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Investing in knowledge

Graduate Brian Neysmith’s gift secures launch of Concordia University Press and funds student awards
January 15, 2016
By Louise Morgan

A dedicated Concordian since his undergraduate years at Sir George Williams University, one of Concordia’s founding institutions, Brian Neysmith, BSc 66, is a former member of the Board of Governors, former Concordia University Foundation director, volunteer and parent of a two-time graduate.

His recent gift to the university is two-fold, with $100,000 designated to launch the Concordia University Press — a groundbreaking Concordia Libraries initiative to promote the free exchange of scholarly knowledge. It will become one of the few open access scholarly publishers in North America.

Concordia Libraries are at the centre of the student learning experience

“Libraries literally contain the whole world’s knowledge base. Students of all types need access to other people’s works and thoughts, so what better place than a library to invest in helping future students,” says Neysmith.

“I was always very fond of libraries. If I go back to my years at the university, I probably spent 90 per cent of my time outside class in the libraries,” he says.

While students today don’t wander around the stacks the way he did, even his young grandchildren are wired to their iPads and thirsty for knowledge. So for Neysmith, it’s natural that providing access today means investing in online resources.

The online Concordia University Press will enable researchers to produce, publish and share their work, advancing Concordia as a leader in scholarly communications and open access.

In addition to his gift to Concordia Libraries, Neysmith made a further $125,000 donation to create the Carolyn and Brian Neysmith Graduate Fellowships, and teamed up with his younger brother, John Neysmith, BComm 68, BA 72, to create the Neysmith Family Undergraduate Bursaries.

Carolyn and Brian Neysmith Carolyn and Brian Neysmith, with a wax figure of Samuel de Champlain, at Concordia’s Chancellor’s Builders Dinner on November 24. | Photo: Keith Race

As a student, Brian wanted to pursue a career in astronomy, yet a single visit to the bustling New York Stock Exchange on weekend trip to the Big Apple ignited his passion for the investment world. 

“My career path led me to working in pension funds and then I started my own business, but I really credit the success that I’ve enjoyed to the foundation I received at Sir George,” says Neysmith.

“As a university graduate, parent and grandparent, I feel I have a responsibility to support the development of our society in general. The more educated our society is, the better the economy runs and the better the life of its citizens becomes,” he says.

“In my case, I had the good fortune to go to Sir George — now Concordia — and to give back to the next generation is a great honour.”

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