Castle undergoes name change

Queen's pays tribute to one of its most generous donors

Dr. Alfred Bader and his wife Isabel pose with a gift they received from Principal Tom Williams.
Dr. Alfred Bader and his wife Isabel pose with a gift they received from Principal Tom Williams.
Photo: 
Alfred Bader and his wife Isabel listen as the International Study Centre is officially renamed in Alfred Bader's honour.
Alfred Bader and his wife Isabel listen as the International Study Centre is officially renamed in Alfred Bader's honour.
Photo: 

HERSTMONCEUX, U.K. – Queen’s alumnus Alfred Bader celebrated his 85th birthday in the newly-renamed Bader International Study Centre on Wednesday.

The Board of Trustees voted unanimously in December to change the name of the International Study Centre in Herstmonceux to the Bader International Study Centre (BISC).

Bader, BSc ’45, BA ’46, MSc ’47, Honourary Doctor of Law ’85 and his wife Isabel flew to Herstmonceux Castle for a special ceremony.

David Bevan, BISC executive director, said the re-naming was an important thank you to one of Queen’s most generous alumni.

“He’s a wonderful fairy godfather who pops up when we suddenly seem to have a need,” he said.

Bader donated Herstmonceux Castle to Queen’s in 1994.

Bevan said the Baders regularly visit the castle to meet with students.

“The Baders come here without any formality or announcing and have lunch here,” he said. “They will give a talk whether it’s about art history or business, and then invite all sorts of questions so the students get a real chance to interact with them on any matter that they wish.”

Originally from Austria, Bader arrived in Canada as a prisoner of war during the Second World War.

When he was released from an internment camp near Lake Champlain in 1941, he attempted to enrol at McGill University and the University of Toronto, but was rejected on the grounds that they had already filled their Jewish quota.

Queen’s, however, accepted him and, at 17, Bader enrolled in an engineering chemistry program.

“Queen’s is a wonderful school,” said Bader, who wore a personalized Queen’s jersey with the number 85 to the ceremony.

He said he remembers the University as the first place to truly accept him in Canada.

“I’ve been trying to say ‘thank you’ to Queen’s ever since 1948,” he said.

Although the renaming is an honour, it was unnecessary, he said.

“When I was asked whether I would approve [the change], I called David Bevan to see whether it wouldn’t make things much more difficult to rename everything,” he said. “I’m not after honours.”

–With files from Amrit Ahluwalia

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.