Dr. Gary McPherson Leadership Scholarship

Dr. Gary McPherson was a renowned advocate for people with disabilities. He devoted himself to inspiring leadership and bringing out the best in everyone. He was a member of the Order of Canada, the Alberta Order of Excellence and both the Edmonton and Alberta Sports Halls of Fame.

Funded by the Alberta Government, the Dr. Gary McPherson Leadership Scholarship recognizes students who have demonstrated outstanding leadership especially in the area of disability, and/or initiative to improve conditions and lives of others.

Scholarships are valued at $2,000 each. A total of 6 graduate scholarships will be awarded.

An applicant must:

  • Have shown outstanding leadership, especially in the area of disability, and/or initiative to improve the lives of other people while attending a school in Alberta. Students are to demonstrate their role and contributions made to their school.
  • Have a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA) or greater on the current graduate program graded course work at the University of Alberta. For newly admitted graduate students or current graduate students who have no graded course work to date, the Admission GPA (AGPA) will be used.
  • Be a Canadian citizen, Permanent Resident, or Protected Person (students with a study permit (student visa) are not eligible);
  • Be an Alberta resident, and to be considered an Alberta resident one of the following conditions must apply:
    • one parent or legal guardian has maintained permanent residence in Canada for at least twelve (12) consecutive months immediately prior to commencing post-secondary studies and be residing in Alberta, or
    • Alberta is the last place the student has lived for twelve (12) consecutive months immediately prior to commencing post-secondary studies, or
    • the student's spouse/partner has maintained permanent residence in Alberta for 12 consecutive months prior to the person attending post-secondary studies.
  • Be enrolled full-time in a graduate degree program at the University of Alberta in the current academic year. Students must be registered full-time in Fall 2021 and Winter 2022 terms. Students admitted to January 2022 must be registered full-time in Winter 2022 term. Students in an undergraduate, apprenticeship, diploma, and certificate program are to contact Student Financial Support, Office of the Registrar for application details.
  • Must be registered in years 1-4 of the master's program or registered in years 1-6 of the doctoral program during the tenure of the scholarship. If students transferred from a Master’s program to a Doctoral program, the number of months completed during the Master’s program will count towards the Doctoral Program.
Application Procedures

Students must apply directly to FGSR by completing the online application in the GSMS Awards Portal; nomination by their home department is not required.

Graduate students must apply through FGSR, not Student Financial Support, Office of the Registrar, in order to be considered for this scholarship. Applications incorrectly submitted to the Office of the Registrar will not be accepted after FGSR’s deadline.

Selection will be made on the basis of the role and contribution each student has made to their school as well as the documentation provided in the application.

1) Search for "Dr. Gary McPherson Leadership Scholarship" in GSMS to access the online application and for detailed instructions. Follow the GSMS Awards Student Training Document\Apply for Awards to submit your application (available in GSMS or on FGSR's website under Award Resources).

2) The following documents must be uploaded in GSMS by December 15, 2021, 11:59 pm (MST); applications will not be accepted after the Portal closes:

  • Alberta Student Aid Application Form. Application fields must be completed in their entirety; missing information will result in the application being deemed incomplete and such will be rejected. 
    • The Alberta Residency declaration field section MUST be completed to determine students’ residency status.
  • A resume highlighting your leadership involvement and extra-curricular activities related to improving the lives of other people.
  • A maximum of one related letter of reference.
    • This letter does not have to come from the department; it can be submitted by any individual who is best able to provide an assessment of the student.
    • The letter must be signed and on company/institutional letterhead. 
    • The reference letter must be uploaded to GSMS; submission of reference letters via email or mail directly to FGSR will not be accepted. Confidential submission is not required for this competition.
    • Letters exceeding the maximum allowed will deem the application as rejected.
  • An essay up to a maximum of 1,000 words (approximately 2 ½ pages)
    • After reading the biography of Dr. Gary McPherson, use examples of how leadership has been shown, especially in the area of disability, and/or initiative to improve the lives of others. Refer to page 2 of the Alberta Student Aid Application Form for the biography and essay format.
    • Essays with pages exceeding the maximum will be rejected.
  • An up to date unofficial UofA transcript printed from BearTracks; must show current Fall 2021 full time registration (courses/thesis in progress).
3) Applicants must press the SUBMIT button under the Application Checklist portion of the application by the deadline. Successfully submitted applications will indicate the status of FGSR REVIEW. 
Adjudication Procedures
The Graduate Scholarship Committee (GSC) will select 6 graduate students to receive the scholarship. The GSC will consider the role and contribution each applicant has made at their school. The committee may also take into consideration marks, financial need, and other activities as secondary selection criteria.

Deadline for students to submit the complete application in GSMS: December 15, 2021.

The announcement of successful recipients will be made by FGSR; payment of the award will be made by Student Financial Support, Office of the Registrar.