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Baders’ gift enhances art collection, Jewish Studies and teaching

[Isabel and Alfred Bader
Isabel and Alfred Bader, seen here at the grand opening of the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts in September, have donated $5.5 million to support an art collection, Jewish Studies and teaching at Queen's University. (University Communications)

Long-time Queen’s University benefactors Alfred and Isabel Bader have given $5.5 million to support an important international collection and expanding research and student interests.

The gift includes $3 million for the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, $1.5 million for the Jewish Studies program and $1 million for post-doctoral fellows in humanities departments.

“Students and faculty will see the immediate impact of these gifts through greater access to the knowledge afforded by the Jewish Studies program and the stunning Bader Collection in the art centre,” said Principal and Vice-Chancellor Daniel Woolf.

The $1.5 million gift to the Jewish Studies program will add teaching capacity to address growing interest among students. Courses in the program are full, with each large lecture, in all periods of Jewish history, attracting 130 students each term. Seminars are also in high demand.

The gift will fund a post-doctoral fellow in Jewish Studies who will teach a combination of lectures and seminars, offer public lectures and consult with students and faculty, and guest speak for other courses.

“Alfred Bader’s gift to Jewish Studies addresses the growing demand from our students of all backgrounds and ideologies to study together and learn from the diverse subjects in the program,” said Susan Mumm, Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science.

The $3 million gift supports a new Bader Legacy Fund endowment for the Bader Curator of European Art and the gallery’s care and interpretation of The Bader Collection.

The Bader Collection comprises of over 200 paintings spanning the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, with a focus on Dutch and Flemish paintings of the Baroque era, including two paintings by Rembrandt, which together reflect this master’s sphere of artistic influence.

“This endowment will have a transformative impact on the use and presence of The Bader Collection,” said Jan Allen, Director of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. “With these resources, we will be able to create new access to the Collection for all students and undertake ambitious programs.”

Alfred Bader, Sc’45, Arts’46, MSc’47, LLD’86, and Isabel Bader, LLD’07, are Queen’s most generous benefactors. They have given back to Queen’s in countless ways: transforming the campus, enriching the student experience, supporting scholarship, and helping to enhance the University’s reputation as a top-tier educational institution.

In an extraordinary philanthropic gesture, the couple funded Queen’s purchase of a 15th century English castle – Herstmonceux – that has been meticulously restored and is now home to the Bader International Study Centre. This fall, thanks to a transformational gift from the Baders, the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts was opened. Earlier this year, they received Queen’s highest honour given by the Queen’s University Alumni Association, the Alumni Achievement Award.