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Home > News > First Year Biology student Taya Shackleton receives 2023 John R. Rhodes scholarship

First Year Biology student Taya Shackleton receives 2023 John R. Rhodes scholarship

First student to receive full-year tuition from long-standing community fund

(SAULT STE. MARIE, ON – Oct. 13, 2023): On Thursday evening, Algoma University celebrated academic excellence and community-building at the 21st annual John R. Rhodes Scholarship Dinner and Art Auction, presented by Wishart Law Firm.

Announced at the event, first-year Biology student Taya Shackleton has been awarded the 2023 John R. Rhodes Scholarship — Algoma University’s most prestigious and generous award. Shackleton grew up in Sault Ste. Marie is a student – athlete on the Thunderbirds varsity soccer team and is a graduate of Superior Heights who plans to become a specialized physician.

“I would like to thank Algoma University, the organizing committee, Sault Ste. Marie’s business community and the family and friends of Mr. Brent Lewis who attended this special evening,” said Shackleton. “Most importantly, I want to thank the family of the late John R. Rhodes for giving me and many others through the years an opportunity to become an Algoma Thunderbird. It’s a great honour to be a part of Mr. Rhodes’ legacy, and my gratitude for this scholarship will last a lifetime.”

Following a tradition of honouring a community builder at the John R. Rhodes scholarship dinner, Thursday’s event also paid respect and reverence to the late Brent Lewis, with members of Lewis’ family in attendance.

“Brent was an individual of immense wisdom and character, and it is this legacy that continues to inspire us,” President and Vice-Chancellor Asima Vezina told the crowd. “The community — including our University — is greater for his influence.”

Thursday’s event at The Machine Shop also served as a fundraiser and art auction and featured two of Turtle Island’s most influential advocates for 2SLGBTQ+ and Indigenous equity, Anthony Johnson and Dr. James Makokis, also known as the Amazing Two-Spirit Couple –  winners of The Amazing Race Canada’s Season 7. The largest John R. Rhodes dinner yet, more than $60,000 was raised. The John R. Rhodes Scholarship was established in 1979 thanks to generous contributions from friends and family of the late John R. Rhodes. To learn more about this prestigious scholarship, please visit the Algoma University website.

Photo Credit: Kevanna Fine Photography

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