Laurier names school of business and economics after Mike Lazaridis


Photo by Andreas Patsiaouros
Photo by Andreas Patsiaouros

Wilfrid Laurier University announced Tuesday morning at a press conference the school of business and economics will be named after entrepreneur and philanthropist Mike Lazaridis.

Lazaridis recently contributed a $20-million donation to Laurier’s business school. Along with $15-million from the Ontario government, this money will help create a management institute within the school.

Lazaridis is known for being an integral part of the BlackBerry business both in the creation of the BlackBerry smartphone and reshaping mobile communications.

He told The Cord he was emotional to find out Laurier was naming their new building in his honour.

“I’ve known about it for a little while, but it still was both a pleasant surprise and a humbling moment,” Lazaridis said.

“We’re trying to prepare for the kind of skills that are going to be necessary for the region and in Ontario to take all this start-up activity, and it’s just incredible start-up activity that is happening, and help it achieve the kind of success that it’s capable of going to medium-sized and large-scale corporations.”

Rob Donaldson, vice-president of development of alumni relations was the MC of the press conference.

“[Lazaridis’] support today will have a transformative impact on our university, especially in our commitment to business management education,” Donaldson said during the announcement.

Max Blouw, president and vice-chancellor of Laurier, told students, faculty, community members and staff in attendance the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics building is not only in its final phases of construction but will also help create the Lazaridis Insitute for the Management Technology Enterprises.

“This institute will give our province and our nation highly skilled and confident business managers ready to drive new technology companies to sustained global success,” said Blouw. “Their leadership in the business community will be a vital factor in Ontario and Canada’s future economic strength.”

Blouw said Lazaridis’ investment to Laurier, in addition to the contribution made by the province of Ontario, represents the largest recorded public-private investment ever made to a Canadian business school.

“Our goal is clear, and it’s ambitious: we aspire to become a national centre of excellence in business education and Canada’s best business school.”

The Lazaridis School of Business and Economics will be housed in what will now be known as Lazaridis Hall.

Micheal Kelly, dean of the school of business and economics, believes the building and the new name will make people more aware of Laurier’s exceptional business school.

“I think there was a halo effect for all of Laurier from this kind of publicity so I think there’s a tremendous opportunity for the entire university,” said Kelly.

Both Kelly and Lazaridis have no doubt the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics will be a great place for students to be educated when completed.

“I’m sure [the Laurier community] will be very proud of it — it’s a very impressive and bold statement,” Lazaridis concluded.

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