Queen’s University names the Stephen J.R. Smith Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science in recognition of unprecedented $100-million gift

November 2, 2023

Thursday, November 2, 2023 – KINGSTON, ON – Patrick Deane, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University, today announced a new name for the university’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science in honour of an historic $100-million gift by leading Canadian financial services entrepreneur and philanthropist Stephen J.R. Smith, who earned a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from Queen’s in 1972. The faculty will be known as the Stephen J.R. Smith Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science at Queen's University or more commonly as Smith Engineering.

This is the largest gift made to an engineering faculty in Canada, one of the largest to any university in Canada and one of the largest ever to Queen’s. The gift will drive Queen’s vision to transform STEM through engineering education and to position its engineering graduates to have a lasting impact on Canada and the world.

“Queen’s is incredibly grateful for this remarkable gift from such a distinguished alumnus and outstanding Canadian as Stephen Smith,” said Principal Deane. “Stephen’s transformational gift will benefit faculty and students for generations to come. The significance of this investment, and the renaming of the faculty, signal the beginning of a new era—one that builds on a foundation of 130 years of excellence.”

Mr. Smith earned a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in electrical engineering from Queen’s University in 1972 and has since become one of Canada’s most successful financial entrepreneurs and a leading philanthropist. He is the Chairman and CEO of Smith Financial Corporation, which has significant equity investments in a range of financial services businesses: First National Financial Corporation, Canada Guaranty Mortgage Insurance Corporation, Fairstone Bank of Canada, Peloton Capital Management, Equitable Bank, Glass Lewis & Co. and Home Capital Group. He is a tireless supporter of Canadian culture, and has made significant contributions, both financial and personal, to the arts, history and charity. 

“The education I received as a student at Queen’s was foundational to the success I’ve achieved in my professional and personal life,” said Mr. Smith. “I have long admired Queen’s commitment to STEM education and research and am proud to be able to contribute as it transforms engineering education to prepare graduates to address the greatest challenges facing our people and our planet.”

“The majority of the $100-million gift will be endowed to provide an enduring legacy of talent and resources from around the world for generations to come. The balance will enable the development and implementation of new programs, and investments in research, technology and equipment,” said Kevin Deluzio, Dean of Smith Engineering. “It is about changing how we teach so our graduates can change the world they live in and help solve the grand challenges facing humanity.”

This is Mr. Smith’s second transformational gift to Queen’s University. In 2015, Mr. Smith donated $50 million to Queen’s to advance the leadership position of the university and its business school within Canada and internationally. Since then, Smith School of Business has attracted top faculty and student talent; advanced ground-breaking programs in areas such as analytics, AI, fintech and digital product management; achieved a top 75 in the Financial Times Global MBA ranking and #1 in Canada / #3 in North America in the Financial Times Master of Management ranking; and grown its global business school partnerships to more than 100 top institutions. Mr. Smith’s gift has funded Smith Chairs and Professorships in strategy and organizational behaviour, accounting and auditing, analytics, and equity and inclusion in business, and provided 50 Smith scholarships for MBA students to date.