Laurentian University in Sudbury has awarded its inaugural Leo Gerard Scholarship to students Mikaela Cheslock and Caitlyn Cross.
The scholarship, established in honour of the legacy of Sudbury native and United Steelworkers (USW) International President Emeritus Leo W. Gerard, is awarded annually to students of Laurentian’s Workplace and Labour Studies program on the basis of academic merit and community engagement.
The first two recipients of the Leo Gerard Scholarship are fourth-year students in Laurentian’s Workplace and Labour Studies program. They are on the Dean’s Honour’s List and both will be pursuing further graduate education in labour issues next year.
Mikaela Cheslock is majoring in Workplace and Labour Studies with a minor in Law and Justice. Caitlyn Cross is in the Business Administration program majoring in Human Resources with a minor in Workplace and Labour Studies.
In early 2020, the USW’s Canadian National Office, District 6 Office (Ontario and Atlantic Canada), its two Sudbury-based local unions – Locals 6500 and 2020 – and the Sudbury and District Labour Council made contributions to create the Leo Gerard Legacy Fund. The fund supports the annual student scholarships as well as a lecture series featuring nationally and internationally renowned experts on issues affecting working people and organized labour.
“We are very proud to have such outstanding and committed students in our program. We thank USW Canada, USW District 6 and USW Locals 6500 and 2020 for their support of the next generation of labour activists and community leaders,” states a release from Laurentian’s Workplace and Labour Studies program.
Leo Gerard and USW Local 6500 President Nick Larochelle participated in the inaugural scholarship award ceremony, which was held via Zoom due to COVID-19 safety protocols.
Gerard, who retired in July 2019 after serving 18 years as USW international president, studied economics and political science at Laurentian and received an honorary doctorate of laws degree from the university in 1994.
“I am honoured that the USW is supporting my hometown university in its mission to prepare graduates to address some of the world’s most pressing issues, such as workers’ rights, inequality and social justice,” Gerard said when the scholarship fund was unveiled earlier this year.
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Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, [email protected]