after university. “I’m just so pleased that these students have been able to use the scholarship to find their place in society.”

“Sport makes the student a better person,” Tatarchuk says. “I’m just so pleased that these students have been able to use the scholarship to find their place in society.”

Kelly agrees. A political science major who aspires to work in government, he easily rattles off skills he can take from the basketball court to the political arena: work ethic, time management, communication, reading body language. 

But having Tatarchuk as part of the Golden Bears family — the “sixth man” on the court, as he’s known — has had the greatest impact.

“Hank sets an example,” Kelly says. “It means a lot to have a guy who’s done all he’s done ask you how things are in your life beyond just basketball. He makes you feel like you’re part of a family and that, when you’re an alumnus, you’re still a Bear for life. I just want him to know that what he does definitely makes a difference.”

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