Members of a Toronto family known for their sound investment strategies have committed $15.1 million to the University of Toronto to support athletics, student life and Soldiers’ Tower.
Warren Goldring (BA 1949 UC, LLD 2003 Hon.), who founded AGF Management Limited, and his family have donated $11 million to the Varsity Centre – the largest individual gift ever made to athletics at a Canadian university. They have also given $4 million to Victoria University to upgrade and expand its student centre, and $100,000 to the restoration of Soldiers’ Tower, U of T’s memorial to students, graduates and faculty members who gave their lives during the First and Second World Wars.
The funds for Varsity will provide much-needed new resources for intramural and varsity athletics programs, and support the construction of the new Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport. The facility, to be built on the west side of Devonshire Place, will include a field house for basketball and volleyball, strength-training equipment, and state-of-the-art sports medicine and research labs. “It will be a full-service athletics research, teaching and performance centre,” says Bruce Kidd, dean of the Faculty of Physical Education and Health. The complex will help to ease congestion at the Athletic Centre at Harbord and Spadina, which was built almost 30 years ago and is “maxed out,” says Kidd.
At Victoria University, plans are underway to renovate and expand the student centre on Charles Street West near Queen’s Park to make more room for lounges and offices for clubs and other student groups. Jason Hunter, dean of students for Victoria University, says the Goldring Student Centre will provide all students, but especially those who commute to campus, with a venue to get involved in extracurricular activities. “We hope this will give commuter students a home on campus,” he says.
Warren, his son Blake Goldring (BA 1981 Victoria), chairman and CEO of AGF Management, and daughter Judy Goldring (BA 1988 Victoria), AGF’s general counsel and senior vice-president, law and corporate affairs, all believe in the importance of getting students to participate in the non-academic side of university life. “The best university experience should provide students with opportunities to meet and socialize, and pursue a lifestyle that encourages fitness and well-being as a means to supporting their academic pursuits,” says Blake.
Supporting Soldiers’ Tower was especially important to Blake, who serves as an honorary colonel of the Royal Regiment of Canada. “It’s essential that we maintain Soldiers’ Tower – not just as a memorial to the students and faculty who paid the ultimate sacrifice during the two world wars – but also to remind us of the many freedoms we enjoy today thanks to these fallen soldiers.”