Beloved by students and alumni alike, Anne Urbancic is the first Mary Rowell Jackman Professor of Humanities in Vic One’s Northrop Frye Stream and donor of this award. To know her is to recognize her dedication to students, and her strong belief in education. Her own parents’ schooling was “interrupted by the vicissitudes of the two World Wars and the confusion afterwards that propelled them to Canada.” While Urbancic was the first in her family to attend university, she was strongly encouraged to do so by her parents who had instilled in her a love of reading and of learning. “My parents lives in Canada were not easy but all five of their children went on to excellent and fulfilling careers,” she says. As she continued into graduate studies, she was grateful for the scholarships she received. As she watched her daughters continue their studies and graduate from university, she looked for a way to “honour their achievements and to help future students who require financial aid and encouragement for all their efforts in coming to post-secondary studies.”
One such student who has benefitted from the generosity of the Urbanic O’Handley family is Hana Sharifi, a third-year student pursuing a double major in physiology, and ecology & evolutionary biology with a view to applying to medical school. In addition to her studies, she plays an active role in Women in Science and Engineering (WISE U OF T), where she helps to promote women and minoritized students in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). At Vic she has served as a student mentor, helping first-year students adjust to the pressures and complexities of student life. Sharifi received the award owing to her academic excellence in the course of her studies.
Urbanic is impressed with Sharifi’s commitment to both scholarship and equity at the College. “I can honestly say that I am delighted by the calibre of students, like Hana, who have received the scholarship thus far.” For her part, Sharifi is appreciative of the scholarship as it will help her to “continue pursuing my academics and reach my full potential as a student; I am extremely grateful,” she says. “Receiving this award has solidified my desire to work my hardest in my studies and try to learn as much as I can during my years as a student, both academically and socially. It makes me feel very grateful and thankful for the opportunities I have had at Victoria, and makes me feel like the learning I'm doing now as a student will help me make important contributions to society in the future.”