Media Releases

Historic gift to UofT makes Munk School a world leader in global affairs

April 13, 2010

TORONTO, ON — The University of Toronto is proud to announce today the launch of the new Munk School of Global Affairs. An unprecedented gift of $35 million from Peter and Melanie Munk will dramatically expand UofT’s research capacity, enable the hiring of new faculty and drive the expansion of new facilities. This first-tier professional school will play a key role in educating Canadians as global leaders. 

The Munk School of Global Affairs signals a new frontier of scholarship in Canada’s higher education community. The Munk School positions UofT as a leading player in a broad range of subjects from water to cyber security.  The new Munk School will welcome its first class of students to the Masters of Global Affairs program in September 2010. In the coming years, the school will offer a selective Bachelor of Arts program and a PhD in the Dynamics of Global Change.

Building on the foundation of the Munk Centre for International Studies, this transformation marks the largest single individual gift to UofT, bringing the Munks’ total financial support for the University to a remarkable $50.9 million. “I am honoured that Melanie and I could make this gift to the University of Toronto,” said Peter Munk. “The world is changing. We want to do our part to ensure that Canada not only secures its place on the world stage but helps create the knowledge that improves people’s lives.” 

Remarking on the impact of the announcement Dr. David Naylor, President of the University of Toronto, said: “This is a great day for our University – and, I believe, a great development for Ontario and for Canada.  This exceptional gift means that the new Munk School will significantly increase the scale of our university’s role in harnessing global opportunities, while tackling some of the world’s most pressing challenges.” President Naylor continued, saying, “As Canada reaffirms its position as leader on the global stage, the Munks’ extraordinarily generous gift means that many more of the next generation of leaders will come from Canada.” 

The Munk School will offer an unmatched student experience promoting opportunities for international faculty and an increased number of student exchanges. The University will support this expansion through the provision of land and buildings that will grow the school’s facilities at the landmark heritage building located at 315 Bloor Street West, the northern gateway to the University of Toronto. The University will also make room for a significant increase in cross-appointed faculty. 

The Munks’ gift is in addition to an important investment of $25 million made by the Government of Ontario in its 2008 budget. “Without the visionary investment made by the Government of Ontario in 2008, the Munk School simply would not have the critical mass of support necessary for Toronto to claim a unique role in the study of global affairs,” President Naylor said. 

“We are proud to support the Munk School of Global Affairs,” said Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario. “This school attracts the best and the brightest from around the world.  Their work in understanding global economic trends and developing innovative policy ideas supports our Open Ontario plan to create new opportunities for growth and jobs in today’s knowledge economy.” 

“Only 10 years ago a generous gift from Peter and Melanie Munk helped create the Munk Centre for International Studies. The Centre has grown, becoming Canada’s hub for discovery across a broad range of subjects,” said Professor Janice Stein, Director of the Munk School. “Melanie and Peter’s deep commitment to educating Canadians as global leaders has guided the work that we do here at the centre and will inspire generations of students and faculty at the new Munk School. We are very honoured to have the strong support from the province for this exciting project.” 

Peter Munk is an international entrepreneur who has built several dynamic businesses from start-up to success. He is chairman of Barrick Gold which he built into the world’s leading gold producer. He and his wife Melanie, through family foundations, have made a significant contribution to a number of institutions as national and international philanthropists. In addition to their historic support for the University of Toronto and its global programs, Peter and Melanie have been important contributors to the Toronto General Hospital and to the Technion Institute. Through the Aurea Foundation Peter and Melanie support the Munk Debates – a unique contribution to the growing and important dialogue on international and domestic socio-cultural issues. 

The University of Toronto

Established in 1827, the University of Toronto today operates in downtown Toronto, Mississauga and Scarborough, as well as in ten renowned academic hospitals. The University of Toronto has assembled one of the strongest research and teaching faculties in North America, presenting top students at all levels with an intellectual environment unmatched in breadth and depth on any other Canadian campus. UofT faculty co-author more research articles than their colleagues at any university in the US or Canada other than Harvard. As a measure of impact, UofT consistently ranks alongside the top five U.S. universities whose discoveries are most often cited by other researchers around the world. UofT faculty are also widely recognized for their teaching strengths and commitment to graduate supervision.  

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