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U of C to launch Hunter Hub following $40-million donation

By Saima Asad, May 31 2017 —

The University of Calgary received a donation from the Hunter Family Foundation on May 31 amounting to $40 million over 12 years. This year, the family will donate roughly $4.5 million. The money will go towards the creation of the Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking.

U of C president Elizabeth Cannon announced the donation at an event in the Taylor Institute of Teaching and Learning.

“You know it’s special because when the president wears red, it’s a big day on campus,” Cannon said in her opening address.

Cannon said the donation will advance the U of C’s Eyes High goals by ensuring that students are immersed in innovative thinking.

“As part of our $1.3-billion energize [Eyes High] campaign, we identified entrepreneurial thinking as $100 million towards that ambitious goal,” she said.

This marks the second time the family has made a major donation to the U of C. The Hunters made a $5-million gift in 2012, which led to the development of the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

The family chose to donate to the U of C because of their relation to the school and city. Both Diane and Derrick Hunter are U of C alumni, and the family has been in Calgary for roughly 120 years.

While the previous donation contributed specifically to the Haskayne School of Business, the Hunters said this donation will affect all faculties.

“I want students in all faculties to have access to the strategies of entrepreneurial thinking. We need to encourage the cross-pollination of ideas from a mix of faculties, backgrounds and experiences,” Diane said. “We want to give these young generators and young creators a leg up to find the partnership the support the information they need to develop their ideas.”

Derrick Hunter said he hopes the gift will foster innovative thinking in U of C students.

“Often it seems that by the time we get to be young adults our creativity and our thirst for innovation leaves us. Perhaps it’s educated out of us and that’s what we want to change,” he said.

The Hunter Hub’s physical space will start within the U of C Bookstore and will grow over the donation’s 12 years.

“The Hunter Hub will be a hub,” Cannon said. “It will be a gathering place. It will ensure that we provide an opportunity for the collision of people and ideas.”

Cannon closed the ceremony by giving the Hunter family a piece of U of C history. The bronze sign under the red arch that marks the entrance to the U of C was replaced and dismantled a few years ago. Each of the letters were separated.

“We give out a letter on certain special occasions,” Cannon said. “I’m delighted to give out from ‘The University of Calgary’ the letter ‘H’ for the Hunter family.”

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