Business receives $35-million donation

Contribution to help build management institute in the Global Innovation Exchange building

File Photo by Serena Gill
File Photo by Serena Gill

A $35-million donation has been given to Wilfrid Laurier University to build a “world-class” management institute in the Global Innovation Exchange building.

Blackberry’s co-founder and philanthropist, Mike Lazaridis, made a $20-million investment to the university along with a $15-million contribution from the Ontario government.

Michael Kelly, the dean of the school of business and economics, said the university was very excited to receive the donation from someone of Lazaridis’ status.

“When you get somebody of Lazaridis’ reputation in giving the school $20-million and the province matching it, I think it’s a really good story there,” said Kelly.

Kelly believes Lazaridis wants to see how companies grow with talent from Laurier’s management institute.

“We have a great startup culture here, but we’re not growing the companies, and I think [Lazaridis] realized that the management school here is the best in the country and his great part is a key piece in the puzzle,” said Kelly.

The school, known as Lazaridis Institute for the Management of Technology Enterprises, will provide management education and training for executives in the technology sector to help build their skills and to expand their companies.

Kelly predicts the institution will start to launch this fall.

“We have a little bit of work to do in terms of staffing it, but we’re already doing some work on the curriculum side of the [master of business and administration] program and we’ll see some curriculum work for the [bachelor of business and administration] in the next year.”

Earlier this February at the University of Waterloo, the board of governors approved a budget to expand study space for the faculty of arts in Hagey Hall.

Douglas Peers, the dean of arts at the University of Waterloo, explained the budget was approved because of support from students, faculty and alumni.

“It’s part of our strategic planning exercise which had started three years ago, we identified student space as one of the critical priorities for the faculty,” Peers continued.

“It’s open to any students in the area, but there’s just a real lack of both study space and social space at this end of the campus that we felt was a real important investment for us.”

Despite the investment into arts at the neighbour school, Kelly said it’s a good investment to put money into the BBA program.

“I think it’s going into the business school because we have one of the best business schools in the country here and people see it’s worth investing in it,” he said.

He also explained the business faculty has been working with the arts faculty on a direct entry option. First-year students with a certain grade point average can get into business through a management option.

“We’ve been doing a lot of work with the arts in the last little while to add some management education to their programming,” Kelly explained.

“By building a new building for business and mathematics, more space will be made available to arts and to other programs,” said Laurier president and vice-chancellor, Max Blouw.

According to Blouw, by relieving pressure in one part of the university, more space will be made available to other areas on campus.

“It will benefit both business and arts students, and also science students.”

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