Brandon University should make more of an effort to recognize the substantial financial contributions made by Joseph Robertson, who was a 1939 Brandon College alumnus and a long-standing supporter of the institution.
As you can read in today’s Sun, a group of BU alumni are questioning why nothing on the campus bears Robertson’s name, even though he gifted $500,000 to the university in 2007, and gave more than $4 million to the institution upon his death — a substantial sum by any measure.
These are on top of other significant donations to the BU Foundation that Robertson had made in the past.
“It seems rather unethical that they have not formally acknowledged the $5-million donation,” said alumnus Mike Yakimishyn, who is part of the group calling itself the Apostles.
There seems to be a belief by the current university administration that both of these donations had not been earmarked for any specific project, and that it was up to the university to determine the best use of the funds.
But articles published by the Sun in 2008 suggest otherwise. In January 2008, the university announced that $500,000 had been donated to Brandon University’s fitness facility project, a fact backed up the university’s 2008 annual report.
BU vice-president of administration and finance Scott Lamont maintains this particular donation was “undesignated,” and that the university itself decided to earmark it for the Healthy Living Centre.
Earlier this year, the university announced the naming of Richardson Gymnasium following what it called “the largest single private donation to-date to the Healthy Living Centre” from the Richardson Foundation. But this is only accurate if Robertson’s donations are considered undesignated.
Whatever the case, in our opinion it really doesn’t matter that the HLC’s gym bears the name Richardson, not Robertson — the Richardsons’ healthy donation is also praiseworthy and deserves recognition.
The fact remains that Mr. Robertson was responsible for the largest private donation ever given to Brandon University, and the institution should take steps to recognize their largest benefactor.