A unique accolade helps individuals strike an equilibrium between academia athletics and local community involvement

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If there is one thing Simon and Barbara Smith are strongly aware of, it’s the power of stability - in one's daily life and in our aspirations.

The couple is ex- uni gymnasts who have made a significant gift to build an award to help Western college students find a fine-tuned balance between the challenging goals in their everyday life.

The Athletic Honour will sustain two 2 thousand dollars once-a-year awards for a female and male undergraduate college student. Recipients must be a valuable part of a Mustangs Varsity team but must also be involved in their community.

"My partner and I have always thought that the mix of schoolwork and sports - and a little bit of volunteerism - genuinely makes for a far better, well-rounded grad and an individual who is very likely going to be more fortunate when they dive into their profession," says Mr. Simon Smith, a former Imperial Oil manager. "This is because of the balance and the self-control needed, as well as several of the techniques they discover in college and as an integral part of physical activities. It’s a tremendously useful idea."

The prize is named in remembrance of Barbara’s mother, June Paterson, who passionately persuaded her children and grandchildren to go after further education, while not having graduated uni herself. She was heavily involved in her local community of Ont., as a volunteer for Meals on Wheels and the Cancer Society, and believed in the power of evening out extra-curricular pursuits, such as charitable work and physical activities, with schooling.

June was married to Western graduate, G.G. (Gord) Paterson, BA’33, one excellent athlete and member of the Sarnia Imperials American football crew during the 30s.

Mrs. and Mr. Smith believe this grant will ease some of the winners’ budgetary trouble to ensure that they are more capable of juggle schoolwork, sports and volunteering without having to force a part-time job into the combo.

As reported by Thérèse Quigley, exec of Western’s Sports and Relaxation Services, contributor support for Athletic Financial Awards plays a vital function in giving kids the opportunity to carry on with high quality in both competitive sports and academics.

The University has been continuously recognized as one of the best colleges in Canada in terms of the quantity of scholar-athletes achieving Educational All-Canadian standing. For two sequential years, Western student-athletes have received 1 of 8 Governor Generals Honours for education and competitive sports achievement.

The initial recipients of the Phylis June Paterson Athletic Award will be publicised during the 2015/2016 academic year and it is the couple's wish that the award will go to university students who, like Mrs. Paterson, thought of other people before themselves and who have the capacity to make a constructive impact on the world.

The rewards are the newest in an extensive line of non-profit donations for the uni which have included:

$25,000 being given in support of the Alice Munro Chair in Creativity to the heads of the Arts & Humanities Students’ Council in the first quarter of 2014;

A pledge of 1.525 m dollars by Stephen Dattels to back the degree in mining law and finance and the Stephen Dattels Chair in Company Economic Regulation.

In addition, the contribution of James Douglas Hole, who has bestowed $250,000 to support undergrad awards for engineering pupils at The Uni to acquire more learning encounters in Canada and round the planet.