While at St. Bon’s, Michael O’Keefe ’13 flourished as a well-rounded student demonstrating many successes in academics, music, leadership, spiritual growth, and more.He continues to grow and succeed to this day, always striving to reach his full potential. Upon graduation from St. Bon’s, Michael was awarded over $250,000 in scholarships, including the Memorial University Alumni Association Entrance Scholarship, one of the University’s largest. At Memorial, while earning his Bachelor of Music degree (Honours) with a double major in Trumpet Performance and Musicology, Michael was named to the Dean’s List each year, and was awarded the University Medal for Academic Excellence in Music and the Dr. Maureen Volk Award for Academic Excellence at convocation last year.
A passion fuelled by the St. Bon’s music program, Michael continues to perform at home, across the country, and internationally. He was a National Finalist at the Federation of Canadian Music Festivals National Music Festival in 2016, was Principal Trumpet at the Vancouver Symphony Orchestral Institute in 2017, and was selected as a winner of the Memorial University Concerto Competition in 2018. Michael also performed for two seasons as a member of the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, and was a Teaching Artist at Project Grace, a cost-free program offering music learning and development to children from all walks of life.
Demonstration of leadership and service, a large part of Michael’s education at St. Bon’s, has remained with him since graduation. In addition to volunteer work at Eastern Health Long Term Care, Michael has completed international humanitarian service trips to Haiti and the Dominican Republic to build much needed housing and educational facilities. While at Memorial, Michael took on several leadership roles, serving on the University Senate and Students’ Union Board of Directors for four terms. Because of this work, he had the opportunity to represent the University nationally at the Universities Canada Converge 2017 conference to discuss what Canada can become in the next 50 years. He was also selected as one of 10 Canadian and 10 American university students to attend the Fulbright Youth Institute on Canada in the World. For his service to Memorial University, Michael was awarded the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Award and Fry Family Foundation Scholarship, the University’s highest honours for leadership. Michael has since worked as a Legislative Assistant at the House of Commons in Ottawa.
Perhaps most notably, Michael was named the 2018 Rhodes Scholar for Newfoundland and Labrador, the 28thRhodes Scholar in the long and proud history of St. Bon’s, but the first since it reopened as a Jesuit school in 1999. Widely regarded as the most prestigious scholarship program in the world, Michael has since begun graduate studies at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, earning a Master’s degree in Music Performance, during which he received trumpet tuition at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Michael is currently pursuing a Master of Public Policy degree at the Blavatnik School of Government, also at Oxford. He has had several exciting opportunities since moving to Oxford, including the experience of interviewing esteemed classical cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Michael is currently on the organizing committee for the inaugural Rhodes Forum on the Humanities, to be held in Oxford in November, and serves as the Director of Finance on the Board of the Global Scholars Group, a network of international scholars in the United Kingdom, who are committed to finding creative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.