“I was studying with a classmate when I received the good news that I would be receiving a Schulich Scholarship. I was so overwhelmed; I sat there speechless and in tears.”
That’s Dr. Danielle Soulliere, MD’16, just one of hundreds of students who since 2004, have received a Schulich Scholarship generously funded by the School’s named benefactor, Seymour Schulich, LLD’08.
Since the scholarships were introduced, more than $30 million has been awarded. And for those in medicine and dentistry, the scholarship was provided for the entirety of their undergraduate professional school studies, eliminating a tremendous financial burden and removing the financial barriers for students who might otherwise have not been able to pursue their dreams.
It’s difficult not to become emotional as you read and listen to the students and alumni telling their stories about when they learned they would benefit from the Scholarship program and how it changed their lives and educational journey.
We recently connected with four alumni who told us about what it meant to them to receive the Scholarship, and how they believe scholarships enrich the academic environment for all students. They also got us caught up with what they are doing now, and shared thank you messages for Seymour Schulich.
Dr. Graham Briscoe, MD’13
“It’s difficult to put into words the overwhelming feelings I had when I was informed that I would be receiving a Schulich Scholarship,” said Dr. Briscoe. “I was ecstatic, humbled and sincerely grateful for being selected.”
The financial support enabled Dr. Briscoe to focus on his studies in addition to lifting the overwhelming burden and stress of tuition and living expenses. It also made it possible for him to pursue enriching extracurricular activities and volunteer in roles that he says changed his life forever.
“My journey,” he said, “began as a distant goal to change the lives of others as a medical doctor.” But what he didn’t know was how much he would change throughout the experience. His medical class became his family away from home. Surrounding himself with people who shared his passion for medicine, he immersed himself in learning opportunities inside and outside the classroom.
Following graduation Dr. Briscoe completed his family medicine residency and a fellowship in sport and exercise medicine. Today, he is in his second year of practice where he splits his clinical duties between sports medicine, emergency medicine and part-time hospitalist work. He is also an adjunct professor at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, working with clerks, residents and fellows.
“If I had the chance to chat with Mr. Schulich, I’d thank him for the opportunity he provided me: the chance to pursue my dream.”
Dr. Jacob Matusinec, MD’16
A recent graduate, Dr. Jacob Matusinec is currently pursuing his residency in family medicine, with hopes of establishing a rural practice. As he reflects on his four years of medical school at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, the emotions associated with being awarded a Schulich Scholarship come flooding back.
“It was incredible to have the weight of finances lifted throughout my medical education,” Dr. Matusinec said. “Because of the Scholarship, I was able to pursue research opportunities during the summers and take on a rewarding project looking at magnetic resonance imaging in multiple sclerosis.”
The scholarships, says Dr. Matusinec provides freedom to students to pursue their goals, train better and become better medical professionals.
“The amount Mr. Schulich has given for scholarships is absolutely incredible and has made a world of difference for so many students. I hope he knows that a gift like his inspires its recipients to try to live up to its magnitude and give back as much as possible to the community as we transition in practice.”
Dr. Ranny Sidhu, DDS’13
Peace of mind – that’s what Dr. Sidhu says the Schulich Scholarship gave him. That, and a chance to really focus on his studies to become the best dental practitioner that he could. It also, however, made him more conscious of the generosity of others.
“On a deeper level, it was heartwarming to see that there are individuals out there such as Mr. Schulich who are willing to give generously to those in need.”
Dr. Sidhu believes that scholarships such as this one enrich the diversity in the classroom, bringing together students with a wide range of backgrounds whose differences, strengths and vulnerabilities enhance the educational experience of everyone in the class. Scholarships, he says, reduce the divide amongst students so that they can all positively contribute to their own success and that of the School.
Working today as an associate, Dr. Sidhu is ensuring that the training he received at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry is being put toward enriching the quality of life of those who he treats.
“My goal is to have the impact of this scholarship snowball so that Mr. Schulich’s generosity can be extended and never forgotten.”
Dr. Danielle Soulliere, MD’16
“This scholarship truly changed my medical school journey for the better,” said Dr. Soulliere.
Within a few weeks of receiving the scholarship, the then first-year medical student was able to quit her multiple jobs and really focus on her studies, with less stress from carrying a financial burden. She began engaging in extracurricular activities and volunteering with her community, started a fitness routine – so critical when pursuing medical studies and was able to develop new relationships with her classmates. She also noticed an immediate improvement in her marks.
Without financial assistance, says Dr. Soulliere, students like her would not be able to fully experience medical school in all of its goodness.
Given the opportunity, she would tell Mr. Schulich just how special her Schulich Medicine experience was. His generous donation allowed her to achieve her personal and professional goals, while growing into a well-rounded physician.
Today, Dr. Soulliere is experiencing the joys of motherhood, having recently given birth to her first child, Emily. She’s excited to return to her residency in family medicine in the fall, and is looking forward to future studies in hospitalist medicine, practising in Windsor, and becoming a mentor and faculty member at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry.
Living our values - The Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry proudly embraces the values of social responsibility, accountability, and diversity. Each day we work to live these and all our values. Learn more about the School's values, missions, and vision.