New Scholarship, Interview and Information

(Credit: Logan Praznik/The Quill)

Is Rivers, Manitoba your home town? If not, what about Neepawa, Melita, Minnedosa, Russell, Killarney, Souris, Virden, Carberry, Dauphin, Reston, or other places in the Brandon University catchment area? Even if you are not from Rivers, you may have some interest in the new BU scholarship that is being established for Rivers – BU alumni. Brandon’s high schools can also be given consideration. Please keep reading!

Alumni Biographies

Michael Brandon: Michael graduated from Rivers Collegiate. He then attended at the Brandon University School of Music, where he obtained Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Education degrees in 1993. He has taught music for more than two decades in the Lord Selkirk School Division. He is currently the senior band teacher at the Lord Selkirk Secondary School. He lives in Winnipeg.

Michael Czuboka: Born in Brandon, Michael “Mike” grew up in Rivers and went to the old Rivers Consolidated School until Grade 11, and then to Brandon College for Grade 12 in 1949-50 because Rivers at that time did not have a Grade 12. He obtained B.A. and B.Ed. degrees from BU, and M.A. andM.Ed. degrees from the University of Manitoba. He taught history courses at Brandon College in the early 1960 s prior to his appointment as the Principal of Neelin High School in Brandon in 1965. He was a superintendent of schools in eastern Manitoba for more than two decades beginning in 1969. He also taught administration courses at the University of Manitoba for many years, including on a full-time basis in the early 1990 s. He taught Canadian, British and U.S. history courses, in English, as an unpaid, volunteer professor in Ukraine in 1996-97.  He contributes to a Quill Scholarship at BU on a regular monthly basis and will also be contributing to this new scholarship. He lives in Winnipeg.

Wayne Pettapiece:  Wayne went to high school in Rivers and at CJATC airbase in the early 1950 s. He attended Brandon College for Grade 12 and a B.Sc., the University of Manitoba for an M.Sc., and the University of Alberta for a Ph.D. in Soil Science. In 1963 he commenced employment with the research branch of Agriculture Canada in Edmonton. He worked mainly out of Edmonton, with three years in Ottawa where he managed the National Soil Inventory Program. Wayne and Irene live in Edmonton.

Irene Pettapiece: Irene, nee Roberts, went to school in Carroll, Manitoba. She taught on permit after Grade 11, took Grade 12 by correspondence, and then attended the Teacher Training College at Brandon. She taught Grade 4 in Rivers from 1957 to 1960. After her marriage to Wayne they moved to Winnipeg for two years before moving to Edmonton. She was a full-time homemaker with a major involvement in the Girl Guide movement.


BU Alumni: What are the purposes of this scholarship?

Michael Brandon, Michael Czuboka, Wayne Pettapiece, Irene Pettapiece: Our purposes are: (1) to encourage outstanding students from Rivers Collegiate to enrol specifically at Brandon University, our alma mater, and (2) to provide financial assistance to outstanding students from Rivers, our home town. According to information provided by Maclean’s magazine and from BU itself, the BU scholarship program needs to be greatly enhanced. We currently have a very low ranking, near the scholarship bottom, among the 90 Canadian universities evaluated in this regard. Very good universities attract very good students, and that in turn attracts and retains very good professors. BU already has many generous scholarships, but more are needed. Please go to the BU Scholarships website for more information on existing awards.   

BU Alumni: How does this Rivers – BU scholarship differ from other scholarships?

MB/MC/WP/IP: Joseph Roberson ‘39 donated more than $ 6 million dollars to BU in 2008 and earlier years. Many other alumni have also made substantial scholarship contributions. But most alumni do not have that kind of money to contribute, and the “$ 10 + per month club” is a viable alternative. Almost everyone can afford $ 10 per month, or even $ 25 or $ 50 per month. $ 10 per month comes to about 25 cents per day, which will buy nothing except a shopping cart rental at Safeway’s!

