by Amanda-Marie Quintino
The Centre for Computing and Engineering has a new name, but Ryerson has settled on only one third of the asking price for the building’s naming rights.
George Vari, a Hungarian knight, donated $5-million to establish the building in his name.
Initially, Ryerson’s asking price was $15 million. Last fall, the university reduced the cost of naming to $10 million, since there was little interest from sponsors. Yet Vari, a philanthropist and international developer, managed to acquire the rights to the name at a further discounted price.
But Stalin Boctor, dean of engineering and applied sciences, is pleased with the donation
. “Of course we would have liked to get (more money),” he said. “But there were no takers.”
According to Dan Lang, professor of finance at the University of Toronto, Ryerson should appreciate the donation, even if it is significantly less than what was expected.
“The fact that Ryerson raised any sort of money for a building that’s already built is quite an achievement,” he said. “Canadian donors have never been particularly interested in bricks and borders. In the public’s eye, giving money to colleges and universities is the government’s job.”
Lang said that attracting corporate interest would have been easier if Ryerson had sold the naming rights before the building was built.
“Raising money for something that is already built is probably the hardest thing to do in fundraising, because if people are investing in something, they usually want to be involved in the whole process.”
Ryerson President Sheldon Levy said he is pleased a campus building is named after someone who is passionate about education.
“George Vari is a great engineer from a great family. It’s wonderful when people of that stature want to help the university,” Levy said.
Vice-President University Advancement Adam Kahan is satisfied with the outcome of the campaign.
“Now that George Vari has made a donation to the university, the building itself will always be the George Vari Engineering and Compuer Centre,” said Kahan. “But we’ve retained the right to get a naming donor for the faculty itself.”
Rooms in the Centre for Computing and Engineering are still available for naming.