Toronto Raptors point guard Fred Van Vliet and University of Toronto are launching a new scholarship.
Announced Monday, the Fred VanVleet Scholarship is a new award to support a black or Aboriginal student in U of T’s Rotman Commerce program during their four years in school.
“This is to create potential and illumination for those who have faced prejudice, who have not had the same opportunities as others. It is important to provide opportunities to those whom opportunities would normally overlook, act against or exclude,” VanVleet said in a statement. “Academia has not traditionally been an inclusive setting for many of us, It is therefore important to provide a private space for people who want to learn but face barriers that others do not.”
Excited to announce the Fred Vanfleet Scholarship at the University of Toronto’s Rotman Commerce Program.
Apply today at: https://t.co/05MXTm5UnQ pic.twitter.com/A5Y8dNBmuQ
– FredVanVleet December 13, 2021
The scholarship is to provide four years of books and lessons for the incoming student, based on financial need. The scholarship also offers a unique opportunity for one-on-one mentorship with VanVleet for the entire period of a student’s enrollment.
“Fred sets an example on and off the court, and this scholarship is further evidence of his leadership and vision,” said Raptors Vice President and President Masai Ujiri. “I believe that a Fred Vanfleet scholarship recipient would benefit not only from support in his education, but from his relationship with this wonderful person.”
Interested participants can first apply to Rotman Commerce and then go to the Awards Profile link after logging in at Join.utoronto.ca.
“Success sounds like anything you want it to look like, and that may change over the course of your career — both academic and professional,” VanVleet said.
VanVleet’s academic career saw him earn a four-year sociology degree at Wichita State before signing on as a freelance untrained worker with the Raptors.
After winning the NBA Championship in 2019 with Toronto, VanVleet has taken on a greater leadership role on and off the field in the past few seasons, currently leading the NBA with 38.1 minutes player per game this year. This year, VanVleet launched a podcast series highlighting Canadian entrepreneurs BIPOC as well as a web series featuring Canadian restaurateurs.
“No one expects an 18-year-old to know exactly which path they will take,” Vanfleet said. “But this scholarship will allow the 18-year-old to gain experiences and information that will give them the power to shape their own future and determine their own destiny.”