Here’s How Connor Bays Became a Loran Scholar


Here’s how Connor Bays became a recipient of Canada’s largest undergraduate merit award, the Loran Award.

“Our education system is designed to reward a particular kind of achievement. More long-term and deeper reward comes from taking meaningful risks and finding out for yourself how you can best focus your time and energy.” – Connor Bays, Loran Scholar 2008

Before we dive into it all – we’ve got all the deets on what the scholarship is, where it came from, and what a recipient looks like to get you up to speed.  

Basically, the Loran Scholars Foundation is a national charitable organization that believes in fostering character development, community involvement, and leadership potential in today’s youth. So, the foundation launched the Loran Award to praise students entering Canadian universities that execute those very values. Secured at 25 schools across the country, 36 recipients enjoy the benefits of the Loran Award each year.

When it comes to receiving Canada’s largest undergraduate merit award, valued at $100,000, Connor Bays believes you’ve gotta risk it for the biscuit (or whatever that term is). Let’s find out more: 

Leave Things Better Than You Found Them.

According to Connor Bays, part of being a Loran Scholar means that making a positive impact in your community is a top priority. In Connor’s case, he currently:

“Work[s] with a diverse and talented team at Common Wealth – a financial technology startup that is working to make retirement easier and more affordable for people. [They] provide high-quality retirement benefits to workers without access to traditional pensions. One of Common Wealth’s co-founders is Alex Mazer, another Loran Scholar (class of ‘98) whom [he] first met through the Loran alumni network. [His] job is focused on building partnerships and business growth to help [them] reach and help more people.”

Connor identified a pain point and committed his time to make that transition into retirement more seamless for the average Canadian. Retirement is a difficult life decision at the best of times, let alone in an economic climate where many individuals have been laid off due to complications with the Coronavirus.

While there are systems in place to help Canadians with their retirement plans, Connor and his associates aim to improve the process as technology and resources continue to evolve. Finding creative solutions to leave things better than you found them, and with the support of others, is what the Loran program is all about. 

Build Connections.

Meeting new people who share similar interests and values as you is just one of the many perks of becoming a Loran Scholar. In Connor’s experience: 

“The annual Scholars’ Retreat (held each August for 3 days before heading back to university for the school year) had an outsized impact. The retreat gives Loran Scholars a chance to build deep connections with people from different backgrounds, interests and pursuits, beliefs but who share similar core values of leadership and service. It’s also an opportunity to reflect on what you’ve learned and where you want to grow. [He] personally built many great and lasting friendships at the Loran retreat, and [he] always came away feeling energized and inspired heading into the school year.”

Not only does the Loran program encourage you to build meaningful relationships with your peers, and with those that share similar ambitions – but it can also serve as an optimal networking opportunity. You never know who knows who, and whether someone in the program has a connection with someone that could launch your entire career. It happens all the time.

Our advice? Be kind to everyone and always offer your support. You’d be surprised at how willing people are to help you in return. 

Take Risks Often.

While many Canadian scholarships reward students for their tangible successes like grades and rankings, the Loran Scholars Foundation recognizes that good grades and good role models don’t always go hand in hand. Sometimes, students deserve recognition for their efforts and initiatives outside of the classroom and inside their communities. 

Even Connor believes that: 

“It can be very natural to focus on “conventional” standards of success like scholarships, grades or accolades – a lot of our education system is designed to reward a particular kind of achievement. More long-term and deeper reward comes from taking meaningful risks and finding out for yourself how you can best focus your time and energy.”

Looking for more ways to make student stuff easier? yconic is all about preparing Canadian students, like yourself, and your parents for college and university. That means matching you with the right school, helping you with tuition costs, and providing advice on how to live your best post-secondary life.