University of Toronto Magazine University of Toronto Magazine

Hal Jackman Doubles Gift to the Humanities

Largest commitment ever by an individual to the humanities at a Canadian university

A new $15-million gift by the Honourable Henry N. R. Jackman will double a commitment he made five years ago to the humanities at the University of Toronto. The $30-million total donation is the largest gift to the humanities from an individual that has ever been made to a Canadian university. Double matched by the university, it effectively triggers a $90.5-million increase in investment in U of T’s humanities departments.

“What is perhaps more significant than my gift is the fact that the university is allocating over $60 million in additional funding. This funding will help establish a level of excellence that would not otherwise be possible,” says Jackman (BA 1953 Victoria, LLB 1956). “A further motivation is the strong commitment to the humanities of my family. My wife, Maruja, taught humanities at both the University of Toronto and York University. All my five children have post-graduate degrees in the humanities and two of them teach humanities at universities.”

Maruja Jackman (BA 1959 Trinity, MA 1963) says the humanities are crucial to a comprehensive education because they shape how people engage as citizens. “By examining the cultural, historical, philosophical and creative dimensions of human experience, the humanities help us to understand better the diversity and complexity of our world.” In 2002, the Jackmans donated $15 million to the humanities, which was double-matched by the university to create a $45-million endowment to support academic chairs, graduate scholarships, faculty research fellowships and a program for the arts. The new gift is similarly matched.

Part of the new gift will establish the Jackman Humanities Building, through extensive renovation of the Medical Arts Building. Located on the northwest corner of St. George Street and Bloor Street West, the art deco building will house some of the university’s key humanities departments and centres. Another portion of the funds will create the Jackman Humanities Institute, providing it with the equivalent of a $22-million endowment. This endowment will strengthen U of T’s ability to recruit top graduate students in the humanities by setting up a graduate fellowship fund. It will also support research and teaching at the Jackman Humanities Institute.

“The humanities are – and have always been – central to U of T’s mission of teaching and research excellence,” says David Naylor, president of the University of Toronto. “We are grateful to the Honourable and Mrs. Jackman for their vision and their generosity.” Jackman, who served as chancellor of the University of Toronto from 1997 to 2003, is a former lieutenant-governor of Ontario and the honorary chairman of E-L Financial Corporation Ltd. He is chairman of The Hal Jackman Foundation and the J.P. Bickell Foundation.

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