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BMO Financial Group


BMO Financial Group has a long history of generous donations to the University of Toronto that have improved access to higher education for students and fuelled the growth and expansion of the Rotman School of Management.

As Canada’s first bank, BMO Financial Group has played a pivotal role in the development of many national institutions, transforming lives and lifting communities through higher education.

BMO, which celebrated its bicentennial in 2017, is one of the University of Toronto’s oldest donors and has collaborated with the University to open up pathways for students and build state-of-the-art facilities, with more than $8 million in charitable contributions.

BMO’s giving commitments include a contribution of $3 million in 1996, matched by the University and the province of Ontario to create the BMO National Scholars Program for exceptional Canadian students to attend U of T. Since its launch, the program has supported hundreds of students across a broad range of fields.

In 2010, BMO donated $2.5 million to support the expansion and renovation of the Rotman School of Management and to improve access to higher education for students from disadvantaged communities or non-traditional educational backgrounds. Part of that donation helped to create the BMO Financial Group Finance Research and Trading Lab, a vital teaching and research space that combines some of the most advanced computer hardware with sophisticated financial analysis software and databases.

BMO’s 2010 gift also created the BMO Financial Group Access to Higher Education Awards, a needs-based program supporting students who successfully complete one of U of T’s two flagship access programs—the Transitional Year Program or the Millie Rotman Shime Academic Bridging Program at Woodsworth College.

In 2017, BMO Financial Group announced a $21-million gift to seven academic hospitals affiliated with U of T’s Faculty of Medicine in support of advancing science, research and the enhancement of patient care. Also in 2017, BMO honoured its outgoing CEO William Downe, a graduate of U of T’s MBA program and a dedicated volunteer, by establishing the BMO Chair in Finance at the Rotman School.

The connections run deeper still with a great many graduates moving on to careers at BMO and with many prominent members of the U of T community also serving in executive roles at the bank. These include, among others, Downe, former CEO Tony Comper (BA 1966 SMC, Hon LLD 1999) and Governing Council Chair Emeritus Rose Patten (Hon LLD 2009), who was recently elected as U of T’s next Chancellor.  U of T President Emeritus J. Robert S. Prichard (LLB 1975) serves as Chairman of BMO’s board.  Along with these ties comes a long and proud tradition of U of T alumni at BMO giving back individually to their alma mater—adding many more points of connection to a relationship between two important national institutions with benefits for all Canadians.