BRANDON, MB – Dr. Jim Parrott has known hardship. Raised in Oak Lake, MB, in the years following World War ll by a single mother on social assistance, he persevered to graduate from Brandon College (now Brandon University) in 1964, becoming a distinguished heart surgeon, medical teacher and politician.
“I didn’t have the money for my second year of tuition,” recalls Dr. Parrott, “after using my summer earnings to repay my step-father for financing my first year. Fortunately, the Science Dean, Dr. Henry Stewart Perdue, heard about my situation and pulled together the cash.” He adds, voice cracking with emotion, “I became the first in my family to get a University degree.”
This month, Dr. Parrott is one of the many returning to Brandon University for the annual Homecoming, a weekend of activities and events that draws alumni from coast to coast. “I had a great time at Brandon College,” says Dr. Parrott from his home in New Brunswick, 150 acres along the St. John River with a vineyard, winery and horse farm. “I grew up at the College,” he recalls, “I became a useful citizen, in the public’s eye and in my own right.”
Dr. Parrot’s career accomplishments include a research fellowship at Stanford University, head of cardiac surgery at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg, and starting the New Brunswick Heart Centre. The advantages that Dr. Parrott cites as contributing to his education success at Brandon College – small classes with attentive, accessible professors and a safe, nurturing environment – continue to make Brandon University a top choice for students.
“The College provided each of us, whether we were from the city or country, with a tremendous opportunity,” says Dr. Parrott. “Regardless of our background or income, we were given an equal chance to succeed. It was a maturing experience, a foundation for us to live our lives in a professional way. “
Brandon University, founded in 1899, promotes excellence in teaching, research, and scholarship; educating students so that they can make a meaningful difference as engaged citizens and leaders. The 2014 Homecoming is October 17-19. For details, visit www.brandonu.ca/events/.
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Alumni Relations Officer