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Helen Vari looking to the side with a smile on her face.
Photo via @uoftalumni on Twitter
Campus News News

Philanthropist and former TMU Board of Governors member Helen Vari dies

By Jake MacAndrew & Racy Rafique

Former Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) Board of Governors member and philanthropist Helen Vari has died according to a news release from the school on Friday afternoon.

Vari was a prominent member of the TMU community and an avid supporter of the Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science along with her husband, the late Honourable George W. Vari.

“Helen Vari was a true friend–to our students, to the university, and to me personally,” said president Mohamed Lachemi in the release. “She believed passionately in the transformational power of education, and she worked tirelessly to deepen the legacy of support for students she built with her husband George.”

Vari was also an avid supporter of educational institutions across the country. She and her husband established The George and Helen Vari Foundation in 1984—which has donated millions of dollars to many Canadian universities.

Through the George and Helen Vari foundation, the two donated over $6 million to the university, as stated in a TorontoMet Today release back in 2018. 

Vari accumulated various awards and honours throughout her career including the Order of Canada, Queen Elizabeth II’s 50th and 60th Anniversary Golden and Diamond Jubilee medals and the Grand Officier de l’Ordre de la Légion d’Honneur de France. 

Additionally, TMU awarded Vari an honorary doctorate degree at the Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science convocation ceremony in 2017. 

“On behalf of all of us at TMU, I extend my heartfelt sympathies to Helen’s nieces, Agnes and Victoria, and the entire Vari family. Our community and country has lost a unique and caring soul,” said Lachemi in the press release.

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