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A. Britton Smith donates $10 million to Queen's

Published Mon Sep 15th 2014

Even though he did not attend Queen’s, A. Britton Smith, QC, has supported the university for many years because of the many connections and ties he has with the institution. Mr. Smith’s most recent gift to Queen’s is a $10-million donation that includes $9 million for the School of Nursing and Department of Surgery and $1 million towards the current project to revitalize Richardson Stadium.

“I feel very close to Queen’s even if I didn’t study at the university,” says Mr. Smith, who grew up in a family that believed in giving back to the community. “As a boy, I grew up near campus and watched football games at the old Richardson Stadium. I met [my wife] Sally at a Sunday tea held at a professor’s home. I have many family members, friends and business associates who are Queen’s graduates, and, of course, in 2009 the university was kind enough to award me an honorary degree.”

The series of gifts will support:

  • The establishment of the Sally Smith Chair in Nursing
  • The establishment of the Smith Chair in Surgical Research
  • The establishment of the Britton Smith Chair in Surgery

An additional portion of the gift will go towards a chair in orthopaedic research, with another portion dedicated to a nursing endowment. 

Representing the largest donation to the School of Nursing in its 73-year history, the Sally Smith Chair in Nursing is named for Mr. Smith’s teenage sweetheart and later his wife of 68 years, Edith “Sally” (Carruthers) Smith. She died in June 2012 after a courageous battle with cancer.

[Britton Smith]
A. Britton Smith donated $10 million to support the School of Nursing, the Department of Surgery and the current project to revitalize Richardson Stadium.

“Brit Smith has made a tremendous gift that will propel Queen’s forward in several key areas,” said Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “His gifts focus on many top priorities for the university and we are tremendously thankful for his generosity. Chairs will support the excellence of our faculty and their scholarly achievements and his gift to revitalizing Richardson Stadium gives further momentum to the project.”

The Smith Chair in Surgical Research will provide intellectual leadership in research. The Britton Smith Chair in Surgery will support the activities of the head of the Department of Surgery in promoting the academic mission of Queen’s University.

“On behalf of faculty, students and staff, I want to thank Brit Smith for sharing our vision to support excellence in health care. His generosity will strengthen the School of Nursing and Department of Surgery in their quests to advance care, education and research. Ultimately, our patients will be the greatest beneficiaries,” said Richard Reznick, Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences.

In addition to these most recent gifts, Mr. Smith has previously given his support to Athletics and Recreation, Queen’s School of Business, the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, student assistance, the Human Mobility Research Centre and the new Medical Building.

Mr. Smith graduated from the Royal Military College in 1940. He served four years overseas during the Second World War with the Canadian army in England and in France, where in July 1944 he was critically wounded and won the Military Cross for his battlefield bravery. Mr. Smith went on to earn his law degree in 1954 then started Homestead Land Holdings, which this year is celebrating its 60th anniversary. Homestead has grown to become one of Ontario’s biggest and most successful residential landlords with more than 24,000 units.