Ivey Business School receives $3.5M from BMO for new program, course upgrades

Fund will create leadership certificate program meant for all Western undergraduate students

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Ivey Business School has received a donation of $3.5 million from Bank of Montreal (BMO) to the school's Ian O. Ihnatowycz Institute for Leadership to create a new cross-campus leadership certificate program available to all undergraduate students at Western.

Announced on April 3, BMO's gift will also strengthen the institute's ‘Leadership Under Fire' course for HBA students and enhance its outreach to small- and medium-sized businesses through a free leadership playbook.

This gift will advance Ivey's leadership programming beyond the business school and into the wider Western community, further expanding the Institute for Leadership's mission of developing global citizens who have strength of character, strive to make a difference, and contribute to the flourishing of teams, organizations and societies.

“We are incredibly grateful for BMO's generosity and valued partnership,” said Sharon Hodgson, dean of Ivey. “I believe that BMO's purpose to ‘Boldly grow the good in business and life' is in perfect alignment with Ivey's purpose and the Institute's objectives. I am delighted to see the multipronged way this gift is having impact: Ivey students benefit from more access to ‘Leadership Under Fire', Western students benefit from cross-campus programming and we are also supporting small- and medium-sized businesses in the community.”

“BMO is proud to support the Ivey Business School and to help drive new approaches to cross-faculty student programming and experiential learning,” said Mona Malone, BMO's chief human resource officer and head of people and culture.

“BMO's purpose is focused on driving progress for a thriving economy, sustainable future and inclusive society. Through this partnership, we are investing in the development of future leaders, supporting local businesses and empowering both to navigate future challenges with resilience,” she said.

With BMO's support, the institute will create a new certificate program in purpose-driven leadership. The program will allow students to develop an appreciation for their strengths and opportunities for growth in the various dimensions of leader character, and work on ways to develop those dimensions. It will also allow them to develop an informed, well-rounded perspective of leadership and purpose.

The gift allows the institute to create a cohort of up to 75 students from across campus annually in their third and fourth years of studies, and with support of the broader university, there are plans to grow the Certificate in Purpose-Driven Leadership over time.

“The power of the certificate program is the interdisciplinary approach we are taking to develop purpose-driven leaders fueled by character,” said Dusya Vera, executive director of Ivey's Ian O. Ihnatowycz Institute for Leadership.

“This will be an innovative certificate that will build bridges between Ivey's approach to developing business leaders and the many other faculties at Western that offer their own application of leadership within the particular context of their discipline or profession.”

“Leadership development transcends disciplines,” said Western President Alan Shepard. “To have the most impact on society, it is clear that developing tomorrow's leaders must extend beyond business schools and encompass future leaders across all fields. I'm thrilled that BMO has generously offered their support in creating such impact.”

Building on Ivey's success as an international leader in case-based learning, the team behind the new program will develop cases that go beyond the business context and will look to feature materials across the public, private and non-profit sectors ensuring relevance to students from other faculties.

In addition to the new certificate program, BMO's gift will immediately go towards doubling the number of students who can take the ‘Leadership Under Fire' course.

The gift will also help enhance the Institute's outreach to small- and medium-sized businesses through the creation of a Purpose-Driven Leadership Playbook, a digital resource that will distill the Institute's research on leader character and provide a practical approach to embedding character within an organization. This playbook will allow small- and medium-sized business owners and managers to benefit from the school's work and learn how to elevate their organizational purpose by leveraging the principles of character leadership.

Western and Ivey enjoy a long and multi-faceted relationship with BMO. For more than a century, BMO has been the university's bank and is a long-standing donor. Western alumni serve in top management positions, and BMO employees are particularly involved with Ivey, serving on leadership advisory boards. BMO and its entities have donated more than $9.5 million to Western and Ivey to date, including support of the Richard Ivey Building.