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Enduring Gifts: The Lorne M. McKenzie and Jeffrey Filder Smith Scholarships

In honour of Remembrance Day we look back at a legacy of generosity, including an Old Boy who benefitted from a boarding scholarship named after Jeffrey Filder Smith, a lieutenant killed in the First World War at age 33.

James Perham Stanley ’42 was a precocious and talented student. Owing to his academic talents, he was only 15 years old when he graduated from UCC. After being made to wait a year to attend the University of Toronto because of age restrictions, Stanley continued to succeed at lightning speeds, gaining his PhD before he was 25 and playing a key role at the United Automobile Workers of Detroit at 26.

A statistician and an actuary, Stanley went on to be the president of the Wyatt Company in Detroit, a major actuarial consulting firm. When he retired in 1987, the company had grown from 85 employees to 2,500 worldwide.

And it all started with a boarding scholarship, the Jeffrey Filder Smith Memorial Scholarship Fund, which is still active today. Stanley was a recipient of the fund, founded by Filder Smith’s fellow 1904 classmate, R. A. Laidlaw (chair of the Board of Governors from 1935 to 1940).

Lieutenant Jeffrey Filder Smith was a scholarship holder himself, winning the Leonard McLaughlin Scholarship while at the College. As a versatile athlete, he played for both the first hockey and cricket teams at UCC.  After graduating from Trinity College, he became involved with farming in Cooksville, Ont. before volunteering for Canadian service in the First World War. His story ends sadly, as he was killed in action. He was 33.

But his legacy endures through the scholarship in his name, which in turned spurred on more generosity: Stanley and his brother David ’45 — both head boys in Seaton’s — established the Lorne M. McKenzie Scholarship and Bursary Fund in 1980 to honour UCC’s renowned mathematics teacher and acting principal from 1943 to 1948. It’s still going strong, and there’s also an annual Lorne McKenzie Medal awarded for overall distinction.

Says Stanley, “Setting up the Lorne McKenzie Scholarship Fund was an attempt on the part of my brother and myself — he was also a scholarship holder — to repay the help we had been given a long time ago. My brother unfortunately is no longer with us but I hope to do more in the future in both our names.”

Stanley has many happy memories of his time at UCC, and he has valuable advice for today’s students: “Make sure that whatever you do with your working life, it is something that you enjoy doing. Try to excel at something, both while you are at school and later. And lastly, make your own decisions; it’s your life and your future.”