Calin Rovinescu, right, was installed as the 14th U of O chancellor in 2015. Photo: Jaclyn McRae-Sadik/Fulcrum
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Funding from Air Canada CEO and wife will be split equally between students at the U of O, Université de Montréal

The chancellor of the University of Ottawa and his wife have launched a scholarship to support first-generation Canadians and children of immigrants in pursuing degrees at the U of O and the Université de Montréal, thanks to a $2-million donation.

Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu and his wife, Elaine, said in a press release on Oct. 3 that the funding will cover both tuition and fees and will be split equally between students at the U of O and the Université de Montreal. 

“My parents came to Canada from Romania when I was five years old with nothing more than $60 and a few suitcases of clothes,” said Calin Rovinescu, who is the university’s 14th chancellor and graduated with a common law degree in 1980. 

“What they had of value was what was in their heads,” he said. “Their extensive university and professional education is what enabled them to quickly thrive in their new country.” 

The Rovinescu Scholarships will “enable new Canadians to embrace a better future through access to higher education,” U of O president Jacques Frémont said in the release. 

Students who qualify for financial assistance will be eligible for the scholarship, but academic performance along with community, social, sport and extra-curricular involvement will also be taken into account, according to the release. The scholarship will support students pursuing both undergraduate and professional degrees.

“Canada has been built by immigrants from so many countries, each contributing in her or his way,” said Elaine Rovinescu in the release. “Times have never been more challenging for some immigrant families, so as we invest in and support our scholars, we look forward to helping the next generation of builders in Canada.”