RBC Million-Dollar Donation to COB is a ‘Landmark Gift,’ says President Hodder

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RBC Royal Bank of Canada donated $1 million to the College of The Bahamas (COB), representing the single largest corporate donation the college has received to date. The donation will go towards the creation of The College of The Bahamas Graduate Business Centre. Pictured, from left, are as follows; Chairman of COB’s College Council T. Baswell Donaldson; Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham; RBC Head of Caribbean Banking Ross McDonald; COB President Janyne Hodder; RBC Vice President and Country Head Nathaniel Beneby and Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture the Hon. Carl Bethel. (Photo: Eric Rose)

By ERIC ROSE

NASSAU, The Bahamas – President of the College of The Bahamas Janyne Hodder said, on January 9, 2008, that the RBC Royal Bank of Canada’s million-dollar donation is a landmark gift towards the institution building The University of The Bahamas. The donation will go towards the creation of The College of The Bahamas Graduate Business Centre.

“The Graduate Business Centre of The School of Business will allow for The College to house its first graduate degree offering, a Master of Business Administration,” President Hodder said.

Also present at the cheque presentation ceremony were Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Hubert Ingraham; Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture the Hon. Carl Bethel; Chairman of COB’s College Council T. Baswell Donaldson; RBC Head of Caribbean Banking Ross McDonald; RBC Vice President and Country Head Nathaniel Beneby; COB and government officials and education stakeholders.

“This gift is foundational in many ways,” President Hodder said.  “The Graduate Business Centre is the first 100% privately funded construction project in The College’s history. Secondly, it will allow us to house The College’s first fully self-run graduate programme.

“Third,” she added, “it represents an extraordinary demonstration of confidence in the quality of the education that we deliver and trust in our capacity to grow to be even better. Finally, through this gift, RBC sends a signal that the corporate and private sector is there, with us, when it comes to building a nation through education and innovation – a signal we hope will be heard in every boardroom and in every home in the nation.”

The RBC $1 million gift represents half of the $2 million costs of the Graduate Business Centre project, she said.  In 2007, then Council Chairman Franklyn Wilson and his wife Sharon made a donation of $1 million to create the Wilson Capital Development Fund.

“We are pleased to also announce today that the Wilson Fund will be used to complete the costs to build the Graduate Business Centre,” she added.  “We anticipate that construction will start this year and the new centre will be ready for occupancy by September 2009.”

President Hodder said, though essential, public funding and tuition alone cannot build the excellence all involved demand for The University of The Bahamas. Excellence, she said, requires large-scale investment from the private sector and broader community as well.

“The role of The University of The Bahamas is to support and drive national development through education, research and innovation,” she said.  “In the past thirty years, we have done an excellent job of educating Bahamians through our associate degree programmes and our baccalaureate programmes. We have several great alumni with us here today to prove this.

“The University of The Bahamas will need to go further. We will establish graduate level education in select fields of national importance and today marks a major step in this direction.”

President Hodder said COB salutes RBC for partnering with it, and also recognises that the bank has demonstrated a commitment to generating wealth, sustainable prosperity, and the advancement of Bahamians, throughout a “proud” 100-year history of doing business in The Bahamas.

“RBC is making a powerful investment in this vision to help create The University of The Bahamas. Without private sector investment in higher education, the world would not have the ATM or online banking, or even blackberries,” President Hodder said.

“Our goal of increased private and public investment in The University of The Bahamas moved forward a big step today. I must also acknowledge the Government’s continued confidence and support of the University transition agenda under the leadership of the Minister of Education, The Honourable Carl Bethel, and the $7M recurrent increase in our base operating budget allocation that we received last year.”

Also, in recognition of the bank’s outstanding generosity and its deep commitment to Small Business Development, President Hodder said COB is also proud to affiliate the RBC brand with its own programme in small business training.

“The School of Business will offer its Entrepreneurship Lecture Series, specifically targeted to small business owners, for the next three years at no cost to small business owners,” she said.  “The programme will be called The RBC Entrepreneurship Programme for Small Business.”

“As you can see, we are building The University of The Bahamas,” she added.  “We are doing it, partnership after partnership, friend after friend. Please join us in celebrating RBC’s great gift.”