Some couples send their wedding reception guests home with a keepsake. Jeavana Sritharan and Krishanth Logeswaran gave their wedding guests the gift of inspiration.
The two uOttawa alumni, who met in 2007 as members of the Tamil Students Union on campus, got married in June 2015. At the reception, when the toasts to the bride and groom were complete, the couple rose to announce they had set up a scholarship in their parents’ names.
The Sritharan and Logeswaran Scholarship provides $1,000 a year to a female student in her first year of engineering. Logeswaran and Sritharan have committed to funding the scholarship for three years.
Announcing the scholarship at the wedding was the couple’s way of honouring both the university that brought them together, and the parents who supported their education. It was also meant to be a sort of challenge.
“We hoped it would inspire other people to set up similar donations for scholarships, and also let young people know that there are scholarships available that they can access,” says Logeswaran.
Logeswaran, 31, is a systems engineering consultant, and Sritharan, 27, is a PhD student in cancer epidemiology. Although Logeswaran is just getting started on his career, and Sritharan is not yet finished her education, they decided not to wait until they were financially secure to give back to uOttawa.
“At the end of the day, doing something meaningful helps the community and makes you feel you have contributed all the things that people contributed to you,” says Logeswaran.
Reducing student debt and student stress is something he knows from personal experience can make a big difference in the life of an undergraduate. He worked part time and received a bursary during his undergraduate years that helped to reduce his student loans.
“Both of us come from a family of five kids,” adds Sritharan. “We know how hard our parents worked to make sure we at least got our foot in the door with our first degree. Back then, we didn’t know a lot about scholarships and what kind of financial assistance was available.”
Announcing the scholarship at the wedding that many of their young cousins attended was also a way to let those cousins know that they could apply for scholarships, Sritharan says.
The couple, who now live in Markham, Ontario, chose to support women in engineering because tuition in the Faculty of Engineering is higher than in some other faculties. They also hope to encourage more women to enter the program, Sritharan says.
One student has already received the scholarship. Eventually, as their careers flourish, the couple hopes to increase their level of financial support to the University.
“We feel like the first step in our success was at the University of Ottawa. We feel it’s important to give back right now,” says Logeswaran.
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