The Bader International Study Centre at Herstmonceux Castle is a legacy made possible by the generosity of one of Queen’s University’s alumni, Dr. Alfred Bader, and his wife Dr Isabel Bader.
As a Jewish teenager escaping the Nazis, Dr. Alfred Bader fled to England in 1938, from where he was sent to an internment camp near Montreal, Quebec. There, the young Austrian native continued his studies and, once released, applied to several well-known Canadian universities. Queen’s was the only one to offer him admission. “I was determined to do my best,” he later wrote. “Two years in the camp, education without distraction, followed by four years at Queen’s, was a great beginning for a successful life.”
After receiving undergraduate degrees in Engineering Chemistry and History, and a Masters degree in Chemistry at Queen’s, Dr. Bader went on to graduate studies at Harvard, formed his own international chemical company, and became a world-renowned philanthropist and art collector. Among his many gifts to Queen’s was Herstmonceux Castle.
The vision which underlies the Bader International Study Centre reflects the Baders’ commitment to offering students a challenging global education infused with social justice, a thirst for knowledge, and civic responsibility.
A self-made millionaire, Alfred Bader is a survivor, an astute businessman, a connoisseur and a scholar. It’s fitting that it was the Baders - unconventional, sometimes quirky benefactors with a love of the past - who were responsible for Queen’s acquisition of the 140 room, 15th century Herstmonceux Castle in England.
With typical modesty, Alfred Bader wrote in 1993: "Whenever I have contemplated any achievement in my life, I have marvelled how many and how diverse are the people who have made it possible, and where Herstmonceux is concerned, there were so many.”