$5 Million PCS Gift Signals New Era for College of Commerce

By Tom Bowman

March 31, 1995, marked a turning point for the College of Commerce. At the ceremonies held to launch the First and Best national campaign, Charles E. (Chuck) Childers, Chairman, President and CEO of Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc., handed Dean John Brennan a cheque for $1 million - the first installment of a total $5 million donation to the campaign, and, specifically, to the College.

This is the largest single gift in the history of the University, and probably the largest to a university in western Canada in recent years. What brought it about?

Proud to be a Saskatchewan Company "We are a Saskatchewan corporation and proud to be a Saskatchewan corporation," Childers says. "If we make a major donation, we want to help the people of Saskatchewan. We especially want to help the youth of our province. The youth are the future." The First and Best campaign presented a perfect opportunity for such help.

"Dr. Ivany and Dr. Brennan and [campaign co-chairs] Ted Turner and Scotty Cameron came along and explained what they wanted to do. We'd been impressed with the fact that the University had been trying, fairly successfully, to reduce their costs. They increased their tuition and reduced their spending. They were working hard to try and get down within the budget, and we felt this was just something that was very worthy of a major donation on our part."

Expanded Commerce Building To Be Named PCS Place

The donation certainly will be put to good use. Eighty per cent will be used to add approximately 1,600 square metres to the College's teaching facilities, and the entire Commerce complex will then be renamed PCS Place. The remaining 20 per cent will go toward a permanent endowment for a professorship that will focus on the quality of the College's programming and teaching.

"I think it will be a new era in the life of the College," says Dean Brennan. "The improvement of the teaching facility will be very, very important to us. The professorship is another benefit."

"But I think the real impact comes from the vote of confidence from a very successful enterprise committing $5 million to the business school. It's an indication that this is something that's worthy of a major commitment. Clearly now we are among the best business schools, certainly in this country, with respect to the support that's being given by the business community."

A New Partnership with Business

One of the opportunities is tailor-made for the College of Commerce, and that's a new kind of partnership with business. "As an example, I'm just preparing a course in which PCS as an organization will be a partner. We'll be using the link not only as a source of money, but as a source of expertise and knowledge about business and management that can be incorporated into what we do in terms of teaching students. It's an opportunity to bring practising members of the business community into our environment, to get them to understand what we're doing, but also to have them directly involved to the benefit of the student. And I think it's certainly to the credit of people like Chuck Childers and all the people at PCS."