New campaign chair unveils $4 million for Philosophy

Geoff Beattie, president and CEO of Woodbridge Company Limited, will serve as campaign chair for the University of Western Ontario’s $500-million fundraising campaign.

The campaign, which runs from 2007 to 2014, will be officially launched in 2010, once the volunteer campaign cabinet has been fully recruited and Western’s new president and vice chancellor appointed.

Geoff Beattie

Beattie, who was born in London and attended Oakridge Secondary School, graduated from Western in 1984 with a law degree. Today, he is an internationally recognized business leader who also serves as deputy chair of Thomson-Reuters, chair of CTVglobemedia and a director of Royal Bank Financial Group.

In his first duty as campaign chair, Beattie announced a $4-million donation from the Rotman family in support of the Department of Philosophy in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.

The gift will establish the Joseph L. Rotman Institute of Science and Values, envisioned to become a global centre of excellence for the examination of significant issues in contemporary society.

Joseph Rotman

Rotman is a 1957 liberal arts graduate with a major in philosophy from Western.
He is also chair of the Roy-L Capital Corporation, a private family-owned investment company in Toronto. A renowned business leader who was recently nominated for induction into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame, Rotman is also chair of the Canada Council for the Arts, continuing a long and distinguished record of public service in Canada.

“I have known Joe and Sandra Rotman for many years and continue to be struck by the remarkable commitment, vision and integrity they bring to all their ventures,” said Beattie, adding the gift is the largest ever made to the Department of Philosophy.

“I am proud to be a Western alumnus and am very pleased that I can support and encourage my alma mater by establishing the new Institute of Science and Values,” said Rotman.

“The relationship of scientific enquiry with the values that inform that pursuit, affect us all in ways we do not anticipate each and every day. In an era where the production of scientific knowledge increases at an exponential rate, the promotion of scholarship, research and informed public discussion of issues that range from ethics of clinical trials to idealizations in physics, is more important than ever.”

President Paul Davenport said: “Western is immensely fortunate to have such accomplished and highly respected alumni as Geoff and Joe step forward to make a difference through their leadership, vision and philanthropy – particularly when we are embarking on the most significant fundraising effort in Western’s history.
Geoff understands the importance of education and research, and he will carry that message around the world for us.
His leadership and commitment bodes very well for the future success of Western.”

In recognizing the gift, Davenport added: “The Rotman family’s philanthropy validates the importance of a liberal arts education, and it strengthens Western’s well-established international reputation as a leader in philosophy of science. We are enormously grateful for his support.”