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Queen’s University celebrates a legacy of giving with ‘Bader Day’

Click to play video: 'Queen’s University celebrates the Bader family and it’s contributions to the school.' Queen’s University celebrates the Bader family and it’s contributions to the school.
WATCH: Queen's University celebrates an incredible legacy of giving back on Bader Day – Nov 15, 2021

Queen’s University proclaimed Nov. 15 “Bader Day” to celebrate one of the school’s biggest philanthropists.

Monday, Nov. 15, 2021, marks 80 years since Dr. Alfred Bader arrived on campus to begin his studies at Queen’s.

Since then, he and his family have contributed countless millions of dollars to the school. Even though Alfred Bader passed away a few years ago, his family continues to give back.

“Eighty years ago Alfred Bader stepped onto this campus for the first time. He would go on to spend six year here and earn three degrees here,” said Karen Bertrand, vice-principal of advancement at the university.

In 1995, Dr. Alfred Bader told CKWS television at a book signing for his book Adventures of a Chemist Collector his life would have been totally different if it hadn’t been for Queen’s.

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Daniel Bader, the president and CEO of Bader Philanthropies, told Global Kingston how the university had changed his father’s life.

“My dad was an immigrant to this country at the age of 17. English was his second language. He was a Jew at the time when there were very few Jews on campus and Queen’s gave him an opportunity,” said Daniel Bader

An extremely successful businessman, Bader has always given back to Queen’s and is considered the school’s most generous benefactor.

To mark the inaugural Bader Day, it was announced that 12 17th-century Dutch paintings will join more than 200 works including four Rembrandts that the Baders have donated to the Agnes Etherington Art Centre.

Read more: Bader family donates 4th Rembrandt to Queen’s University

“In Canada we are probably the foremost institution when it comes to Dutch 17th-century art. We’re a major European art centre as a result of the donations over time from Dr. Bader and Isabel Bader as well,” said Suzanne van de Meerendonk, the Bader curator of European art at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre

Other Bader gifts over the years include Herstmonceux Castle in England.

It was also announced there will be funding for a outdoor gathering space modelled after an Ojibway round house and the endowing of a full-time permanent curator of Indigenous arts and culture at the Agnes.

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“We’re really looking forward to working with this new curator in the new year and activating our collections of Indigenous art and other art,” said Alicia Boutilier, the chief curator and curator of Canadian Historical Art for the Agnes Etherington Art Centre.

Read more: Bader family donates $54 M for Agnes Etherington Art Centre rejuvenation

Daniel Bader says the longstanding relationship between the Bader family and Queen’s University will continue.

“I don’t see any end to the partnership between the Bader family, between our foundation, Bader Philanthropies, and Queen’s University. I think it will go on for a very long time,” he said.

Bertrand was equally excited about the ongoing partnership.

“Today we celebrate all philanthropy, the big and the small and as Alfred said, they’re equally important,” said Bertrand.

The day was capped off when the school formally recognized Bader Philanthropies with a plaque on the Queen’s Wall of Benefactors, a place of honour for a family that has given so much to the school.

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