Neysmith looks back on his time at Sir George Williams with fondness, crediting much of his success as an investment expert and entrepreneur to the formative experiences of his university days.
“Sir George was a unique, up-and-coming institution,” he says. “It felt homey and tight-knit, and the student population was really diverse.”
The first in his family to go to university, Neysmith was grateful to receive an entrance scholarship to help support him in his studies. Decades later, he and his wife Carolyn decided to return the favour to the next generation of students.
Over the years, the Neysmiths’ generous donations have helped establish the Carolyn and Brian Neysmith Graduate Fellowships and launch the Concordia University Press — a groundbreaking Concordia Libraries initiative to promote the free exchange of scholarly knowledge through the creation of an open-access scholarly publisher.
With the help of Brian’s brother John Neysmith, BComm 68, BA 72, they also established the Neysmith Family Undergraduate Bursaries. “Sometimes you want to perpetuate the thing that helped you,” says Neysmith of his philanthropic motivation. “If someone wants to go to university, finances shouldn’t stop them.”
Neysmith is a former member of Concordia’s Board of Governors, a former Concordia University Foundation director and long-time university volunteer.
While president of the Association of Alumni of Sir George Williams University, he was always encouraging others to give back and felt like he should step up to the plate as well.
Neysmith, who began his career managing pension funds before going on to start his own business, believes donating to a university is one of the best investments you can ever make.
“The older generation has an obligation to foster growth and invest in the future,” he says.
“These are the people who are going to advance the country, who are the future engines of our society. Investing in them is an investment in the future of Canada. You have to sow the seeds to one day harvest the wheat.”