A legacy for science students

By Jeff Green | March 27, 2015

Although he never met Dr. Hugh Anderson, second-year science student Brandon Eastman says he is grateful for the legacy the late professor emeritus has left at Memorial.

The first cohort of recipients of Dr. Hugh Anderson’s scholarships in chemistry include, from left (front row): Christopher Cooze; Cayla Pinheiro; Amy Barrett; and Olivia Griffiths. From left (back row): Dr. Peter Pickup, head, Department of Chemistry; Blake Power; Garrett McDougall; Jason Sylvester; Brandon Eastman; and Melanie Snow.Mr. Eastman is one of 13 recipients of a new endowed scholarship for chemistry students set up in Dr. Anderson’s name. Each student received $1,000. The awards are the latest in a string of scholarships made possible by a bequest Dr. Anderson left to Memorial totalling more than $1 million.

“I had no idea I would receive it,” said Mr. Eastman, a native of Corner Brook. “I was very pleased. This scholarship helps a lot because I don’t come from a wealthy family. I think these scholarships are a testament to Dr. Anderson’s commitment to chemistry.” 

Fostering student success
A long-time professor and former department head, Dr. Anderson passed away in 2012 at the age of 86 after a life dedicated to teaching.

Many members of the university community still fondly remember the quiet, unassuming man, who strongly believed in the power of education. Scholarships in chemistry and physics have been established because of his gift. Alumnus Dr. Darryl Fry, who is also an honorary degree recipient from Memorial and a former student of Dr. Anderson, has also established a chemistry scholarship in his honour. 

“Dr. Anderson had a formative influence on teaching and research, particularly in the teaching of organic chemistry and the development of graduate studies,” said Dr. Peter Pickup, head, Department of Chemistry.

“All of these scholarships provide students with recognition of their success and it will enhance their university experience. Chemistry is a very challenging subject that requires many hours of laboratory work to become proficient. The financial support provided by these scholarships will help students balance their workload.”

First came to Memorial in the 1950s
Born in Winnipeg, Man., on March 17, 1926, Dr. Anderson was educated at the University of Manitoba, Northwestern University in Illinois and overseas at Oxford. He joined the chemistry department in September 1953 and stayed for 38 years. After his retirement in 1991, he remained active at Memorial and continued to support students.

Second-year chemistry student Jason Sylvester, who was born in Australia and now lives in Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s, and another of the cohort of Dr. Anderson's scholarship recipients, says he was thrilled to be honoured for excelling academically. 

“Sure, the money is great,” he said. “But for me, it’s more the accolade of seeing all my hard work paid off.” 

'Very generous man,' says lifelong friend
Helen Whiteway, a 102-year-old Memorial alumna, holds a photo of her and Dr. Hugh Anderson taken in St. John’s. The two were close personal friends. Dr. Anderson would have been proud of that sentiment and to see this year’s students honoured with their awards, says his close friend Helen Whiteway, a 102-year-old Memorial alumna. 

She says Memorial was extremely important to Dr. Anderson and that his favourite place was in the classroom. 

“When he came here, he didn’t want to be anywhere else,” she said with a wide smile during a recent interview at her home in St. John’s.

“Teaching was at the heart of what he did. He was offered jobs elsewhere in Canada and the United States but he loved Memorial and he loved Newfoundland. He once said to me ‘I am lucky. Here I am getting paid for what I love to do and living where I want to be!’”

Mrs. Whiteway and her late husband, Evan, spent much of their leisure time with Dr. Anderson, including weekly lunch dates at the former Battery Hotel in St. John’s.

“He was a very generous man,” she noted. “He often gave anonymously to a lot of things near and dear to his heart. I think he would be delighted to see students benefit from his gifts – but he never sought praise.”



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