The University of Lethbridge received its first major funding donation towards the Destination Project on Monday. BMO Financial Group has signed on as the first corporate sponsor of the development, donating $1 million to the project.
“It’s exciting for us obviously in terms of the level of commitment, which is significant,” U of L president and vice chancellor Dr. Mike Mahon said. “BMO has been a long-standing partner of ours at the University of Lethbridge – they’re our bank – and they’ve contributed significantly to us over the years on many different things.”
BMO senior vice president for Alberta and North West Territories Susan Brown said the donation is in partnership with BMO’s 200th birthday in 2017.
“For 200 years, we’ve made strong contributions to the communities in which we live and work, and this is a really good example of that,” Brown said. “We are really pleased about this contribution because it’s going to be an enduring one; one that will continue to give to the people that live here in Lethbridge and southern Alberta for many years to come.”
The million-dollar donation will go to the construction of the main theatre, which will carry the name of BMO Financial Group. It will host classes and lectures, as well as serve the broader community.
“It’s a 240-person hall. It will be the centrepiece of the building, right in the middle of the building outside the large atrium,” Mahon said. “It will be where our large classrooms are but also where we will hold conferences and meetings.”
The building is starting to take shape under the blanket of snow and Mahon hopes this first generous donation sparks an interest from other community partners.
“We’re hoping that the BMO contribution will be a signal to other donors–both in this community as well as other parts of Alberta and around Canada–that this is an important project to contribute to.”
The Destination Project is set to open in fall 2019.