A new Ena Baxter scholarship scheme to honour one of Gray’s School of Art’s most successful graduates has been launched at Robert Gordon University (RGU).
First year Communication Design student Mark Roach (23) is the first recipient of the Ena Baxter Memorial Scholarship in Creative Arts, a £10,000 scholarship package designed to support an undergraduate student studying at RGU’s art school.
The award has been established by The Gordon and Ena Baxter Foundation and will provide funding up to the value of £2,000 per year for four years, while ACCESS RGU, the university’s widening participation initiative, will also receive £500 per year to support their work facilitating both the academic and personal success of students.
Ena Baxter is synonymous in homes across Scotland as the face of the phenomenal family business success which is Baxters.
An accomplished artist, her love of art led her to study drawing and painting at Gray’s School of Art. After graduating from the art school in 1948, Ena worked as an arts teacher at Milne’s High School, Fochabers, where she met her husband Gordon.
Ena’s love of art is preserved in her paintings of flowers and still lifes, many of which have been exhibited at Duff House, Banff, raising much needed funds for charity.
The Gordon and Ena Baxter Foundation, which was founded in 1981, works to provide financial assistance to those who are making a positive difference to the lives of the people in their local communities. Mark said: “I feel very honoured and surprised to receive the scholarship. Though I have previous years of higher education under my belt, I had never been given the opportunity to apply for a scholarship, never mind to be awarded one.
“Apart from lessening the every constant student financial woes, it will enable me to budget more on projects and to be able to start some personal projects on the side.
“I’m an avid photographer with a particular interest in film photography, but specialised films such as infrared and redscale have always been out of my budget. This gives me a great opportunity to splash out and maybe make some big prints as well.” He added: “I’ve always wanted to be a graphic designer, however after a year and a half of working as one, the effect of just calling myself a designer but never working on anything I could be proud of began to fade.
“I became depressed from seeing the innovative and brilliant projects other studios were working on and wanted that for myself. I knew that studying communication design would give me the drive and opportunities to, at the very least, get into their ballpark.”
Foundation Manager, Kay Jackson, said: “Gordon and Ena spent their lifetime supporting the arts in many different ways. They were also keen to help young people strive to be the best they could be in their chosen field.
“Ena often spoke of her happy student days in Aberdeen and it is a fitting tribute to her memory to create this scholarship at Gray’s School of Art. Trustees look forward to having a close involvement with RGU in this special project”.
Co-ordinator of the Study Skills and Access Unit at RGU, James Dunphy, said: “ACCESS RGU helps to support those who are often underrepresented in higher education and we are delighted to be working with The Gordon and Ena Baxter Foundation to provide this wonderful opportunity for a talented young person.”
The Gordon and Ena Baxter Foundation worked with the fundraising arm of the university, the RGU Foundation, to set up the Scholarship.
Communications Officer | Design and Technology