New scholarship for “New Brunswick” Indigenous students

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The New Brunswick Medical Education Foundation Inc, or NBMEFI, announced on November 19 the new Hatchette and Nicholas Medical Education Endowment fund. The fund for Indigenous students is named in memory of Rick Hatchette and Michael Nicholas.

Donors Graydon and Beth Nicholas. (Darren McLeod/Submitted)

The scholarship will award $10,000 annually to Indigenous students who live in New Brunswick and/or students with New Brunswick Band Council who attend Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick and complete their M.D. program.

The fund will be maintained by Graydon and Beth Nicholas, who are committed to investing $250,000 in the endowment fund.

New Brunswick Medical Education Foundation Inc. 

The NBMEFI is the only not-for-profit organization in Canada that focuses on providing scholarships to New Brunswick residents who choose to attend a medical school and practice in the province through the return to service pledges.

Darren McLeod, the Executive Director of the New Brunswick Medical Education Foundation, has expressed his delight about the scholarship. “The Nicholas’ generosity is a testament to the spirit of giving and the positive impact it will have on a future generation of Indigenous students and for generations to come. We are very indebted to them for the creation of this very important scholarship that will help these students become the next generations of physicians here,” he said.

The donors

The Fredericton couple, Beth and Graydon Nicholas, have committed to making a big investment in an endowment fund. Both Beth and Graydon had the motivation to invest due to their beliefs and backgrounds.

Graydon Nicholas was raised within a Wolastoqey family on the Tobique First Nation and was taught the importance of pursuing education, and Beth (Hachette) Nicholas grew up in Saint John’s north end where her father worked as a cooper at the Port of Saint John and her mother worked at Woolworths.

The couple met in university and both pursued careers in law. Graydon worked as a lawyer, was President of the Union of New Brunswick Indians, a Provincial Court judge, and New Brunswick’s first Indigenous Lieutenant-Governor in 2009. He is currently the Chancellor of St. Thomas University and holds the Endowed Chair in Native Studies. 

Beth has worked as Regional Manager of Court Services for Fredericton, Woodstock and Burton with the New Brunswick Department of Justice and finished her career as Deputy Registrar of the Court of Queen’s Bench and the Court of Appeal of New Brunswick.

The scholarship is dedicated to Beth’s brother, Rick Hatchette, and the couple’s son Michael Nicholas. Both people passed away in 2016 and 2019 respectively. The fund also commemorates the memory of their deceased parents. According to Beth Nicholas, her brother was an advocate of Indigenous rights and higher education, and their son was a proud member of the Wolastoqiyik who worked as a senior archeologist for the province.

The couple hopes that Indigenous students feel motivated by the scholarship and get inspired by Dr. Michael Perley from Tobique First Nation. He was the first Indigenous medical doctor in the province and the recipient of the Canadian Medical Association Honorary Membership for Distinction in Medicine Award in 2020.

In addition to this scholarship, the Nicholas’ established a bursary fund for Indigenous students who may need financial support at St. Thomas University in 2019 and a bursary endowment for emergency funding for Indigenous students at St. Francis Xavier University in 2020.

More information 

To learn more about the scholarship and the NBMEF and to support it, visit their website and their social media. To contact the Executive Director, email Darren.McLeod@nbmeded.ca or call at 506-349-5053.