Simon Fraser University (SFU) business students will finally have a high-profile name associated with their school.
Beedie Group president Ryan Beedie and his father, founder Keith Beedie are donating $22 million to SFU to establish the Beedie School of Business.
“We spent some time with the students after the media event,” Ryan Beedie told Business in Vancouver late in the afternoon on February 9.
“One student told my wife, ‘This is great because, when we go to competitions with different schools, people make fun of us because our school doesn’t have a name attached to it.”
About 40% of the donation will go to establish an endowment that’s going to generate income for scholarships and bursaries and to attract the best students to SFU. The rest will be used for Asia Pacific studies, entrepreneurship, sustainability and other programs.
Beedie, who grew up in Burnaby and attended SFU in the late 1980s and early 1990s, called the arrangement a perfect marriage.
“I thought about this a long time ago to be honest with you,” he said. “When we started doing some scholarships and bursaries a few years ago, I thought, I’d like to do something more substantial.”
Beedie said both his father and friend, developer Joe Segal, also inspired him to want to give back to the community.
So did a magazine article in a business publication a couple of years ago.
It noted how family business owners could step up and give back to society more.
“I thought, they’re right. It planted a seed,” Beedie said. “Now I pinch myself and, ‘Holy cow. How awesome is it to be able to do this? We’re so thrilled.”
Does he fear that the large donation alerts people to his family’s wealth and that it will prompt a flurry of donation requests from various charities?
“I think when you try to buy a hockey team, they can figure that you have some means,” Beedie said, referring to his unsuccessful attempt to buy the Vancouver Canucks.
“If that’s the only negative that comes from the donation, that’s pretty darn good. People can approach us. I love giving back.”