Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

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Transformational Donors

Among our many donors, Marcel A. Desautels, Sandra Rotman, and Joseph Rotman have played visionary and transformational roles in the Rotman School’s evolution into an international forum for management education and research. Their substantial contributions established a foundation for giving that has inspired others to invest in the Rotman School and its vision to expand its global impact of the next generation of management leaders.


Dr. Marcel Desautels (LLD ’03), CM, OOnt

Based on his senior corporate experiences, Marcel Desautels saw an opportunity for a more innovative, integrative approach to education that supports superior management leadership. To fulfill this vision, he worked with the Rotman School and directly with former Dean, Roger Martin, and made several transformational gifts resulting in the establishment in 2000 of the Desautels Centre for Integrative Thinking. The centre’s pioneering work continues to introduce innovations that are changing the way management schools teach. His generosity also led to the creation of the University of Toronto Canadian Credit Management Foundation (CCMF) Fellowship, the largest in the School’s history, and numerous faculty chairs. His visionary philanthropy contributes immeasurably to the Rotman School’s successful quest to redesign management education for the 21st century.

Marcel Desautels’ remarkable history of giving in support of education has played a transformational role at post-secondary institutions in Manitoba and Quebec, as well as the Rotman School. His generosity is motivated by his belief that “supporting education is in the long run the most effective form of charity."


Sandra Rotman (BA ’75, LLD ’07), OOnt
Joseph Rotman (MCom ’60, LLD ’94), OC

In 1997, Sandra and Joseph Rotman made their first transformative gift through the Rotman Family Foundation to the University of Toronto, which was renamed the Rotman School of Management in their honour. The Bachelor of Commerce program was also subsequently renamed in 2008 and is now known as Rotman Commerce. Since then, they have also helped to establish the Martin Prosperity Institute and numerous faculty chairs. To enable the School's growth, they were lead donors for two major capital expansions. Motivated by a belief that a strong civil society and healthy capitalism are interdependent, their generosity launched and sustains the Rotman School's successful journey to become recognized as one of the world’s most inspired, innovative centres for the delivery of management education and research.

Describing their passion for philanthropy, which in addition to supporting education extends to the cultural, health care, and research communities, Mr. Rotman said, “Sandra and I believe that philanthropy is not a question of charity. We believe that each person has a responsibility to help build a civil society, and it’s in our self-interest to do so.”

Sadly, Mr. Rotman passed away in January 2015. However in April 2016, the Rotman family gave a transformational $30 million legacy gift. The gift will help the Rotman School continue to be at the forefront of transforming management education and research. 

This latest gift from Joseph and Sandra Rotman makes them the most generous benefactors in the University’s history, following numerous significant gifts over the past 20 years.  This new $30 million gift will be matched by the University of Toronto in order to establish a $45 million Rotman Catalyst Fund as well as provide additional support to the School’s highest priorities such as scholarships, faculty positions and infrastructure investments. The Rotman Catalyst Fund will act as a “venture fund” for the Rotman School, used to fund bold and innovative initiatives to continue to transform management education and to increase the impact of the School’s students and new thinking.  The Rotman Catalyst Fund was conceived by Joseph Rotman in collaboration with the leaders of the School shortly before he died.


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