Carleton alumnus endows $500K bursary for Indigenous business students

Humphrey Law
Humphrey Law graduated from Carleton University in the 1950s and has never forgotten the school's impact on his life. Photo courtesy Carleton University
Editor's Note

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the bursary will also cover a recipient's food and housing. In fact, the award pays for tuition and fees.

A Carleton University alumnus is carrying on his legacy of giving back to his alma mater by endowing a new bursary for Indigenous business students.

Humphrey Law studied commerce at Carleton in the 1950s and says he has never forgotten the help and support he received during his time on campus. He worked several jobs while attending school full-time and believes if it wasn’t for the support network he developed, he might not have been as successful.  

The university is matching Law’s gift and creating a $500,000 bursary aimed at Indigenous students in financial need who are entering Carleton’s Sprott School of Business. The fund will annually cover full tuition and fees for one student’s first year of education. 

“I have a great respect for the increased barriers that Indigenous students face in pursuing education,” Law said in a statement. “I wanted to ensure that what I put in place would be significant to these students, allowing them to experience the value of a Carleton education like I received.”

Law is no stranger to helping Carleton students. 

In 2013, he established the Y.P. Law (Law Yan Pak) Memorial Bursary to honour his late father’s commitment to education and leadership in Hong Kong’s education system. Five years later, he created the Thomas Jeyes Memorial Bursary in memory of his partner, Tom, who also greatly valued education.  

Diane Chea, Carleton’s director of philanthropy, has worked closely with Law on his initiatives over the years. She said he often mentions how support from the community helped pave the way for his success.

“What struck him the most is how his friends’ parents would take care of him,” she said, explaining they would provide him with hot meals or a place to learn.

Law could have directed his philanthropy towards scholarships, but “it’s always been about the bursaries,” Chea said. 

Sprott dean Dana Brown says the business school has never received a gift “that’s so comprehensive.”

Brown said receiving a financial boost early in an academic career can change a person’s life. 

“When they become educated and a leader, you change many other people’s pathways,” she added.

Brown noted that Indigenous students are underrepresented at the post-secondary level. She argued that “Indigenous business has the potential to be one of the key drivers of growth in Canada.”