David Bissett and the Bissett School of Business
In 2002, Calgary financial guru and philanthropist David Bissett and his wife Leslie made an unprecedented $5 million donation to the business school at Mount Royal College. At the time, their donation equaled the single largest individual gift to a Canadian college. In recognition of their generosity, Mount Royal renamed the 50 year business program The Bissett School of Business.
In May 2006, David Bissett and his wife Leslie offered a second substantial gift, and donated $7 million directed to support the continued growth of the Bissett School of Business.
Mount Royal renamed the building housing the School of Business Bissett. The School of Business Building was purpose built in 2003 to house the Bissett School of Business and support its accompanying programs, as well as house offices of Continuing Education and Extension and International Education.
Through the allocation of approximately $5.5 million of this tremendous gift, the Bissett School of Business is positioned to grow into space currently occupied by the other departments. Plans are underway to incorporate Continuing Education and Extension into a new Mount Royal College Library which is planned for the Lincoln Park Campus.
Since 2000, the Bissett School of Business has grown from 1,100 to almost 1,800 full-time students enrolled in 14 Bissett programs, including the nationally respected Aviation diploma program. Approximately 45% of these Bissett students are enrolled in four year applied degree programs.
Following the donation of David Bissett and his confidence in the business program, Bissett students have extended the demonstration of their academic excellence, community outreach, and national and professional recognition. His contribution and influence have been extraordinary in the success of the program.
- Each year 50 to 100 students of the flagship Bachelor of Applied Business and Entrepreneurship launch their own business ventures as part of degree completion. Launched in 1995, this is still the only program of its kind in North America. In a survey completed in 2005, 52% of graduates of this program are running their own business ventures – a statistic that leads other programs of its kind in North America.
- The first graduates of the Bachelor of Applied Business Administration Accounting have, in addition to their College credential, met all requirements for their professional designations for the CA’s CGA’s and CMA’s. There are now 350 students in this sought after program.
- Six new programs have been launched by the School of Business since Fall 2000, including innovative and successful four year programs in Supply Chain Management, Financial Services, and Nonprofit Management.
- Bissett student societies have won or been finalists each year in regional and national business student competitions. In addition, Bissett team members have been asked to present specific outreach projects to international business student conferences
- Accolades have been received for international outreach programs in which students have involved themselves.
- The number of international student exchanges has increased as well as there has been significant growth in the universities and colleges around the world offering positions to Bissett students in Europe, Mexico, China, the USA and several Scandinavian countries.
- Growth in scholarships since 2000 has grown from annual gifts of approximately $90,000 to an unprecedented $240,000 in scholarships and bursaries presented to Bissett students at a recent Bissett School of Business Scholarship and Awards ceremony.
Mr. Bissett’s most recent generous gift will also support two other programs housed in the Bissett School of Business:
- Funding in the amount of $1 million will support the Social Innovation Program and Institute of Community Prosperity – both of which reside within the Bissett School of Business. Funding will enhance current nonprofit sector education and research and support the Institute of Community Prosperity as it strives to become Canadian centre of excellence for the voluntary sector.
- Funding in the amount of $500,000 will be used for reinvestment in the legacy Mount Royal Aviation Diploma Program – a program launched in 1970 and an integral area of study in the School of Business since the 90s and a program with a national reputation for excellence.