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$3.5-Million Gift to Economics

Fortune-building Ira Gluskin honours father, Max

Toronto investment manager Ira Gluskin and his wife, Maxine Granovsky-Gluskin, have honoured Ira’s father, Max, with a $3.5-million gift to the University of Toronto to help renovate and expand the economics building.

Max, 92, graduated from U of T’s commerce and finance program in 1936 and became a chartered accountant. Ira, who finished the same program in 1964 and is now one of Canada’s leading investment managers, says it was rare among his childhood peers to have a father who graduated from university. “I signed up for that program because it was the only thing I knew anything about,” says Gluskin, president and chief investment officer of Gluskin Sheff + Associates, a Toronto investment firm. “If he’d been an optometrist, or a brain surgeon, I’d have probably been that, too.”

Gluskin’s gift will enable the economics department to enhance an academic program that has grown significantly over the past decade. Since 1997, graduate student enrolment has increased 50 per cent, due partly to the launch of a master’s degree in financial economics, while undergraduate enrolment has grown 30 per cent. Renovation and expansion of the economics building is expected to begin this fall, with occupancy toward the end of 2007. The facility will be named Max Gluskin House, and will provide office, study and research space for all faculty and graduate students for the first time in the department’s history.

Gluskin hopes his gift will attract other donors. “I hope that this gift will encourage someone to make an even bigger donation to the university,” he says.

The 63-year-old philanthropist has a long involvement with U of T, having served as chairman of the University of Toronto Asset Management Corporation. In 2000, Gluskin and his wife donated $1 million to create the May Gluskin Chair in Canadian History, named for Gluskin’s late mother.

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