BU Alumni: What kind of financial impact will this have on Brandon University? Is a small donation of $ 10 or some small amount going to be of any significance to BU?

MB/MC/WP/IP: It is our understanding that Brandon University has about 12,000 living alumni. Let’s be wildly optimistic for a moment. If 12,000 alumni contributed $ 10 monthly that would mean a total of ( 12,000 X $ 10)= $ 120,000 per month, or ( $ 120,000 X 12)= $ 1.4 million per year! $ 25 a month would bring $ 3.6 million per year. These numbers are, of course, unrealistic. Many alumni already contribute. Some alumni never contribute. But even 100 alumni at $ 10 per month would generate $ 12,000 annually. We are primarily looking for new donors, and not those who already contribute to BU. But current donors are also welcome. Everyone is welcome to contribute. You do not need to be a Rivers – BU alumnus.

BU Alumni: Will this scholarship have a cumulative effect of any kind? $ 10 monthly or even $ 50 monthly does not sound like much.

MB/MC/WP/IP: We see this automatic monthly giving as having a major advantage. Current graduating BU students can be encouraged to make a monthly contribution by means of a credit card once they have secured employment and have a secure source of income, which may be several years later. Contributors can be added continuously in future years. In the meantime, we need to find present Rivers – BU alumni who are living in various parts of Canada, the U.S. and elsewhere. Please send us any names that come to mind.

BU Alumni: How can Rivers BU alumni contribute to this new scholarship? What steps should be taken?

MB/MC/WP/IP: The contribution contact person at Brandon University is Development Officer Shawna English, who can be reached  She can also be contacted by telephone at 204-727-9715. Please note that all contributions will be kept on a confidential basis. Only Shawna and other scholarship administrators at BU will know how much you have contributed. Michael, Michael, Wayne and Irene will not know how much each of them or anyone else is contributing. However, we would like to have permission from contributors to have their names added to the advertisement which currently includes the two Michaels, Wayne and Irene. Other BU contacts are: Vice President Heather MacDonald and Alumni Relations Officer Carla Eisler.

BU Alumni: How do you know that this monthly system of donations will be effective?

MB/MC/WP/IP: Michael Czuboka currently contributes to a “Quill Scholarship” by means of a monthly credit card donation. Another BU alumnus, a friend of Michael, also contributes to this scholarship. It is a very convenient system that requires very little administration. It is automatic, and can be cancelled at any time. Income tax credits reduces the amount of the donation by about one-third.   

BU Alumni: How will this scholarship differ from others currently available to Rivers Collegiate students?

MB/MC/WP/IP: Note that this scholarship will specifically provide financial assistance for outstanding Rivers students to attend Brandon University in any faculty. We understand that other current scholarships for Rivers Collegiate students are for all other universities, and not just Brandon University. The Principal of Rivers Collegiate and his staff will be responsible for administering this new scholarship, and not sponsors Michael, Michael, Wayne and Irene or anyone else. You may however, contact Michael B, Michael C., Wayne P or Irene P at the email addresses listed in the cc above. 

BU Alumni: You previously mentioned that students from other BU catchment towns may also be interested in this unique scholarship program. Please elaborate.

MB/MC/WP/IP: Let’s assume that Virden is your home town, that you graduated from Virden Collegiate, and that you want to take on a leadership role and introduce a monthly giving scholarship for Virden – BU students. You should contact businesses, organizations and individuals in the Virden area, as we have done in the case of Rivers. We mailed, via Canada Post regular mail, to more than 100 contacts in the Rivers area, and you can do the same thing in the case of Virden. You will also need to contact individuals who attended Virden Collegiate and BU over the years. The late Don Sumner was a Virden – BU graduate, and we sure that he would have been interested if he had not, very sadly, passed away in 2014. All other towns in the BU catchment area can also use this kind of scholarship, but leadership is required by one or more individuals. We are grateful to all alumni and BU alumni and friends for their support. This initiative could have a very important positive impact for BU not only immediately, but also cumulatively in the years to come.