Chancellor Eileen Mercier donates $1.4 million


Screenshot of Eileen Mercier in a video for 2021 Laurier graduates.

Earlier in June, Wilfrid Laurier University announced in a news release that chancellor Eileen Mercier donated $1.4 million dollars to the university’s music program for the new Eileen Mercier Endowed Professorship in Voice and Choral Music Education.

The professorship will involve hiring a faculty member who will work with Voice and Choral Music students in the Faculty of Music. With her term ending on June 30, Mercier wished to make one final donation to round off her time at Laurier. The endowed professor- ship is estimated to begin searching for a candidate in September 2024.

“As my chancellor’s rule was coming to an end, I thought it’s time to make the one big gift,” said Mercier.

Mercier has been involved with the Laurier community since 1985, serving as chair from 1998 to 1990 and member of the Board of Governors until 1991. Following these contributions, Mercier became a member of the President’s Council of Advisors from 2010 to 2017 and obtained the role of chancellor in 2016.

“The donation itself is very generous, and university music faculties are continually under stress for funding,” said Kimberley Barber, associate dean external relations, partnerships and graduate studies for the faculty of music.

Barber holds a Bachelor of music and opera diploma from the University of Toronto and has been an instructor at Laurier since 2002. She is currently the opera program coordinator and will serve as a member of the hiring committee for the professorship.

“When it’s an important position like this, you want to get as wide of a reach as you possibly can,” said Barber. “We’re hoping to attract international applicants as well, but also the top applicants in Canada.”

Reminiscing on her conversation with Cynthia Johnson Turner, the dean of music, Mercier said she began by asking what the most beneficial contribution to the faculty of music would be. She explained that Turner wanted an endowed professorship and they came to an agreement on choosing a professorship that would be involved with choral music or voice, which was Mercier’s primary interest has been at Laurier.

This professorship follows Mercier’s many other contributions to Laurier during her time at the university, including three scholarships – the Eileen Mercier Arts Scholarship, Eileen Mercier Science Scholarship and Hamish P. Mercier Scholarship.

“The main thing is never give up. Never keep persevering. It’s very easy for the world to tell you no. But somewhere there’s a yes. Somewhere there’s an answer that’s going to be good for you and helpful for you,” said Mercier when asked to give advice to graduating students.

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