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History of the Mackenzie King Scholarships

The Mackenzie King Scholarships were set up under the will of the Rt. Hon. W.L. Mackenzie King (1874-1950), who was Prime Minister of Canada 1921-26, 1926-30, and 1935-48.

Mr. King had received $100,000 from his friend John D. Rockefeller, Jr., on his 74th birthday. He directed in his will that this fund be held on trust and the income from it be used by a Board of Scholarship Trustees for "a series of travelling scholarships to be awarded to graduates of Canadian Universities for post-graduate study of international relations or industrial relations in universities in the United States and the United Kingdom".

He added that in establishing these scholarships, he wished "to pay tribute to Mr. Rockefeller, whose generosity has made them possible and whose devotion to the cause of international and industrial peace has been unceasing, and also to record my warm appreciation of the opportunities which I enjoyed in my early years, through travelling scholarships, of continuing my studies in other lands." The fund currently provides scholarships totalling some $44,000 a year.

Mr. King directed that the residue of his estate be held on trust for another series of scholarships, the Open Scholarships, for "graduates of any Canadian University who may apply therefor and who may be found by the said Board of Scholarship Trustees most worthy to pursue their post-graduate studies".

From the same trust fund as the Open Scholarship, he wished one scholarship a year to go "to a graduate of Harvard University selected as most worthy by the President of Harvard University to pursue post-graduate studies at any Canadian university". Harvard University nominates the recipient of this scholarship.

The total annual income available for the Open and the Harvard Scholarships is currently about $12,000. 

The Board of Trustees presently consists of: 

  • Dr. David W. Strangway of Vancouver, B.C.
  • Professor Joost Blom of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C.(chair) 
  • Dr. Elizabeth Parr-Johnston, of Fredericton, N.B.

Recipients of the scholarships are chosen on behalf of the Board by a Selection Committee, currently chaired by Professor Joost Blom. The Selection Committee receives nominations for each scholarship (Travelling and Open) from universities across Canada.

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All material on this site is the property of the Board of Trustees of the Mackenzie King Scholarship Trust. © 2002.