Rye scores $20-million worth of private cash

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By Steve Wicary

Ryerson banked more than $20-million in donations this summer, unofficially kicking off the university’s largest fundraising campaign.

While a target for the campaign won’t be set until it’s launched sometime next year, Gordon Cressy, Ryerson’s v.p. university advancement and the person leading the drive for cash, said he hopes to raise about $100-million over the next five years.

“We’ll launch some time next year,” he said, “but we’re out there already looking for money and people know it.”

The campaign plan will not be announced until donations reach at least $50-million, Cressy said.

Media moguls such as Ted Rogers, retailers such as the Bay, Sears, Wal-Mart and Loblaws, and printing companies such as Fuji Graphic Systems and St. Joseph Printing have all given money this summer.

The funds will go toward improving programs and establishing new ones.

Fundraising has become a high-profile and fiercely competitive task in the city as universities extend their palms to the private sector.

“Those initial gifts indicate to me that Ryerson is now a serious player in Toronto,” Cressy said.

The university of Toronto’s current fundraising campaign has garnered more than $600-million, while York University collected $108-million in a campaign that wrapped up in December, 1998. The University of Guelph and the University of Western Ontario are also soliciting gifts from the Toronto area.

To separate Ryerson from the competition, Cressy said he will sell the applied nature of the school’s programs and high job-placement rates for graduates.

He is considering three tag lines for the campaign: “A university like no other,” “education that works” and “succeed in the real world.”

Of the $100-million Ryerson hopes to raise, $32-million is required for three new buildings on campus, all part of the province’s SuperBuild project.

Some of the donors who dug into their pockets for Ryerson over the summer 

  • The Bay, Sears, Wal-Mart and Loblaws gave $1-million each in June to support the school of retail management.
  • Cable TV baron Ted Rogers handed over $10-million to go toward graduate programs in communications.
  • CTV donated $2.5-million for a research chair in communications, but the gift needs to be approved by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.
  • The Canadian Auto Workers union donated $1-million to establish a research chair for social justice studies

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