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Western mourns passing of Richard M. Ivey

  • Jason Winders
  • |
  • Dec 31, 2019
Western mourns passing of Richard M. Ivey

Richard M. Ivey, HBA ’47, LLD ’79, the renowned philanthropist and education advocate who helped elevate Western and its business school to international prominence, died Saturday, Dec. 28. He was 94.

“Mr. Ivey will be remembered among Western’s greatest champions and one of Canada’s leading philanthropists,” Western President Alan Shepard said. “Building on his father’s legacy, Dick believed passionately in the power of higher education and the impact of investing in excellence. Though the business school was a focal point, his contributions as a volunteer and a donor benefited students and researchers across our campus. He was a true gentleman whose presence and altruistic spirit was felt by so many.”

Born in London, Ivey attended Ridley College in St. Catharines, then earned his HBA at Western in 1947 and his law degree at Osgoode Hall in 1950.

It was in his first weeks at Western that Ivey met his beloved wife, Beryl. The couple dated for four years and were married in 1949.

A third-generation lawyer, he joined his father’s firm, Ivey and Dowler, and was a partner from 1960-80.

During much of that period, Ivey served as President and then Chairman of Allpak Products, a family holding company for businesses primarily in the packaging industry throughout North America and Europe.

In 1947, Ivey and his father incorporated the Ivey Foundation – the fifth-oldest private family foundation in Canada, making charitable grants of $100 million since inception. Ivey served as a director for 50 years and President for 30 years.

At Western, Ivey was a member of the university’s Board of Governors from 1968-78, including three years as Chair. He also served as university Chancellor from 1980-84, sat on what is now the Ivey Advisory Board from 1966-91, and served as Director of the John P. Robarts Research Institute prior to its merger with Western. He helped establish Foundation Western and was a Director from 1980-86, also serving as the Board’s Chair.

The Ivey family’s support for Western represents one of the most significant philanthropic relationships between a family and a Canadian university. The Ivey family, both personally and through the Ivey Foundation, has donated $50 million to Western, including gifts to the business school, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Robarts Research Institute, Faculty of Arts & Humanities and Western Libraries.

In 1995, the Ivey family donated $11 million to the business school, which honoured its half-century relationship with the family by renaming the business school after Ivey’s father, Richard G. Ivey. In 2012, the Ivey family supported the name being changed to the Ivey Business School.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Richard M. Ivey, a great leader and friend of the school,” said Sharon Hodgson, Dean, Ivey Business School. “His enduring support has been a huge factor in growing the Ivey Business School into Canada’s premier centre for the development of business leaders. He was an invaluable advisor, champion of the school, and a true role model for our students. He will be missed dearly.”

Western awarded Ivey an honorary Doctor of Laws in 1979.

Ivey is survived by four children, Richard, HBA ’72, LLB ’75, LLD ’13, (Donna); Jennifer; Rosamond, HBA ’82, LLD ’18; and Suzanne (Dan).

He was preceded in death by his wife, Beryl (Nurse); and sisters, Pauline Gueugnier and Lorraine Shuttleworth.

A private family funeral will take place this week. A celebration of life will take place in Toronto and London at a later date. Memorial donations in Ivey’s honour may be made to a charity of your choice.

Condolences and memories of Mr. Ivey may be sent to