Donor support paints a bright future for Shelby Lechman

A gifted artist with a passion for painting, Shelby Lechman (BFA’15) leaves the University of Saskatchewan, degree in hand, and ready to tackle the new challenges of the art world.

While a career in arts is something she has always strived for, Shelby is aware of the struggle that young artists often face when trying to make a name for themselves in a competitive industry.

“Everyone has heard of the term ‘Starving Artist’,” she says.  “Unlike other professions, career options with a fine arts degree can be uncertain and quite limited.”

Determined to complete her undergraduate degree without the staggering student debt that plagues many of her peers, Shelby relied heavily on donor support throughout her five years at university.

“The number of awards gifted to me throughout the years have allowed me to spend less time at my part-time job and more time devoted to my studies and studio practice.”

Thanks to her hard work, talent and passion, Shelby is no stranger to scholarships and awards and has benefited immensely from their impact. 

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“As an artist, the number of scholarships on my CV will hold great weight in my future,” she says, with gratitude. “Having won these awards will give me a wider range of options when I pursue graduate school and career opportunities, as they allow me to be seen as an artist worth investing in.”

Shelby credits specifically, the Elizabeth Evelyn Scholie Scholarship, an award she received two years in a row.  The fund, established by George Paterson Scholie, provides funding for Fine Arts students, with preference given to students engaged in the study of painting.

Receiving this award in both 2014 and 2015, has allowed Shelby the opportunity to invest more time in her work and focus on her grades. 

“Winning these awards has obvious financial benefits,” Shelby says.  “But there is also a lot of self-satisfaction and motivation that comes with winning them too.  Knowing these awards were available, pushed me to work harder and not give up.”

Now that she has graduated, it is the same ‘work hard’ philosophy that she continues as she starts her career as an artist. 

Shelby was the guest speaker at the annual Greystone Circle social in June 2015, which took place at the President’s Residence.  Here, she was able to share her story, and express gratitude to current members on behalf of other students who have also benefited from the same type of legacy gifts.

For more information on estate planning and leaving a legacy gift to the University of Saskatchewan, contact:

Bev Cooper
Associate Director, Planned Giving
Phone: (306) 966-2416
Email: bev.cooper@usask.ca