By Laura McCaffrey
Humphrey Law (BComm/57) strongly believes in the power of education to transform lives and make positive progress in society.
That’s why in 2020, Mr. Law established his third bursary at Carleton University: the Humphrey Law Bursary for Indigenous Students in Business. This $500,000 endowed bursary, which is now accepting applications, will be awarded annually to an Indigenous student in financial need and will cover full tuition and fees for the student’s first year of study.
“I have a great respect for the struggles and increased barriers that Indigenous students face in pursuing education,” shares Law. “I wanted to ensure that what I put in place would be significant to these students, allowing them to experience the value of a Carleton education like I received.”
The award is available to Indigenous students entering any program of study within the Sprott School of Business—a decision based on Law’s own past as a business student and the belief that innovation and entrepreneurship are key learning pillars that will empower students to make a difference in their own communities.
Although much has changed at Carleton since Mr. Law’s days—he carried out his studies at Carleton’s original campus location on First Avenue and has never set foot on the current campus—he recalls his time fondly. In particular, the friendships and support networks he cultivated remain near to his heart and have sustained his feelings of connection to Carleton throughout the years. “My friends’ families took care of me and welcomed me into their homes,” he explains. “I remember being invited to Sunday dinners and holiday celebrations. Being so far from home and from my own family, that meant the world to me.”
As Mr. Law needed to work to help pay for his degree, he also remembers with gratitude the two part-time jobs that he held—both of which offered flexible hours that allowed him to successfully juggle his work and his studies. “I know that I was fortunate to have flexibility in my jobs. Trying to balance time-consuming work and school schedules can make it extremely challenging for students to excel in their programs of study.”
It was this understanding of the impact of financial constraints on students that led Mr. Law to get involved with Carleton as a donor. In 2013, he established his first bursary: the Y.P. Law (Law Yan Pak) Memorial Bursary. This endowed award was created to honour his father’s commitment to education and his leadership in the education system in Hong Kong.
“My father believed deeply in the value of education and, in 1951, received an Order of the British Empire in recognition of his extraordinary contributions,” Mr. Law recalls. Without knowing a word of English, Mr. Law’s father moved to England to study at the age of 17. Seven years later, he graduated from Queens’ College, University of Cambridge with degrees in Mathematics and English Literature.
Upon retirement as a Senior Inspector of Hong Kong’s Department of Education, Mr. Law’s father went on to establish the Yan Pak English School, a highly regarded school in Hong Kong. “My family’s hope was that the school, which was named after my father, would serve as his legacy—an ongoing symbol of his belief that education was a force to do good in the world. The school’s name was later changed, however, so I established the Y.P. Law Memorial Bursary to create a new lasting legacy for my father in Canada,” Law says.
He also created the Thomas Jeyes Memorial Bursary in 2018, in loving memory of his lifelong partner, Tom, who also greatly valued education.
Both bursaries are awarded annually to students in any program of study at Carleton, based on need. “For me, it’s not just about academics; it’s about giving an opportunity to a student who wouldn’t normally have been given a chance to reach their potential and goals. I also want to let future students know that there are people who care about them,” explains Law.
At the Hub for Good, read more partnership stories, explore opportunities to get involved and learn how Carleton University makes an impact around the world.
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