New horizons for the Smith School of Business

Engineering alumnus donates $50 million to the School of Business

The new name of the Smith School of Business was unveiled at Goodes Hall on Thursday morning.
Image by: Gillian Liu
The new name of the Smith School of Business was unveiled at Goodes Hall on Thursday morning.

Queen’s has announced that the School of Business will be renamed the Stephen J.R. Smith School of Business in recognition of the unprecedented $50 million donated by Stephen Smith.

Principal and Vice-Chancellor Daniel Woolf unveiled the name at a ceremony in Goodes Hall on Thursday.

“I am a historian … so I’m used to commenting on major events. But most of those [events] tend to be in the remote past. It’s rare, however, that I get to witness history in the making,” Principal Woolf said to the crowd.

“Today, [Stephen Smith] makes history with one of the most significant donations in Queen’s history and the largest effort to a Canadian business school in the amount of 50, that’s five zeroes, million dollars.”

Stephen Smith is the Chairman, CEO and co-founder of First National Financial Corporation, Canada’s largest non-bank lender towards residential and commercial mortgages.

“The school is very much in a position of strength. This just actually rocketed it from the stratosphere into space,” Woolf said, adding that the donation will not only benefit the Smith School of Business but also the University as a whole.

Principal Daniel Woolf (right) and Stephen Smith (left) unveiled the new name of the Smith School of Business at Goodes Hall on Thursday morning.


“As [a] single boat here rises, so does the whole fleet,” he said.

The donation was made as part of the University’s Initiative Campaign’s goal to raise $500 million to “ensure Queen’s future as a destination for exceptional people”, according to the University’s press release. Smith is part of the campaign’s cabinet.

Prior to the $50-million contribution, Smith’s philanthropic efforts with the Initiative Campaign included a donation of $4 million to the Stephen J.R. Smith Student Bursary and the funding of a Chair in Public Policy in the department of economics.

During his speech, Smith explained his rationale for choosing to donate to the School of Business.

“Although I studied engineering at Queen’s, my life has been devoted to finance and business,” he said.

“I believe the School of Business has the energy, and the strategy, to advance its international influence and recognition would prove good for all of Queen’s.”

Smith, a Queen’s alumnus, graduated in 1972 with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in electrical engineering. He also holds a Masters of Science in Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science.


QSSB’s very own, circa 1972 #queensu #QSB #QSSB #history

A photo posted by Studio Q (@studio.q) on Oct 1, 2015 at 9:02am PDT

“I see the endowment as a balance between attracting and retaining good faculty and good students,” Smith told The Journal after his speech.

Prior to the announcement, the School of Business had been running its own fundraising campaign. The campaign has so far raised $61 million of their $65-million goal, and has secured almost $2 million through paired donations the Dean’s Matching Fund. 

The Dean’s Matching fund matches contributions between $1,000 and $25,000 dollar for dollar.

Rector Mike Young, ConEd ’17, said he’s looking forward to seeing the new Stephen J.R. Smith School of Business.

“I’m really excited to see the new brand of the Smith School of Business take shape and to have a new generation of Smith Business School graduates,” Young said.



Today, thanks to a transformational gift, we are proudly the Stephen J.R. Smith School of Business at Queen’s University.

Posted by Smith School of Business at Queen’s University on Thursday, October 1, 2015


Commerce, Goodes Hall, Smith School of Business

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