Big bucks for business
by Bryan Weismiller
Isn’t it nice when the bank gives you money? No, a bank error wasn’t made in Mount Royal University’s favour, and unlike recipients of the stingy Monopoly card, the school received significantly more than $200 from the proverbial Community Chest.
A large crowd gathered in the Bissett School of Business on Sept. 14 as the TD Bank Financial Group presented MRU with a cheque for $500,000. It was the largest donation from a financial institution that Mount Royal has received since being named a university last September.
“One hundred years ago Mount Royal started as a small, private Methodist college. It funded a lot of its programs with a collection plate,” said Mount Royal University president Dave Marshall, addressing the crowd. “We’re coming full circle at Mount Royal. Now we’re recognized as being the truly outstanding institution that we wanted to be, the one that guarantees our students’ success with partnership from the private sector.”
According to a Statistics Canada report released in mid- September, the average yearly cost of tuition is around $5,318.
Fourth-year students in the bachelor of business administration who have declared financial services as their minor may be able to offset their tuition costs slightly by applying for scholarships funded with the TD Bank Financial Group donation. Part of the donation will be put into an endowment fund, which means that the initial contribution will generate interest for many years to come. Universities benefit from this type of account because they don’t require the full amount at once, and more scholarships can be given out over a longer period of time. Marshall said that Mount Royal’s new status as a university has affected the school’s relationship with private sector donors.
“It does change the relationship now, especially with places like banks, but they’ve been absolutely wonderful,” he said. “They’ve accepted us fully into the ‘university club.’ Our challenge now is not to be in the club, but to cement our reputation as that very different university in the club.”
Frank McKenna, deputy chairman for TD, said that the donation was “validation and recognition of the fact that Mount Royal is now a legitimate, mainstream university.” “It’s just a different dynamic now, funding a university degree in business. We were supportive of them before. We used many of the students before, but now there’s a new status here. We want to be part of their growth.”
Marshall is part of Changing the Face of Education, a centennial fundraising campaign. The campaign is MRU’s largest, “Over the next year we’ll be really active in the community to follow up from this particular event,” said Marshall.