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Laurier names School of Business & Economics

SBE named in honour of visionary tech entrepreneur and philanthropist Mike Lazaridis

Wilfrid Laurier University has named its renowned School of Business & Economics in honour of Mike Lazaridis, creator of the groundbreaking BlackBerry smartphone.

The newly branded Lazaridis School of Business & Economics marks the start of an exciting new era for Laurier as the university prepares to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its business and economics school and open a $103-million state-of-the-art facility in 2016.

Laurier is poised to become a global centre for research and teaching related to the leadership of technology companies, thanks to a $20-million donation by Lazaridis and a contribution of $15 million from the Ontario government, both announced earlier this year. The combined $35 million will support the creation of the Lazaridis Institute for the Management of Technology Enterprises, which will be part of the Lazaridis School of Business & Economics.

WATCH: A large crowd gathered in the SBE Atrium in early September to celebrate the nameing of Laurier's School of Business & Economics in honour of Mike Lazaridis.

Lazaridis is internationally known for creating the BlackBerry smartphone, building BlackBerry (formerly Research In Motion) into an $18-billion global business, and reshaping the global mobile communications industry. He is currently a founding partner in Quantum Valley Investments, a Waterloo-based fund that focuses on the commercialization of breakthrough technologies in quantum information science and which seeks to support Waterloo Region’s growing reputation as the “Quantum Valley.”

The Lazaridis School of Business & Economics will be housed in a $103-million landmark building that is nearing completion on University Avenue in Waterloo. Known previously as the Global Innovation Exchange, this remarkable facility will be renamed Lazaridis Hall in honour of the entrepreneur’s generous contributions to Laurier, the global technology industry and the community of Waterloo Region.

“I chose to invest in Laurier because I thought that they were uniquely positioned to transform the way that technology business managers are trained and developed,” said Lazaridis. “I believe the Lazaridis Institute for the Management of Technology Enterprises will help Laurier produce exceptional tech-savvy business managers and leaders that Canadian technology companies need to grow and succeed globally. I want to thank the Province of Ontario for their continuing vision and support for technology entrepreneurship in this province.”

For more on Mike Lazaridis and his partnership with Laurier, see our feature story.