Dr. Horace Alexis Founder Black Scholarship Fund

ALEXIS, Dr. Horace Clayton

May 6, 1931 –  February 7, 2019

Dr. Horace Clayton Alexis

 

Dr. Alexis was always reminding his family that “love is everything.” On February 7, 2019, those sweet words never rang truer, as he passed away peacefully surrounded by the smiles, tears, and kisses of his wife and cherie, Christiane, his children, and his grandchildren. 

Born in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago on May 6, 1931, Dr. Alexis dreamt of a life beyond poverty, where he could support his young family while caring for others as a physician. 

In 1958, that vision would come to fruition when he came to Canada to study medicine at the University of Ottawa. 

But, it wasn’t easy. With only $200 in his pocket when he landed and a wife and small children to feed, he knew he would need to fight for the life he had imagined for so long. He worked the midnight shift at the post office and chased moving trucks on weekends to make a buck an hour moving furniture. 

In the sixties, Dr. Alexis began practicing medicine in Petrolia, Ontario, Canada. He quickly became involved with the local community, serving as a Director on the Board of the Petrolia Credit Union, Director on the Board of the Sarnia Victorian Order of Nurses and was Chief of Staff at the Eleanor Englehart Hospital of Petrolia. 

In the mid-seventies, he left Petrolia to establish his medical practice in Ottawa South, where he served as a beloved family doctor for many years. 

After overcoming the challenges he had accessing higher education, he knew he wanted to make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged Black youth in the Ottawa community. In 1996, Dr. Alexis founded the Black Canadian Scholarship Fund, which has transformed the lives of many young people who may not have had the opportunity to attend university otherwise. The capital fund, initially endowed with a $5,000 gift from Dr. Alexis in 1996, is now worth a healthy half million dollars. The far-reaching impact of the BCSF is due in great part to Dr. Alexis himself, who struggled to ensure the survival of his scholarship at times against great odds.

Recognized for his involvement in the community, he had put his talent and skills to work over the years to help ensure the success of many other projects and organizations, including the Victorian Order of Nurses Canada, the James R. Johnston Chair in Black Canadian Studies at Dalhousie University, the Community Foundation of Ottawa and The Trinidad & Tobago Association of Ottawa.

Throughout the years, he touched many lives, received many prestigious awards for his community service, including the Black History Ottawa Community Builder Award in 2012, and the University of Ottawa Alumni Award of Excellence in 2016. 

Dr. Alexis will be forever remembered for his infectious laugh, his wonderful sense of humour, his joyful demeanor, and his signature dance moves in his favourite tux. 

His legacy lives on in his loved ones, his wife, Christiane, his brother, Dr. Carlton Alexis (Bonnie),his children, André(Elaine), Thecla(Yazid), Michele(Keppel), Denise, Rachel(Etienne), Michaela(Ryan), Jordan, his grandchildren, Yasmin(Cory), Cameron, Katrina, Kendall, Jamila, Myles, Nicola, Kael, Megan, Anaïs, and Zoe, his great-granddaughter, Evie, his many loving nieces and nephews in Washington D.C. and in Trinidad and Tobago, step-children, Barbara and Kofi-David, and his mother-in-law Minouche. 

“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, 
and the life of the candle will not be shortened. 
Love never decreases by being shared.” 

Though he is gone, his love carries on.

Sources: Ottawa Matters,  uOttawa Alumni and Black History Ottawa

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2016 Alumni Association Awards of Excellence winners

 
Photo du prix d’excellence de l’Association des diplômés de l’Université d’Ottawa. | Picture of the University of Ottawa Alumni Association Award of Excellence

The uOttawa Alumni Association recognizes the outstanding achievements of its members with the annual presentation of the Alumni Association Awards of Excellence. Established in 2011, these awards aim to recognize the inspiring talent, effort and influence of the University’s graduates—locally and worldwide.

 

 

Community Service category

Horace Alexis (BA ’62, MD ’66) – Building a better future through access to education

Horace Alexis

In 1958, Horace Alexis immigrated to Canada from Trinidad with $200 in his pocket and one goal—to become a doctor.

Now retired, Dr. Alexis practised family medicine for more than 40 years, but never forgot his roots or the sacrifices he had to make to reach his goal.

In fact, his own challenges and the difficult times he faced in those earlier years led him to create the Black Canadian Scholarship Fund (BCSF), one of his proudest achievements.

The goal of the BCSF is to help promising black students in financial need attend university. To date, more than $200,000 in scholarships has been awarded to approximately 40 students.

The premise behind the scholarship is that by providing someone with the means to get an education, we create a ripple effect that has a positive impact on generations to come—something Dr. Alexis has experienced firsthand within his own extended family.

The capital fund, initially endowed with a $5,000 gift from Dr. Alexis in 1996, is now worth a healthy half million dollars. The far-reaching impact of the BCSF is due in great part to Dr. Alexis himself, who struggled to ensure the survival of his scholarship at times against great odds.

Recognized for his involvement in the community, he has put his talent and skills to work over the years to help ensure the success of many other projects and organizations, including the Victorian Order of Nurses Canada, the James R. Johnston Chair in Black Canadian Studies at Dalhousie University, the Community Foundation of Ottawa and The Trinidad & Tobago Association of Ottawa.

The University of Ottawa is proud to recognize a community leader who knows so well the vital role education plays in building a better future.

Source: uOttawa Alumni

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