President Peter Swan, C.S.B. began the process in 1981 by preparing the College for the possible sale of this land when he realized that declining Basilian vocations would make continued sponsorship by our founders less central to our future, with significant negative longterm financial implications. This approach was continued by President James McConica, C.S.B. in the late 1980's when an actual sale transaction for the lands occurred, but was later abandoned by the developer in the face of deteriorating market conditions.
Since becoming President in 1990, I have made every effort to counter St Michael’s former reliance on its “living endowment”, the donated services of its priests and nuns (only one now remains teaching in the College division), to identifying efficiencies in our operations, and to building up our financial endowment. We have made huge strides toward this goal in the past decade. Our alumni participation rate in the Annual Fund and the average amount of gifts through this appeal are in the leading category at the University of Toronto. We have more than doubled our financial endowment, undertaken significant deferred maintenance projects, and built a widely admired new student residence (Sorbara Hall).
However, despite the best efforts of our staff, students and especially alumni and friends, St Michael’s still finds itself facing a chronic operating deficit of $1.2 million and a current cumulative debt of $7.2 million. Faced by these financial realities, but looking forward to a bright and secure future, the College is now taking the required steps to achieve financial stability and build for the future. The proposed transaction, with its many attendant benefits, far exceeds any offers which we have received during the last twelve years, and I invite you to read the article on the University of Toronto website (at http://www.news.utoronto.ca/bin6/040806-335.asp) to learn more about its details.
Wednesday, August 18, 2004
St Michael’s Also Announces Largest Donation in its History
St Michael’s turned a significant page in its history last week with the announcement of the intended sale of its parking lot and attached land along Bay Street, and its acceptance of the largest gift in the 152 year history of the College. The Collegium voted unanimously (10 to 0), to enter into negotiations with local developer Marco Muzzo for the sale, which combined with an unconditional gift of $5 million from the developer, would have a value of more than $42 million for St Michael’s. This was done with the sober realization that the sale, combined with the gift, an effective financial plan for the future, and most importantly, the continued support of all those loyal to the College, could secure the future of St Michael’s.