Legacy Gift Benefits the Success of Rural Students

James R. Conway and James Beaton

When high school student James Beaton received the James R. Conway Endowment Scholarship, he realized doors were open to a first-class university education at UBC’s Okanagan campus, opportunities that might never have existed without James R. Conway’s generous gift.

When Beaton started number crunching the costs of living and tuition for university, he realized that his journey towards a bachelor of arts in international relations would be difficult. Beaton, who comes from the small town of Coaldale in southern Alberta, felt the pressure of moving to an urban area and the pressure of paying for his education.

“It was a daunting task and, at times,” says Beaton “I felt that I just wasn’t supposed to go to university- the costs and the risks were so high! But receiving the James R. Conway Endowment Scholarship encouraged me to push the boundaries that I had always imagined were there.”

The James R. Conway Endowment Scholarship was established from Conway’s estate to assist students from small BC and Alberta communities. Conway understood the financial difficulties of students moving from rural areas to attend university in an urban area. He also understood the importance of allowing a first-year student the financial freedom to pursue academic goals. When Conway passed in 2007, his legacy began to impact students in need.

“This scholarship gave me significant reassurance that I was not completely without a means of attaining my dream,” says Beaton. Thanks to Conway’s support, Beaton is achieving his academic goals and one day hopes to pursue a law degree and a career with the United Nations in international law. “Choosing to pursue a job in this area will allow me to add my voice to those already calling out for justice.”

Conway’s gift allowed Beaton to spend his first year focusing on his studies and adjusting to living away from his family- all without having to juggle a job. “This gift greatly eased my transition from high school to university and from living with my family to independence. I was able to spend my first year…establishing myself on my campus, solidifying my objectives and realizing my passions.”

Without financial stress, Beaton made the Dean’s List in his first year and won the Deputy Vice Chancellor Scholarship which is assisting him financially in his second year. As a new UBC Residence Advisor, Beaton is helping other new students find confidence and their place on campus.

James R. Conway began a legacy for students at UBC’s Okanagan campus and his bequest lives on in the successes of James Beaton as he focuses on contributing his UBC degree to the global community. “James R. Conway’s gift allowed me to embark on my academic career at a top university…his honourable legacy now includes a little piece of mine.”

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