Stu Clark, a class of 1976 University of Manitoba commerce grad, has made another huge gift to the Asper School of Business.
Clark, who made his fortune in the Alberta oil industry, has donated $10 million to the U of M’s Asper School of Business graduate school, upping his total contributions to the school to just shy of $20 million.
Clark’s generous gift — he refers to it as an investment — pushes the U of M’s Front and Centre capital campaign to $352 million. Its goal is $500 million and John Kearsey, the U of M’s vice-president of external relations, said the school could be in a position to wrap up the campaign next year. The campaign had originally sought to source $150 million from the provincial government, but those discussions have now been put on pause with the expected election blackout period.
The Asper School already has the Stu Clark Centre for Entrepreneurship and it will now also have the Stu Clark Graduate School.
Clark’s ongoing patronage of the school likely makes him the second-largest contributor to the campaign — next to the $30-million donation from the Rady family — which is the largest philanthropic campaign in the history of the province.
Clark was a partner in an Alberta oil and gas exploration company that was sold in the late ’90s, making a huge return. Since then he has been active in Alberta, helping to start several other enterprises.
With the help of his advocacy, all students at the Asper School will take at least a half-credit course in entrepreneurship starting this September, which is fitting, given Clark’s staunch support for the subject.
"In my own experience, I found my passion for entrepreneurship after I graduated," Clark said in an interview. "I had to learn at the school of hard knocks later. What better opportunity for students to learn something about starting and running a business than in the formal university setting. It should be a core course in my mind."
Gady Jacoby, the dean of the Asper School, said Clark’s latest donation is going to provide resources to significantly move the school ahead. The additional capital has already allowed the school to hire a full-time person from the careers development centre, specializing in the placement of students who have completed graduate studies.
He said the additional funds will mean more scholarships, more graduate fellowships and more faculty hires, as well as the development of new master’s programs in supply chain logistics, business analytics and innovation and entrepreneurship.
The Asper School is developing a name for research in the area of behavioural management, and has plans to hold an annual international conference on the field of study.
Jacoby said support from people like Clark makes the kind of resources available that are crucial to the faculty’s long-term success.
"This is really an investment," Jacoby said. "Stu is investing in our school. In terms of our reputation among scholars and our research reputation, over the next 10 years the Asper School is going to be a very different place globally."
Martin Cash has been writing a column and business news at the Free Press since 1989. Over those years he’s written through a number of business cycles and the rise and fall (and rise) in fortunes of many local businesses.