Everyone loves a story about an underdog who is able to succeed through sheer determination and effort. Lynn James knows the formula all too well.

A self-described “poor” student who struggled to mediocre results in high school, James was initially refused entry to the University of Toronto’s dental hygiene program because of her grades. After taking the place of a student who opted out of the program, James seized the opportunity and proved her doubters wrong.

After earning a bachelors and master's degree, she embarked on a rewarding career, the last 21 years spent as a professor and coordinator of Fanshawe’s Dental Hygiene program.

Inspired by her own journey, and teaching many unheralded students during her career, James reached out to Fanshawe shortly before her 2006 retirement to establish the Dental Hygiene Personal Achievement Award. The award recognizes a student demonstrating initiative in overcoming obstacles to achieve success in the first two years of the program.

James says her intent is to help give confidence to someone who may have been told they weren't good enough, or someone who's been through tough times and may have considered giving up. “There are a lot of awards that acknowledge the best and brightest students,” says James. “I wanted something that was more of an underdog award to recognize a student’s determination and effort.”

The impact of James’ generosity is captured in a letter from one of the recipients that reads: “This award has really made me feel more confident in myself and all those memories of the tough challenges I faced during the program are all worth it now."

Recently James ensured the award will live long into the future by properly setting up her Will to include planned giving to Fanshawe.


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To learn more how you can share your passion for education with future generations, please contact us at 519-452-4112 or advancementoffice@fanshawec.ca