Donald K. Johnson standing in the lobby of the First Canadian Place in Toronto. Photo credit: Nation Wong
Apr 25, 2023
Today, the Ivey Business School at Western University announced a landmark $30-million gift from Donald K. Johnson, O.C., MBA ’63, LLD ’07, supporting a spectacular new downtown Toronto campus.
“I’m very gratified to see the expansion of the Ivey campus in Toronto. Doing my MBA at Ivey enabled me to start a new career in an area I was very passionate about.” — Donald K. Johnson, MBA ’63
This transformational gift is the largest single donation from an individual ever received by Ivey and Western. The gift will support the new Donald K. Johnson Centre for Ivey’s programming in Toronto. The facility will allow the School to expand oversubscribed while-you-work program offerings. It will also provide limitless executive education opportunities for The Ivey Academy, and exceptional event space for alumni and student programming, symposiums, and idea forums, bringing Ivey research to practice.
“I’m very gratified to see the expansion of the Ivey campus in Toronto,” said Johnson. “Doing my MBA at Ivey enabled me to start a new career in an area I was very passionate about. I feel it’s the best opportunity for me to give back to a place that has had such a profound impact on my career, and in my personal life. My philosophy about philanthropy is that it’s better to give it away with a warm hand, than a cold hand. So, I’m glad I can do this now.”
The 36,000-square-foot facility located in First Canadian Place (77 Adelaide Street W.) in the space formerly home to the Toronto Board of Trade, is triple the footprint of Ivey’s current Toronto campus in the Exchange Tower. The new campus will double both Ivey’s classroom and study room capacity, and will provide a 21st-century educational experience complete with the latest in innovative classroom learning technology. An expansive 300-person event space will enable Ivey to host large-scale signature events in a premium downtown location.
Ivey Toronto Campus, 3D rendering of street level reception.
“I am really excited about the opportunities and possibilities this new space will open up for us,” said Sharon Hodgson, Dean, Ivey Business School. “It aligns with Ivey’s renewed mission and purpose which drives our Ivey Next strategic ambitions. One of the many benefits is that with a greater presence in Toronto, we will be able to create even greater connectivity with the business community and further elevate our research to practice commitment. Not only does it give it space to expand existing programs, it lets us dream of new opportunities. I’d like to express my sincere gratitude to Don [Johnson] for his dedication and belief in Ivey’s mission and helping to make it a reality.”
Ivey’s current Toronto campus in the Exchange Tower (130 King Street W.) was renamed the Donald K. Johnson Centre in 2019 in recognition of Johnson’s unwavering commitment to Ivey. The existing facility will continue to run programs until the completion of the new space.
“For decades, Don [Johnson] has been a tireless champion for our university and business school, and his advocacy on behalf of the charitable sector has transformed the way philanthropy is able to help not-for-profit organizations across the country,” said Western president Alan Shepard.” We are deeply grateful for his visionary leadership and his enormous generosity.”
“I am really excited about the opportunities and possibilities this new space will open up for us. It aligns with Ivey’s renewed mission and purpose which drives our Ivey Next strategic ambitions." — Sharon Hodgson, Dean, Ivey Business School
Future Ivey Toronto Campus
Third floor breakout
Third floor classroom
Third floor classroom
Third floor flex space
Fourth floor event space
About Donald K. Johnson
Donald K. Johnson graduated in the MBA class of 1963, long considered to be one of the most successful MBA classes of its time. The class will be celebrating its 60th Homecoming this fall during Ivey’s 100th-anniversary year.
Johnson started his career in electrical engineering but, after graduating with his MBA, he turned to investment banking, joining Burns Bros. & Denton Ltd. in 1963. He held a series of management positions, serving as President of Burns Fry from 1984 to 1989, including senior roles with its successor firms. He eventually became Vice-Chairman of BMO Nesbitt Burns before retiring in October 2004. He is a member of the Advisory Board for BMO Capital Markets – BMO Financial Group.
Johnson is also a pioneering philanthropist having played a leading role in transforming charitable giving in Canada. He successfully advocated for the removal of the capital gains tax on donations of listed securities in 2006. Since then, Canadian charities have received more than $1 billion in gifts of stock every year. He continues to tirelessly advocate for the removal of capital gains tax on gifts of private company shares and real estate.
He is a generous volunteer and donor with many organizations including major health-care institutions, the United Way, and The National Ballet School. He is director and Chairman Emeritus of the Council for Business and the Arts in Canada. He is also an Officer of the Order of Canada.
Johnson has served on the Ivey Advisory Board (IAB) since 1997, including as a member of the IAB’s Executive Committee and as a Vice-Chair of the Ivey Campaign for Leadership.