Great Moments In Queen’s Philanthropic History

Grant Hall

Donations to Queen’s have had a transformative impact on the university over the past 174 years. From supporting thousands of students through awards and bursaries, to alumni who came forward when the university faced financial hardship – philanthropy at Queen’s has always been an important part of Queen’s history.

To the many alumni and friends of Queen’s who have supported the university over the past 174 years and continue to do so – thank you! Your philanthropic support continues to make a difference in student learning, research and the infrastructure that makes Queen’s a leading intuition.

In honour of National Philanthropy Day, here are a few great moments in Queen’s philanthropic history.

Supporting thousands of students 
In 1999, Grant Bishop, Sc’04, Artsci’07, was able to pack his bags and move to Queen’s – the only university he wanted to attend – after receiving the Robert and Eva (Bertram) Cole Bursary. Grant flourished at Queen’s, motivated by this bursary and the duty he felt to pay it forward. He became heavily invested in campus life. Aside writing for the Queen’s Journal and Golden Words, he served as Engineering Society President, a Don in Morris Hall and was elected Rector. His success didn’t stop upon graduating with distinction. He attained both a Master’s degree in economics and a law degree. Over the years he has worked/articled/done research for the World Bank, Bank of Canada, C.D. Howe Institute, and Toronto Dominion Bank. Moving to Calgary in January 2016 to start with a global management consulting firm, Grant is on his way to a successful career in business. 
Thank you to our donors who – over the years – have helped support hundreds of Queen’s students like Grant.

Students rally to build a Queen’s icon 
The philanthropy of Queen’s students helped finance one of Queen’s most iconic buildings – Grant Hall. The building was to be called Frontenac Hall and funded by Frontenac City Council until citizens voted against the proposal leaving the future of the building in question. Queen’s students rose to the challenge and helped raise $35,000 over the winter of 1901-02. 
Their fundraising efforts secured the future of Grant Hall, which was named after former principal George Munro Grant, and opened in 1905.


Robert Sutherland saves Queen’s
In the 1870s, an international financial crisis and bank collapse resulted in Queen’s losing most of its endowment. The school was in financial trouble and there was the possibility it would be annexed by the University of Toronto. Queen’s was saved by a gift from alumnus Robert Sutherland (Arts 1852) who donated his $12,000 estate after he passed away in 1878. At the time, it was the largest donation ever received by Queen’s. Sutherland graduated in 1852 with honours and went on the become British North America’s first African American lawyer. He often said Queen's was a place where “he had always been treated as a gentleman.”

Queen's gets a castle: A gift for international study 
When Herstmonceux Castle was built in the 15th Century by Roger Fiennes (treasurer of the Household of King Henry VI), it was the largest private home in England. Ownership changed many times over the centuries until it was purchased by alumnus Alfred Bader in 1993 who donated it to Queen’s. The Bader International Study Centre was launched in 1994.
Over the past two decades, the historic and beautiful campus in East Sussex, U.K., has been home to students from around the world.

Supporting research that changed our understanding of the world 
It was a historic day on Oct. 6, 2015 when Queen’s professor emeritus Art McDonald was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his groundbreaking research done at SNOLAB. Philanthropic support has been influential to Prof. McDonald over the years, especially the Gordon and Patricia Gray Chair in Particle Astrophysics. 
“The Gray Chair has been of tremendous value to me in pursuing my research program at SNOLAB and I am very grateful,” says Prof. McDonald.

This is just a short list of the many who have supported Queen’s through their philanthropic efforts. To read more about the benefactors who are unleashing the power of our thinkers and doers, visit the Initiative Campaign website.