HALIFAX — The Sobey family empire is donating $18 million to Saint Mary’s University — the single largest gift in the school’s history — aiming to boost business education in Atlantic Canada and position the Sobey School of Business to compete with the country’s top commerce faculties.
The donation from the Sobey family, The Sobey Foundation and Sobeys Inc. renews a long-standing philanthropic relationship between the Nova Scotia-based grocery giant and the Halifax university.
The money will go towards attracting top students to the school’s commerce program, expanding its faculty, and a new building dedicated to entrepreneurship and innovation.
Paul Sobey, Saint Mary’s outgoing chancellor and the former head of Empire Co. Ltd. — the Stellarton, N.S.-based parent company of Sobeys Inc. — says the investment “capitalizes on the spirit of entrepreneurship” at the university.
He says the donation will help Saint Mary’s develop the next generation of business leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs.
Saint Mary’s President Robert Summerby-Murray says the donation will allow the university to aim higher, positioning the Sobey School of Business at a national level.
He says the donation will help attract “the brightest and best students and faculty” and ensure the university is delivering top quality business, entrepreneurship and innovation education and leadership skills.
The university plans to introduce a new Sobey Innovators Scholarship Program, which will support 150 students over 10 years.
Saint Mary’s will also grow its business faculty with two new endowed chairs, five professorships and two new post-doctoral fellows.
The donation will also be used towards capital investments, with a new a 43,000-square-foot expansion to the Sobey School of Business building.
The new Sobeys Entrepreneurship and Innovation Hub, which will be named in recognition of the company’s gift, will be dedicated to entrepreneurship and research innovation.
The Canadian Press