Zekelman School Of Business And Information Technology Opens In September
Wednesday, August 8, 2018
Blackburn News/ADELLE LOISELLE
If the name of St. Clair College’s new business school in downtown Windsor has a familiar ring to it, it might be because it is named after a local billionaire businessman.
Following a $5-million donation from Barry and Stephanie Zekelman, the college has announced it will name it The Zekelman School of Business and Information Technology.
“I like the fact that this school has vocational studies as well [as academics],” Zekelman told reporters following the announcement. “It allows kids to come out of high school, pick a career, don’t spend too much time in post-secondary education and actually get out into the real world and start earning money.
“We need those people. I’m having a hard time right now finding skilled trades, and skilled trades with business acumen,” he continued.
Zekelman owns steel tubing businesses on both sides of the border including Atlas Tube in Harrow.
College President Patti France says it is the largest single donation in St. Clair’s history, but Zekelman’s contribution is not confined to just money. He will also be a fixture in the halls when it opens in September.
Zekelman is looking forward to a bit a role change.
“It’s a good avenue for me to get out there and speak to them a little bit,” he admitted. “It gives me a background in the aspect of what they’re thinking. What to expect from them. How to attract those young minds into our business.”
The project has come together very quickly with talks starting mere months ago. France says the college only started looking for a location in April and signed the papers to move into One Riverside Drive in June. Over the past six weeks, the hammers have been swinging on the first floor to get the school open for its first 500 students this fall.
By January, 1,000 students will attend the school.
France says it was an easy decision to make.
“It literally is right across the street from the St. Clair College Centre for the Arts, so we don’t have to duplicate a lot of the student services,” explained France. “We want to make sure students have tutors, they have support, they have all of that; not just a teacher and a classroom.”
The project is a bonus for the City of Windsor too which has fought for years to fill the building to capacity. It is now at 98% capacity. Mayor Drew Dilkens also pointed to another selling point; the fact it will cost municipal taxpayers nothing.
The school, which will continue to have some programs on the main campus, will boast programs in disciplines like Data Analytics for Business, International Business Management, and the new Honours Bachelor of Business Administration (Information Communication Technology) degree which will be introduced in 2019.