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our history

FCE was born out of the collaboration between The Canadian Merit Scholarship Foundation (CMSF) and The Canadian Morehead Program. The Morehead Award (1951) is the senior independent merit award for undergraduate study in the USA; CMSF was founded in 1988 by nine trustees all of whom had been associated with the Canadian Morehead Program in Toronto.

CMSF’s founders said they were responding “to what we perceived as a gap in the Canadian system of merit-based financial assistance to university students. Such assistance tends to be directed to two groups – those with exceptionally high academic averages, via university scholarship programs, and those with exceptional abilities as athletes, via national teams programs. Only a small proportion of overall financial aid is directed at those who show promise of the leadership and other talents that will make their communities better places both during and after their university careers.” (CMSF annual report, 1992)

CMSF was founded as – and remains – an independent charitable entity managed by an independent board of trustees. Since founding, the institution has become the leading independent granting agency for undergraduate study in Canada. Over time, it has developed a collaborative relationship with 25 universities across Canada, each of which provide tuition grants and on-campus advisers for Loran scholars (known as CMSF National Scholars until 2007). Most of those advisers also serve as members of CMSF Area Selection Committees. The aggregate commitments of the Loran awards programs to date amount to some $40 million, and even though its first class of beneficiaries graduated from university in 1994, its alumni have already carved out distinguished careers both in Canada and abroad.

Its selection process is the most intensive and personalized scholarship evaluation in Canada with approximately 300 volunteer assessors and interviewers who help CMSF to select 30 Loran award winners out of approximately 4,000 candidates nationwide annually.

FCE was founded in 1993-4 in recognition of the essentially global character of the CMSF undertaking, as well as in recognition of the fact that many American residents wanted to support the foundation but lacked an IRS-approved vehicle for donating to it. FCE’s annual benefactions in support of CMSF and the CMSF universities have amounted to between $10,000 and $35,000US.