Memorial bursary pays tribute to Edward Perkins and his zest for life
Helping Other Students with Disabilities
May 17, 2011
If he could have witnessed the launch of his named bursary fund, Newfoundlander Edward Perkins (1966-2008) would have been bursting with pride.
Instead, it fell to his mother, Florence Perkins, to honor his memory by establishing the Edward A. Perkins Memorial Bursary with a gift of $25,000 – Edward’s savings from his working years.
“Edward would be so pleased and proud to know that he was helping other students with disabilities,” says Florence. “He never allowed himself to be held back because of his own challenges.”
When he was two years old, a severe illness left Edward with a condition that was eventually identified as cerebral palsy and that gradually worsened as he grew older, explains Florence. Nevertheless, he graduated from high school with honours and was able to follow his passion for meteorology and environmental science by studying at the University of Utah, where his family was then living.
“Edward did not limit himself to books,” says Florence. “He explored the natural world as fully as he could by bird-watching, star-gazing, fossil-hunting, sailing and generally going anywhere in the outdoors that it was possible for him to reach in a motorized wheelchair – and some places that most people would have thought that he couldn’t.”
Following his graduation from university, Edward was employed by Environment Canada for five years, until an attack of pneumonia left him too ill to continue working. “The money for this scholarship comes from savings Edward was able to make while he was employed,” says Florence. “That’s what makes it so special.”
The Perkins Bursary will provide $1,000 or more in renewable assistance for Dalhousie students with accessibility issues and with a demonstrated financial need. The award will be disbursed in combination with the Johnson Foundation Bursaries for students with disabilities, for a total renewable bursary of no less than $2,500 per year.
The bursary will be available to award in the 2011/12 academic year.