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Why Give | Impact stories

Burrell Atkinson: Beyond Tomorrow Scholar with a belief in ethical business

As part of the first cohort of the Beyond Tomorrow Scholars Program, Burrell Atkinson sees a bright future for himself and those who follow.

For Burrell Atkinson, a student in the UBC Sauder School of Business, entrepreneurship and giving back to the community are two sides of the same coin.

“As I get older, I’m interested in the entrepreneurship idea and eventually being my own boss,” says Burrell. “A goal of mine, after UBC Sauder, would be to teach financial literacy and preach it back into the Black communities and it would help many generations to come.”

Born in Nova Scotia, Burrell came to UBC Vancouver’s campus via Kelowna, BC. He likes being near the ocean, establishing a life on his own—as well as meeting people from other cities, provinces and countries.

“Since everyone’s from different places, the connections I can build here are connections I couldn’t build in other places,” says Burrell.

None of this would have been possible without the Beyond Tomorrow Scholars Award, which supports Black Canadian students. Burrell has found the award life-changing for him and for his family.

“When I found out I received the Beyond Tomorrow Scholars Award, it was like a pressure was released off of me, and I felt like my dream was coming true,” says Burrell. “And being able to come here is showing my younger siblings that university is an avenue that they could take as well.”

Burrell is also taking full advantage of the extracurricular opportunities on the UBC Vancouver campus.

“I joined the UBC intramural basketball team, and I’m looking at other clubs,” says Burrell. “They have some business-oriented clubs here that are definitely on my watch list.”

A believer in the “triple bottom line” of people, planet and profit, Burrell values the ethical focus at the UBC Sauder School of Business.

“For a lot of the curriculum we’re learning at the moment, they’re teaching about values and ethics in the workplace,” says Burrell. “That narrative—to stay true to your ethics and your values—could change the way businesses operate in the future.”

He also has these words for donors to the Beyond Tomorrow Scholars Awards, for making his time at UBC possible.

“Thank you! What donors are doing is not taken for granted and is changing lives,” says Burrell. “I don’t even think they completely understand the impact they have on the students they’re helping.”

As part of the first cohort of this program, Burrell Atkinson sees a bright future for himself and those who follow.

“I’m looking forward to being a part of something new, something that could continue for a long time,” says Burrell. “I like the fact that it’s going to give me opportunities to give back to my community and be a role model or mentor to students that come after me.”

To support talented Black Canadian students to succeed at UBC, please give to the Beyond Tomorrow Scholars Award.

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