Laurier’s faculty of music receives four million dollar donation

Photo by Darien Funk

Laurier’s Faculty of Music has been given a donation that is getting them closer to their goal of $14 million in the Making Space for Music campaign, created to revamp their facilities for students.

The Savvas Chamberlain Family Foundation pledged $4 million to the campaign, bringing the campaign’s total to $9 million – only $5 million away from their goal to expand the music building, needed with the growing student population. The foundation’s generosity is earning them the honour of having the new building named the “Savvas Chamberlain Music Building.”

“Usually, donations of this magnitude are the result of discussions over a long period of time — that’s exactly what happened in this instance. What we look for, of course, is the ideal match between a potential donor and a project,” said Glen Carruthers, dean of the faculty of music.

“Considering a contribution that is as large and as transformative as this, they want to know as much about the project as they possibly can, so there were considerable discussions about it: the timelines, the objectives and there was also an agreement that we would reach agreement by the end of the year and they were happily able to do that.”

Sustaining a long friendship with Laurier seeing engagement and philanthropy, Savvas Chamberlain is a member of the Laurier Board of Governors while his wife, Christine, is alumna of the bachelor of music program.

“The understanding is that we will put the shovel in the ground when we reach about $11 million; the university would front us the money for the remainder of the project and we would continue fundraising to get to that $14 million, but we don’t need to raise the entire amount,” Carruthers said.

“Realistically, as of today, we have about $2 million to raise before construction will start, but the architects have been re-engaged, [and] there’s much going on behind the scenes so that once we hit that goal we will be ready to start construction.”

Earlier in the year, the Faculty of Music had a day of giving where students had impromptu performances on campus to raise donations for the campaign as well as awareness for it.

“What a gift of this magnitude does is that it’s a tremendous affirmation of the quality of the program. For someone to make this kind of donation, they need to be absolutely confident that we are indeed a sector-leading program in the field of post-secondary music,” Carruthers said.

“It’s an affirmation for the students that they’re in the right place at the right time. I will admit there’s a tiny bit of trepidation of how we’re going to accommodate continuing classes and so forth once construction continues, but we’re now discussing how that might work.”

Though extremely well-positioned with the donation, the Making Space for Music campaign still has fundraising to do in order to reach their final goal of creating a space with state-of-the-art classrooms and rehearsal space for increased opportunities in music at Laurier.

“I’m very grateful, I think we’re all very grateful to the donor, it’s very appreciated,” Carruthers said.

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