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$10-million gift boosts Business School at TRU

Largest-ever donation in university history creates the Bob Gaglardi School of Business and Economics
bob gaglardi TRU-business-1 HORIZ
Bob Gaglardi speaks during the $10-million donation announcement at TRU on Feb. 17, 2022.

A record-setting donation to Thompson Rivers University will not only support students and research in the newly named Bob Gaglardi School of Business and Economics, but make the dream of a dedicated building for the school a reality.

The largest single donation ever made to Thompson Rivers University will build a new business school and support the students who study there.

Northland Properties founder Bob Gaglardi and his adult children, with support from the company, are donating $10 million toward a new building that will unite the faculty’s classes in one place (they are currently spread out in different buildings), as well as funding student awards and research.

To recognize the importance of this contribution, TRU offered to rename the business school in Gaglardi’s honour.

The Bob Gaglardi School of Business and Economics will stand for the qualities that Gaglardi himself values: hard work, innovative thinking, meeting challenges, personal integrity and strong ethics.

TRU president and vice-chancellor Brett Fairbairn noted this is the first faculty or school at TRU to be named after someone and the family’s donation is the largest single donation the university has received. It is, he said, transformative.

“It means new opportunities for students, support to finish their education, better facilities. It really is amazing what this will do,” Fairbairn said.

The donation creates spaces for exploration, collaboration and research where thousands of students from more than 100 countries put their minds toward becoming leaders and blazing their own trails.

A portion of the donation is also designated for student scholarships and bursaries and research awards.

“We’re thrilled because Bob Gaglardi represents or personifies the values that our school and our university have,” said Dr. Michael Henry, dean of the Bob Gaglardi School of Business and Economics.

“Having the Bob Gaglardi name on our school gives us a new kind of national recognition, an importance in this region. We’ll see a significant increase in our profile and that leads to more students, more faculty wanting to join us and more people in the business community and the community beyond Kamloops wanting to support what we’re doing and wanting to learn about what we’re doing.”

Gaglardi works out of his Northlands Properties office in Vancouver, but he grew up in Kamloops, the son of Jennie and Phil Gaglardi, both Pentecostal ministers and the latter being a well-known politician.

Gaglardi has built a hospitality and entertainment business that includes 63 hotels, 175 restaurants and three hockey teams, including the Kamloops Blazers. But his roots in the Kamloops run deep and he wants to make a difference in the community, just as his parents did.

“It's always going to be a special place for me and it's where I grew up and witnessed my mother and father doing great things for that community,” he said.

A positive attitude, discipline and determination to keep going even in the face of challenges have all been drivers of Gaglardi’s success. He wants TRU students to gain confidence in their own abilities.

“In my heart, I know I'm doing the right thing and that's all it matters,” Gaglardi said. “There are these students that are in business school at TRU. . . . this gift is providing them with a building and a place to congregate, collaborate, research.”