Queen’s mourns loss of Dr. Alfred Bader

Distinguished alum gave more than 70 years, and over $200 million in support of Queen’s 

Dr. Alfred Bader, (1924-2018).
Credit: 
Photo by Queen's Communications
This story's subheading was updated on January 11 to reflect the Advancement Office's estimation Bader's donations were valued in excess of $200 million.
 
On Dec. 23, the Queen’s community received the news that distinguished alumnus Dr. Alfred Bader had passed away that day. He was 94. 
 
Bader’s legacy at the university aside from his academic distinctions—Sci ’45 and ’46, MSc ’47, LLD ’86—transcended campus. He altered the fabric of the university experience through his contributions, and the lives of subsequent graduates. 
 
Together with his wife, Isabel the couple generously sponsored Jewish studies and the arts on campus, as well as the Bader International Student Centre (BISC) in England, the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, and funding to the Agnes Etherington Art Centre.
 
In 2005, Bader offered more than $10 million to the University for the construction of the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, later increasing the total donation to $22 million. According to a 2014 Journal article, Bader believed that the campus was lacking a “great theatre” with a performing arts centre and musical hall.
 
“Dr. Bader has ensured that generations of young people will have the opportunity to experience the most remarkable art and music that has been created,” Director of the Isabel Bader Centre, Tricia Baldwin, said in a statement to The Journal. 
 
In 2015, the Baders commissioned a $5.5 million donation to the university: $3 million was to be allocated to the Agnes, $1.5 million to the Jewish Studies program, and the final million to post-doctoral fellows in the humanities department. 
 
Three years later, the Agnes and Isabel centres were gifted another million from the couple.
 
“Alfred Bader’s astonishing legacy through The Bader Collection of European Art will continue to be central to our work,” Agnes Director Jan Allen told The Journal in a statement. “On a more personal level, Dr. Bader is fondly remembered as a passionate lover of art and a researcher driven by an adventurous sense of curiosity.”
 
Bader found the motivation to give to others through his love and commitment to the university experience that welcomed him when he first began his Queen’s journey in 1941. 
 
In 1940, as students and Queen’s alumni continued their fight in the Second World War overseas, Bader was deported from Austria to Canada, where he was detained in an internment camp alongside other German-speaking refugees. It was his welcome to the country which would later host his exemplary educational career in the coming years. 
 
Following his release from internment, he studied chemistry at Queen’s, then art, before later completing his Doctorate in Law. He’d go on to study at Harvard and publish popular papers that ultimately highlighted his success and commitment to his original studies in chemistry.  
 
Since earning his academic distinctions, Bader’s been honoured by the University for his contributions as a benefactor, receiving the Alumni Achievement Award by the Queen’s Alumni Association—the University’s highest honour. 
 
“His own route to Queen’s as a refugee inspired him to do what he could to help others,” wrote Tom Harris, interim provost and vice-principal (academic), in a statement to The Journal. 
 
In 2013, Bader formalized his gratitude to the Queen’s Principal who acted during his first term at the University in the ’40s, Robert Charles Wallace, in the Principal Wallace Freedom of Opportunity Award. It’s awarded annually to international students entering a first-year entry undergraduate degree program, with preference given to refugee students. 
 
Bader’s legacy lives on through his wife, children, and his generous contributions to the Queen’s community—in the form of scholarships, awards, and funds that have impacted all corners of the university experience. 
 
“Alfred Bader’s legacy at Queen’s University will endure in the many people whose lives he touched,” Principal Woolf wrote in a statement released on Christmas Eve. “It will live on in future generations who will be enriched by his profound love for his university.” 
 
In 1993, The Journal cited a Whig-Standard interview where Bader gave his rationale for contributing the Herstmonceux Castle, the location of the BISC, to the University. 
 
“My heart is at Queen’s,” he said. 
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