The University of Guelph has received a $21-million donation to boost the global reputation and impact of its business school.
The gift – the largest-ever in University of Guelph history – is from longtime benefactors Stu and Kim Lang. In recognition, the College of Business and Economics has been renamed the Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics, which honours Stu Lang’s late father, a renowned Canadian business leader.
“This landmark gift adds further prestige to our business programs and will help raise the profile of the school and the University to new national and international audiences,” said U of G president Franco Vaccarino.
The gift is being made through the Langs’ Angel Gabriel Foundation, the latest of several recent major donations given to the University through the Foundation.
“The strong partnership between the University and Stu and Kim Lang reflects common values, including our shared commitment to sustainability and our focus on community,” Vaccarino said.
Stu Lang said his father’s lifelong family and business ethos was grounded in humility. Gordon Lang founded and ran CCL (Conn Chem Ltd.) based in Toronto, the company (originally Lang Lamps) begun by Stu’s grandfather, also named Stuart. Today the multibillion-dollar company employs more than 20,000 people in its 165 production facilities in 40 countries. The world’s largest label maker, CCL also manufactures numerous products from iPhone glass screens to most of the polymer currency in circulation today.
U of G’s focus on improving life and the business school’s strong sense of selfless work, leadership development, entrepreneurial spirit and community involvement would have resonated with his father, Stu Lang said.
Referring to graduates, Lang said, “What’s important is not how much money they make but what they accomplish. Did they make the world a better place to live? Hopefully we’re developing business leaders who can make tough decisions because they’re the right decisions.”
Stu and Kim Lang are longtime Guelph-area residents and friends of U of G. Stu Lang played professional football for eight years with the Edmonton Eskimos before joining the family business. He served as U of G’s head varsity football coach for six years, compiling the best winning percentage in University history, including capturing the Yates Cup in 2015. He is now a team adviser.
Kim Lang serves on the Ontario Veterinary College’s (OVC) Pet Trust board of directors and was formerly artistic director of the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival.
Their new $21-million gift follows more than $50-million worth of donations over the years to U of G, including funding for a sports pavilion, humanitarian scholarships and support for OVC facilities.
The business school has not only a new name and home on campus in the renovated Macdonald Hall but also substantial new resources and equally big prospects in everything from innovation and entrepreneurship to sports business.
“This gift recognizes our sincere commitment to producing a different kind of business leader – people who understand the power of ethical business to make a positive impact,” said business dean Julia Christensen Hughes.
The funding will help the school to further expand its already widespread sustainability initiatives and support numerous educational efforts, including new academic chairs, various undergraduate and graduate scholarships, and student experiential learning opportunities.
“This will give us resources to grow our reputation as a world-leading business school with elite international faculty,” said Christensen Hughes, adding that the school will now benefit from name recognition.
Lang believes that his father might have felt a bit embarrassed about the school’s new marquee. “But he would still have patted me on the back and said, ‘Well done, son.’”
- The Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics includes the John F. Wood Centre for Business and Student Enterprise; the International Institute for Sport Business and Leadership; the Centre for Marketing Analytics; and five academic units:
- Department of Economics and Finance
- Department of Management
- Department of Marketing and Consumer Studies
- School of Hospitality, Food and Tourism Management
- Executive Programs (MBA/MA Leadership)
- It offers M.Sc. programs in marketing and consumer studies, and tourism and hospitality; MA programs in economics, management and leadership; agribusiness; and PhD programs in economics and management.
- The school’s executive programs consist of three MBA streams and the MA Leadership, launched in 2004 and now U of G’s largest graduate program.
- Its faculty rank in the top four per cent in the world for research output in economics, according to Research Papers in Economics.
- U of G has been ranked among the top institutions worldwide for real estate research, according to a study in the Journal of Real Estate Literature.
- Faculty in the school include holders of a Canada Research Chair in risk management and regulation; University Research Chairs in consumer choice and econometrics; and college fellowships in human resource management, market dynamics, knowledge and risk, and commerce for a sustainable world.