Investing in the Future of Humanity

A visionary gift cultivates globally minded and ethically driven leaders through Western’s flagship Arts & Humanities program

Investing in the Future of Humanity banner

When university students pick a major, their studies often focus on narrowing and deepening their knowledge. Western’s School for Advanced Studies in the Arts & Humanities (SASAH) does just the opposite—it invites students to broaden their scope, cross-pollinate their knowledge with a range of disciplines and perspectives, and engage in community-based learning experiences.

Unique in Canada, SASAH blends arts and humanities with other disciplines like business, politics, sciences, and economics to produce graduates capable of solving global challenges by looking at issues from all angles.

A $500,000 donation from The John Dobson Foundation will enable one of Western’s signature Arts & Humanities program to grow its enrollment and strengthen its defining experiences.

“It’s exciting to see The John Dobson Foundation’s significant investment in the arts and humanities,” said Western President Alan Shepard. “We’re deeply grateful for their help in expanding and strengthening a unique interdisciplinary program focused on developing tomorrow’s leaders.”

The foundation has a demonstrated passion for entrepreneurship and leadership development, having also donated $650,000 to advance entrepreneurship programming and awards through Western’s Morrissette Institute, powered by Ivey.

“John Dobson believed in backing great people early to create positive change,” says Ian Aitken, Director of The John Dobson Foundation. “By investing in Canada’s most innovative and interdisciplinary humanities program, the foundation is building on our record of supporting Canada’s emerging leaders.”

The foundation’s gift has created the SASAH Scholarship Program for 20 students. Recipients of the scholarships receive $5,000 per year to offset tuition costs during the four years of their studies. They will receive an additional $5,000 of support as they obtain real-world experience in an internship, or to put towards educational travel opportunities.

First-year students Felix Gu, Levi Macleod, Theodora Vulpe, Myles MacPherson and Max Steinbock are the inaugural 2023 recipients of the SASAH Scholarship Program. They were selected based on their entrepreneurial endeavors and contributions in the classroom–amongst other shining qualities they bring to the Arts & Humanities program.

As a creative person, Vulpe has always excelled in programs like theatre arts, English literature, and dance. Not one to pigeonhole herself, she’s given her all in school, but it wasn’t until she took an introductory course in Ivey’s HBA Business program focused on the school’s teaching method that she discovered her love of accounting, analysis, and case methodology.

“This scholarship recognizes the entrepreneurs within the arts and humanities,” says Vulpe. “It shows that being creative and infusing it with other disciplines is applicable and important in whatever we pursue.”

As SASAH celebrates its 10-year anniversary in 2023—and Western moves toward its 150th anniversary in 2028—the university is inviting additional partnerships to grow SASAH’s influence on the future of Canada and the world.

“SASAH is among Canada’s best interdisciplinary, community-engaged undergraduate programs,” says Jan Plug, Acting Dean, Faculty of Arts & Humanities. “With this landmark support from the Dobson Foundation, and with support from other visionary philanthropists, SASAH will continue to set the pace that other programs aim to follow.”