Beedies donate $22 million to SFU

Ryan and Keith Beedie have just donated $22 million to SFU
Ryan and Keith Beedie have just donated $22 million to SFU's newly named Beedie School of Business.
— image credit: Photo courtesy SFU

The Beedie family ethos "Give back. Pay it forward" was demonstrated in a major way last week when Burnaby's Ryan Beedie and his father Keith donated $22 million to Simon Fraser University.

The endowment—the largest gift the university has ever received—will establish the Beedie School of Business, formerly SFU business, and future scholarships.

Ryan, 42, received his bachelor of business administration from SFU in 1991 and is now president of real estate developer the Beedie Group—a company established by his father, 84, in 1954.

“What’s great about our donation is that it’s an investment in the future,” Ryan said in a press release. “The endowment will be there for generations to come, to give students the SFU education that I was fortunate to have had and to enable the university to attract the best teachers and researchers.”

Asked why they’re making the endowment now, Ryan stated that it’s critical his father be a part of the experience, asking “What better gift for a man who realizes the importance of education when he had none and can now make it accessible to others?”

The elder Beedie came of age during the Second World War, and like most of his compatriots, duty to country came ahead of school, inspiring him to leave high school after Grade 11 to enlist in the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Ryan was the first in his family to have a post-secondary education, having earned a master’s degree, and that’s something his father still believes to be one of his son’s greatest accomplishments.

It is the Beedies' intention to help SFU become “the best business school in the world.”

Daniel Shapiro, dean of the newly named Beedie School of Business, says the gift will help make the school a global thought leader in areas such as innovation and entrepreneurship, Asia Pacific business studies, risk management and sustainability.

“Receiving a gift of this magnitude is wonderful for the university,” said SFU president Andrew Petter, “but having it come from a former student makes it even more special. I can’t imagine a better way for Ryan and his father to recognize the value of education than to give back to the business school to build its program and make it more available to others. That speaks volumes.”

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