Philanthropist's estate donates $67.5M to U of C

The University of Calgary received a $67.5-million donation Friday from late philanthropist and businesswoman Joan Snyder's estate.

Joan Snyder's estate left $100M to various organizations, including Mount Royal University and the Calgary Zoo

The University of Calgary announced Friday that it received a $67.5-million donation from the estate of late philanthropist Joan Snyder. (Riley Brandt/University of Calgary)

The University of Calgary received a $67.5-million donation Friday from a late philanthropist and businesswoman who some called "the grandmother of Canadian women's hockey," according to the university.

The estate of Joan Snyder left $100 million in donations to various organizations including the U of C, Mount Royal University, the Calgary Zoo and the Calgary Humane Society, according to a news release Friday.

Snyder died in April at 90 years of age. The philanthropist had donated millions to the U of C during her lifetime, including a $9-million donation in 2008 to create a research institute for chronic diseases. She received an honorary degree from the U of C in 2011, according to the university.

Of the new $67.5-million donation, $35 million will be allocated to the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases at the university's Cumming School of Medicine. As well, $30 million will go toward establishing the Joan Snyder Fund for Excellence in Kinesiology, U of C said.

The University of Calgary held a celebration event Friday to honour Joan Snyder, who donated millions to the university in her lifetime. Snyder’s memorabilia was put on display at the event. (Riley Brandt/University of Calgary)

"With a specific focus on women and girls — an underrepresented group — the fund will also help correct a longstanding imbalance in research, for the benefit of all genders," the release said. 

Ed McCauley, U of C's president and vice-chancellor, said the university's "research excellence" was propelled by Snyder's support. 

"Our research is having global impact. It's why Joan entrusted us with this gift, because she knew we'd have the expertise and the drive to turn it into something extraordinary," McCauley said in a statement.

Another $2 million of the donation will go toward the Joan Snyder Program of Excellence in Women's Hockey, which was established at the university in 2011.

The final $500,000 will be allocated to the university's libraries and cultural resources to preserve art and various collections.