On Tuesday, December 7, Cape Breton University (CBU) and the Community United for Black Education (CUBE) held a celebration event on the CBU campus to highlight the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two and to announce the establishment of scholarships for students of African Nova Scotian descent.
Nearly one year ago, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the primary goal of facilitating collaboration between CBU and CUBE on mutually beneficial projects that will see more students of African descent, specifically African Nova Scotian descent, study and work at CBU. As well, the MOU is set to broaden the knowledge of African Nova Scotian activities at CBU and in the broader community. COVID-19 prevented the groups from celebrating the partnership any sooner.
“This is a monumental MOU signing between two groups. To bring representatives from both groups together with students, government officials, and members of the community to mark this agreement is an exciting day in our Institution’s history,” says David C. Dingwall, President & Vice-Chancellor of Cape Breton University. “We are also so grateful to be able to offer financial support to African students because of the generosity of the Jeannine Deveau Achievement Fund. To honour Ms. Wanda Robson in this way is an exceptional tribute.”
The Community United for Black Education was established in 1992 with the mandate of creating partnerships, advocating for program development and identifying gaps within the community to enhance opportunities for students, parents and community members of African Nova Scotian descent.
“The signing of this MOU with CBU is a reflection of the work our committee has been doing and is one more step in advancing our mandate of building successful educational partnerships,” says Noreen Mackinnon, CUBE Committee Member. “Not only is this afternoon’s celebration a way to recognize the importance of this MOU, but we are also celebrating the culture and people from the African Nova Scotian community with this event.”
During the celebration, it was announced that a $500,000 gift from the Jeannine Deveau Achevment Fund will establish a scholarship to support African Nova Scotian students with funding each year, and help address educational gaps faced by youth throughout the province.
“I am thrilled to announce, on behalf of the Jeannine Deveau Achievement Fund, the establishment of the Wanda Robson Scholarships for African Nova Scotia Students here at Cape Breton University,” says Bill Gunn, Representative of the Jeannine Deveau Achievement Fund. “It was important to Ms. Deveau to name this scholarship after Wanda Robson as she understood the importance of post-secondary education and returned to gain her degree at the age of 76. Her hard work and dedication to education and social justice is something that African Nova Scotian students can look to for inspiration and motivation in their journeys.”
Additionally, Mr. Gunn commented to attendees, “I would emphasize as well that we are encouraging CBU to seek contributions from other donors to this scholarship. We will be thrilled to match them dollar for dollar, at least up to an additional $500,000.”
To support the Wanda Robson Scholarships, you can visit CBU.ca/Give.
During the event, CBU student and Wanda Robson Scholarship Recipient, Olivia Karigey spoke to attendees saying, “I would like to thank Ms. Jeannine Deveau for her generosity and for creating this scholarship at CBU,” says Olivia Karigey, CBU Bachelor of Arts student from North Sydney. “It is an honour to be acknowledged for my hard work. This scholarship will allow me to focus on my studies even further.”
Members of the Nova Scotia Provincial Government and the office of African Nova Scotia Affairs commented;
“Cape Breton University continues to be a leader in finding ways to support and empower African Nova Scotian communities.” Honourable Pat Dunn, Minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs.
“Collaboration with the Community United for Black Education will draw more people of African descent to the university and deepen understanding of African Nova Scotian history and culture which can be embedded into the university’s academics. This is key to transforming society.” Dwayne Provo, Associate Deputy Minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs.