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Alumnus David Scrymgeour inspires the next generation of innovative leaders

david scrymgeour

David Scrymgeour

If there’s one thing that David Scrymgeour knows about, it’s leadership. The successful entrepreneur has been a consultant to an array of corporate and community organizations — MaRS Discovery District, One Laptop Per Child Canada, Belinda Stronach Foundation and the Make Poverty History Campaign, to name a few. He once served as National Director of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada and advisor to the Green Party of Ontario and has delivered election readiness training in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia. And he’s currently the Executive-in-Residence for the Rotman Commerce program.

So it made perfect sense when he established the Scrymgeour Scholarship in Entrepreneurial Management two years ago. But then in April of this year, he took the concept of philanthropic leadership a step further.

With a generous $1.5-million gift, he endowed the Building Canadian Leaders Matching Scholarship Program. Under this program, donations of $25,000 or more to establish endowed scholarships at Rotman Commerce will receive a dollar-for-dollar match.

“We are proud of the achievements of our students, both in the classroom and in other areas of their lives as they excel as scholars, student leaders, athletes, musicians, mentors and community volunteers. This initiative will play a vital role in attracting the brightest and most engaged students from across Canada, enhancing the quality of our program and the value of the U of T BCom degree at a critical time when other universities are able to offer more substantial entrance scholarships,” says Ken Corts, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education and Director of Rotman Commerce.

The new scholarships will be awarded on the basis of academic achievement, in combination with involvement in sports and other extracurricular activities, community engagement and leadership potential, with preferred enrolment in the management and the finance and economics specialist streams.

“As a U of T Commerce graduate, I have always looked forward to one day returning to the university to reinvest in the program,” says Scrymgeour. “I was so delighted with the result of the first scholarship that I set up that I wanted to expand with a matching fund to encourage others wishing to create their own endowments.”

In essence, Scrymgeour wants to inspire other donors — individuals and corporations — to support outstanding students with strong leadership potential who will go on to become innovative leaders and engaged citizens who contribute to the success of organizations and the betterment of communities in Canada and around the world.

“I’m a strong believer that undergraduate commerce is one of the best foundations upon which to build an entrepreneurial career,” he says. “Every successful Rotman Commerce applicant has incredible academic potential, so the goal of these awards is to go beyond that to seek out and reinforce students who demonstrate a strong and ongoing commitment to community — those who actively engage in sports, culture and broad social issues, and those looking to develop the interpersonal and organizational skills required to become leaders of Canadian institutions of all types, sizes and missions. As someone whose journey has happily crossed paths with many successful builders in all sectors of society, I know it is the well-rounded and broadly interested individual who makes the biggest difference.”

For more information on the Building Canadian Leaders Matching Scholarship Program, please contact Jacob Wesolowski at 416-978-2722 or