CASHING IN ON THE ROGERS CACHE

In Business & Technology /

By Rita Poliakov

The Ryerson School of Business Management is a thing of the past. Like York’s Schulich School of Business and University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, Ryerson can now put a upper crust society name to our business program.

After a $15 million donation from Ted and Loretta Rogers last May, Ryerson’s business building has been renamed The Ted Rogers School of Management. Apart from a new plaque and a few re-written syllabuses, the business program is hoping some prestige will come with the name.

“The name means a lot to the school of business,” said dean Ken Jones. “Everyone knows Ted Rogers. Now [students] can say I’m going to the Ted Rogers School of Management. It identifies you with a brand.”

In 2004, Ryerson president Claude Lajeunesse said he hoped that a bidding war would break out over naming rights. “$15 million-plus, I hope,” he said.

However, Dan Lang, a professor of finance at U of T, said $15 million wouldn’t be easy to come by.

“I think the business community, generally speaking, is less interested than it once was,” Lang said.

Fast forward to today, Ruth Corbin, an expert in advertising and marketing from York University, said that adding the Rogers name would benefit Ryerson. “Ted Rogers is one of the most successful entrepreneurs of modern times,” she said.

Corbin said that Rogers’s notability goes well beyond video stores or wireless communication. She noted that he also has his name on the Rogers Centre, formerly know as the SkyDome.

“The name itself is a major Canadian entrepreneur,” Jones said. “He’s associated with Toronto, he’s a risk taker, he embodies the characteristics students are interested in obtaining.”

While the students themselves seem a little less enthused, the magnitude of the name is not lost on them.

“I wanted to come here before the name change,” says first-year business management student Tayfun Uzum. “But the name adds prestige. Rogers is known to be successful. If he’s supporting our school, it’s something.”

This isn’t the first time the Rogers’ have donated substantial funds to Ryerson. Rogers also gave $12.5 million to help fund the construction of the Rogers Communication Centre and to establish the Edward S. Rogers Sr. Graduate School for Advanced Communications, named after his father.

Both Rogers and his wife have had a relationship with the university for 20 years. Loretta Rogers sat on the Ryerson Board of Governors for two terms and both have honorary doctorates, given to them in 2004.

Robert Hudyma, an associate ITM professor, believes that these donations are essential to the growth of the university.

“Tuition fees pay for the university, but for it to grow it needs other sources of cash,” Hudyma said. “We have a brand new [business] building, we must pay for it.”

“The tradition for the last couple decades has been to establish relationships with people who would like a piece of immortality,” says Hudyma.

For this piece of immortality, Ryerson received enough money to establish 52 new undergraduate and graduate awards and scholarships. Eight million dollars will be spent on these awards, $2 million will be spent on creating a new research chair and $5 million will go to the building itself.

– With files from Jamie McLeod

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