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Making one of Michener’s oldest student bursaries more accessible to students

There’s a moment from her father’s funeral that Muriel Andreae will never forget. Among the people coming to say goodbye to Dr. Fred Heagy was the switchboard operator at the hospital where he had worked. Fifty five years earlier, Dr. Heagy had taken the time to visit her in the hospital when she was unwell. Now, she was returning the favour.

For those who knew Dr. Heagy, this would not come as a surprise. An accomplished Nuclear Medicine physician and researcher, he cared deeply for everyone around him. “Dad always said that every person was an important person,” says Muriel.

On November 6th, Michener celebrated the Student Awards Ceremony, an annual event to recognize students’ achievements through scholarships and bursaries. The Dr. Fred Heagy Bursary was started in 1997 in memory of Dr. Heagy, and recognizes Michener Nuclear Medicine students who have maintained a high academic average.

But over the past year, Michener’s Registrar Cathy Carson noticed that there were very few applicants for the bursary, leaving considerable funds available: “I realized that we could encourage more applicants by making the criteria more relatable for students, while honouring the original intent of the bursary.”

These changes now award $1,500 to a third-year Nuclear Medicine student and $1,000 to a second-year Nuclear Medicine student who have both strong academic accomplishments and a financial need – something that was important to Dr. Heagy and his family.

“Dad would be proud,” Muriel says. “He knew you can’t focus on your studies when you’re distracted by financial stress. He would have wanted to help these students.”

Dr. Heagy not only played a key role in the growth of Nuclear Medicine in Canada in the 1950s, he also helped develop the first curriculum for Nuclear Medicine at Michener, which was then called the Toronto Institute of Medical Technology.

With the new changes to the criteria, the Dr. Fred Heagy Bursary is more aligned than ever before with Michener’s values of encouraging student success and transformative change in health care.

“It’s about recognizing excellence while supporting students who are accomplishing great things,” Cathy says. “That’s an important part of what we’re doing.”

To learn more about ways to support Michener students through awards and donations, visit michener.ca/alumni/donate.

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