School of Building Technology named in honour of London construction icon

School of Building Technology named in honour of London construction icon

The home of Fanshawe’s building technology programs has a new name: the Donald J. Smith School of Building Technology. The announcement was made April 27, 2015 during a celebration commemorating a generous $1 million pledge by the family of the late founding partner of London-based construction giant, EllisDon, in support of Fanshawe’s $100 million “Remarkable” campaign.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Donald R. Smith said his father was always committed to assisting young students pursue their educational goals, whether by hiring graduates from the building technology programs or encouraging volunteer involvement with the College.

“EllisDon also benefited as many Fanshawe graduates joined our company and quickly moved into management positions,” said Smith. “They were very much part of the team who have elevated EllisDon into a world class construction company. It is our hope that this gift recognizes our dad’s vision in a tangible way.” 

The Smith family’s ties with Fanshawe run deep. Don was the chair of Fanshawe’s first capital campaign and was the first recipient of a Fanshawe College honorary diploma in 1992. Both Don, and his wife Joan, served as honorary co-chairs for Fanshawe’s second capital campaign, successfully completing a $15-million drive in 2008. Fanshawe presented Joan Smith with an honorary diploma of her own in 2008.

Fanshawe President Peter Devlin said the family’s reputation as one of Canada’s most prominent names in the building technology and construction sector raises the profile of Fanshawe’s programs on a local and national level. “We are extremely proud that this school will bear the name Donald J. Smith School of Building Technology,” he said. “We pledge our continued support of excellence in teaching and learning in the fields that support the construction trades.”

Catherine Finlayson, executive director of the Fanshawe College Foundation, said the Smith family’s donation will go a long way in supporting the campaign’s priority projects, including Fanshawe’s ongoing bold expansion into downtown London with the completion of the Centre for Digital and Performance Arts and through the redevelopment of the Kingsmill building. “This is another shining example of the remarkable generosity we’ve seen from both individual and corporate donors,” she said. “It’s clear that the culture of philanthropy at Fanshawe has taken root and is growing rapidly.”