A new scholarship supporting students in the Odette School of Business who are first-generation Canadians pays tribute to the parents of a graduate.
Ralph Desando (BComm 1994), managing director for private investments at Yorkville Asset Management, and his wife Anne Marie Desando (MBA 1994), vice-president for manufacturer partnerships and dealer programs at Scotiabank, are adding to their legacy as donors, advisors, and mentors to business students with the founding of the “Giuseppe and Immacolata Desando First Generation Canadian Business Scholarship,” named for Ralph’s father and mother.
“This scholarship is intended to honour not just my parents, but every family that left what was home to make a better life in Canada,” he says. “My own experience as a first-generation Canadian taught me the importance of education, hard work, and the value of kindness and opportunity. My parents taught me the former and the University of Windsor provided me with the latter.”
Their pledge of $50,000 will fund an annual award of $5,000 for the next 10 years. Each recipient will be a first-generation Canadian in financial need who demonstrates voluntarism within the Odette School of Business or the broader community.
The couple previously established the Edward Ducharme Business Scholarship; Anne Marie currently serves on the Odette School of Business Toronto Dean’s Advisory Board.
Dean Mitch Fields describes them as models of genuinely engaged alumni who give back to the Odette community.
“In their own right, Anne-Marie and Ralph have achieved outstanding success in their individual careers, and we are so proud to claim them both as Odette alumni,” says Dr. Fields. “On a personal note, I admire Anne Marie as a strong leader and as an inspiring mentor to our students and her colleagues. Knowing Ralph as a former student, it is no surprise that he continues to give back to students and share his professional story with us all.”