A former student and his wife have donated $15 million to Lakefield College School — one of the largest single donations ever made to an independent school in Canada.
John Hepburn, who graduated in 1968, is a trustee of the school’s foundation. He and his wife Jane made the announcement at the foundation trustees’ meeting in Victoria, British Columbia last Saturday (May 4).
The donation will support the school’s new dining hall, one of the major priorities in the school’s latest strategic plan. To be located at the heart of the 155-acre main waterfront campus, the dining hall will strengthen and enhance the student experience and be a gathering place for the entire community, according to a media release from the school.
The new dining hall will be named in honour of the Hepburn family.
“Jane and I feel strongly that there is something very special at Lakefield,” Hepburn said when making the announcement. “We’re excited about the school’s vision and strategic direction and wanted to do our part to accelerate its realization. I feel very fortunate to be in a position, thanks in large part to the education I received at Lakefield, to help make the school even stronger for its students.”
The Hepburns have been long-time supporters of Lakefield College School. As well as helping students through tuition bursaries, they launched an initiative five years ago to encourage other alumni to donate to the school.
The Hepburn Alumni Challenge offers gift incentives to the school (up to $3,000 per alumnus over five years). In the five years since the launch of the challenge, donor participation among Lakefield College School alumni has become the highest among educational institutions in Canada.. The donations fund the Hepburn Alumni Challenge Bursary, which supports several students from alumni families.
Besides supporting the new dining hall, the Hepburns’ $15-million donation will also be used to help implement the school’s other strategic priorities.
“The support we have received from John and Jane Hepburn over the years is truly extraordinary, and this gift will make a transformational difference for our school and our students,” says Anne-Marie Kee, head of Lakefield College School and the foundation.
“With this new dining hall will come an array of opportunities for us to connect and learn from each other, as one community in one inspirational space. Our school community is incredibly grateful for the Hepburn family’s leadership and support.”