Guyanese family establishes $5,000 scholarship to benefit UG student

The McGowan family is photographed at their 2015 family reunion in Barbados. Chair of the committee, Lourdeth Ferguson, is standing at extreme right.
McGowan family

A scholarship award totaling US$5,000, the equivalent of $1 million Guyana dollars, will be awarded annually to a meritorious student who aspires to study at the University of Guyana, compliments of the McGowan family, who is taking a huge step further in its decades-old commitment to community service.

The McGowan Scholarship — established by the Guyanese-born family living in New York — will be awarded to a full-time and matriculated student, based on verifiable financial need and involvement in community activities.

Lourdeth Ferguson, chairperson of the group, told Caribbean Life that in an effort to contribute to the development of young people in Guyana, the McGowan Scholarship was established in partnership with the University of Guyana specifically for students who intend to study at the university.

As such, only students residing in Guyana from age 17-30, and who have completed 25 hours of volunteer community service each semester for the period of the award, and not a holder or recipient of any other scholarship covering tuition and fees, qualify for the bursary.

An initial award of US$ 2,500.00/GYD$500,000.00, will be dispersed in September 2021 to the university on behalf of the selected candidate.

Along with the acceptance requirements of the university to the particular program, a cumulative GPA of 3.0 is required to be eligible for the second allotment of the scholarship in 2023.

The student must maintain good academic standing with the university and must also be involved in extracurricular activities.

Applicants are required to write a 500 word essay detailing their long-term educational goals and what unique qualities make them a candidate for this award.

They are also required to submit along with the essay a passport sized photograph (Digital), two letters of recommendation from a non-relative, and an acceptance letter to the University of Guyana.

Completed applications should be submitted in email to: [email protected] on or before, Sept. 10, 2021. Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed and a final selection made by Sept. 30, 2021.

The benevolent family committed to education, invited and graciously received contributions from relatives across the diaspora, for the first scholarship launched in June 2021, in New York.

Ferguson, an executive board officer, in the Population Fund — Reproductive Health Agency — at the United Nations, who has piloted the program with relatives since 2015, said the family committee that conceptualizes and coordinates reunions and other activities and projects, recently organized a successful “Curry Q” take-out to raise supplementary funds for the scholarship.

She shared that the McGowan family members have individually and tirelessly worked within organizations and served in both the diaspora and in Guyana.

“As persons of strong faith, we have served on church boards, PTAs and community organizations such as the Rotary Club and Jack and Jill foundation, as well as the alumni associations of Bishops’, St. Joseph’s and St Rose’s High Schools and The Caribbean American Social Workers’ Association,” she noted.

“I have also served as chair of the 50th Independence and Republic Anniversary Celebrations for Guyana among other initiatives,” said Ferguson.

“The McGowan family is in the process of obtaining 501C3 status. Once this process is complete, we will be charting new initiatives as an organization and engaging in other endeavors that align with our mission.”

The family has a rich lineage, spanning from the mid 19th century, and have remained engaged in every aspect of community development and public service in Guyana and further afield.

Ferguson lauded her family for their fields of engagement that include education, law enforcement, social work, public health nutrition, banking law, business, medicine, and nursing, noting that Basil, Hulbert and their sister, Irma McGowan, (her grandmother) served as educators.

The family’s forefathers were huge contributors to society and played a pivotal role in preparing students for life.

“We are compelled to continue their legacy,” said Ferguson, who thanked committee members, Danette McGowan, Robin July, Dianne McGowan-Brutus, Carl McGowan, Natasha Harding, Rock Harding and Monique Leo-Davidson, for their steadfast dedication.

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