The Wesley and Mary Nicol Charitable Foundation kicked off the campaign Thursday to fund a new building for Carleton University’s acclaimed Sprott School of Business with a gift of $10 million.
“The Sprott School needs a new home to build on its fine international reputation and foster tomorrow’s business and social leaders,” said Carleton President Roseann O’Reilly Runte.
“We are extremely grateful to Wes and Mary for their leadership, which will certainly inspire enthusiasm and investment from many more alumni and members of the Canadian business community.’’
Nicol graduated with a BA from Carleton in 1954 and was a longtime volunteer with Carleton’s Board of Governors. In recent years, he has focused his philanthropy on nurturing entrepreneurship across Canada. Earlier this year, he was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in recognition of this commitment.
At Carleton, his vision has included the establishment of the Nicol Entrepreneurial Award and the new Nicol Entrepreneurial Institute—an initiative he established with two gifts of $1 million each to nurture student entrepreneurship in all faculties. The new Carleton building, he believes, will contribute to an entrepreneurial culture on campus and teach a new generation of creative, dynamic business leaders.
“I was in the business of building homes,” said Nicol, who founded and led Tartan Homes, a leading Ottawa developer. “Homes enable co-operation and confidence, which in turn inspire bold ideas and brilliant thinking. Mary and I are proud to help build a home where Carleton’s business students can pursue their dreams and graduate with a degree from one of Canada’s best business schools.”
The Sprott School of Business, named in 2001 for Eric Sprott, BCom/65, has undergone tremendous growth over the last decade, to the point where it has outgrown its current facilities. A new building on campus will provide enhanced learning, networking and collaborative spaces for Sprott students, faculty and staff. A new facility will also permit the Sprott School to offer more executive and management training to business leaders. In 2013, the school received its international accreditation, a designation earned by less than five per cent of the world’s business programs.
“A new building will take the Sprott School to the next level, providing innovative learning environments and collaborative spaces that foster the creative, caring and connected spirit of our community,” said Jerry Tomberlin, dean of the Sprott School of Business. “It will offer the facilities to support our growth, and allow us to introduce new programs and initiatives that build upon the entrepreneurial culture of the Carleton community and the region.”
“Thanks to the vision and leadership of Wes and Mary Nicol, our dreams are closer to becoming a reality,” he said.
Planning for the new building is still in early stages. A site has not yet been selected, nor timelines set. A comprehensive plan with a budget will be developed prior to issuing a request for proposals from architects and developers. Carleton will launch a fundraising effort and engage all levels of government and other donors to secure sufficient financial support.
The Nicols hope their gift prompts other Carleton graduates, members of the business community and leaders to donate to the campaign.
“Carleton and the Sprott School are important parts of our community and our economy,” said Nicol. “A stronger business school means a stronger city. I encourage my peers, colleagues and classmates to help break the ground and build a brighter future for Ottawa.”
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