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$1.5 million gift to promote healthy living and athletics

R. Howard Webster Foundation invests in Concordia’s PERFORM Centre and Stingers student athletes
November 28, 2017
By Marta Samuel

A longstanding partner has generously renewed its support of Concordia. The R. Howard Webster Foundation has invested in the next generation of preventive health research and student athletes with a $1.5-million gift to Concordia. 

“We are grateful for the R. Howard Webster Foundation’s continued support,” says Concordia President Alan Shepard. “This important gift enables Concordia to experiment boldly with state-of-the-art programs, which ensure a higher quality of life for Canadians through our PERFORM Centre and help recruit top athletes to our Stingers teams.”

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The gift to Concordia continues the foundation’s commitment to initiatives that foster a greater good for Canadian society.

“We are deeply dedicated to higher education,” says Howard Davidson, BComm 80, who is president of the R. Howard Webster Foundation and also serves as chair of the Concordia University Foundation. “It is part of our responsibilities as citizens to support our institutions and ensure future leaders are equipped to move us forward.”

Preventive health for better living

A portion of the new gift will support a scientist in nutrition, lifestyle research and bio-imaging, as well as a healthy living program for seniors at Concordia’s PERFORM Centre — an integrated and comprehensive environment that promotes healthier lives through research, education and preventive-based programs.

“Concordia is developing a new avenue of thinkers and scientists,” says Habib Benali, interim scientific director at the PERFORM Centre and professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “Donor support is vital in helping us improve health across the population.”

The R. Howard Webster Foundation Scientist in Nutrition, Lifestyle Research and Bio-Imaging will investigate the effects of daily routine on long-term health using innovative imaging techniques. The lead scientist will also collaborate with researchers to better understand the factors that promote a healthy lifestyle.

Community members who take part in the R. Howard Webster Foundation Healthy Living Program for Seniors will learn how to prevent disease and injury through healthy diet and exercise.

Funding for PERFORM’s cutting-edge research will help Concordia establish itself as unique contributor to the field of health research in Montreal and beyond.

Full potential on and off the field

The second focus of the R. Howard Webster Foundation gift will support Concordia student athletes. R. Howard Webster Athletic Financial Awards will permit Concordia to recruit and retain top talent in football, and men’s and women’s hockey and basketball.

Approximately 80 per cent of Concordia’s student athletes take on part-time work to help pay their tuition — while balancing training and competition with studies.

“Support for our student athletes enables them to focus their energies on what will help them succeed in the classroom and in their sport,” says D’Arcy Ryan, BA 98, MA 03, MBA 09, director of Recreation and Athletics.

R. Howard Webster Foundation invests in Concordia’s PERFORM Centre and Stingers student athletes From left to right: D’Arcy Ryan, director of Recreation and Athletics; Alan Shepard, president of Concordia University; Peter W. Webster, chair of the R. Howard Webster Foundation; Shawna Brayton, student-athlete who represents the Stingers’ rugby team; Habib Benali, interim scientific director at the PERFORM Centre; Bram Freedman, vice-president of Development and External Relations at Concordia.

The R. Howard Webster Foundation Healthy Athlete Program will help provide nutritional assessments for student athletes and educate them on healthy eating. Additional support for the R. Howard Webster Foundation Sports Medicine Athlete’s Care Initiative will ensure Stingers athletes have access to holistic athletic care, including nutrition, assistance with physical injuries and mental health support.

Philanthropy through generations

The late R. Howard Webster was chairman of the Imperial Trust Company and at one point owned The Globe and Mail. He later became a founding partner of the Blue Jays Baseball Club.

Inspired by the philanthropic work of his late father, he founded the R. Howard Webster Foundation in 1948 as a way to give to charitable organizations and novel projects and programs in Canada.

To date, the foundation has contributed more than $200 million to various causes across the country.

At Concordia, the foundation has invested in sports medicine, student scholarships and fellowships. In the 1990s, the foundation helped establish the R. Howard Webster Library at Concordia’s Sir George Williams Campus, among other initiatives and campaigns.

“We’re great believers in education, youth and research,” says Peter W. Webster, chair of the R. Howard Webster Foundation and honorary vice-chair of the Campaign for Concordia. “The end goal is to make society better and Concordia is doing this very well.”

About the Campaign for Concordia: Next-Gen. Now

The Campaign for Concordia: Next-Gen. Now — the largest appeal in the institution’s history — will raise $250 million to support the university’s ambition to rethink higher-education, teaching and research.

Launched November 1, 2017, the Campaign for Concordia will support the university’s nine strategic directions. According to rankings by the Times Higher Education, Concordia is among the top two per cent of universities in the world and number two in North America for universities under 50 years old. The Campaign for Concordia will support research and teaching that benefit the university’s 48,000 students, 7,000 faculty and staff and more than 200,000 alumni. Learn more at


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