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McEwen School of Architecture: Who is Rob McEwen?

Rob McEwen and his wife Cheryl donated $10 million today to the Laurentian School of Architecture — or, as it is now officially named, the McEwen School of Architecture at Laurentian University.
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Rob McEwen and his wife, Cheryl were presented with a model canoe as a placeholder for a canoe that Laurentian architecture students will be building for them. Photo by Matt Durnan.

Rob McEwen and his wife Cheryl donated $10 million today to the Laurentian School of Architecture — or, as it is now officially named, the McEwen School of Architecture at Laurentian University.

In case you are curious about McEwen, here’s a bit of a bio on the man and on the charity work he and his wife undertake.

A legendary figure in the gold mining industry, McEwen is the founder and former chairman of Goldcorp —the world’s largest gold producer by market capitalization — and the current chair and chief owner of McEwen Mining Inc.

McEwen began his career as an investment banker at Merrill Lynch, and in 1990 jumped into the mining industry. Three years later, he had begun a consolidation of five companies that would take eight years to complete. 

The resultant company, Goldcorp Inc., has become a gold mining powerhouse. As CEO, McEwen took the company’s market capitalization from $50 million to more than $8 billion, and its share price grew at a compound annual rate of 31 per cent.

In 2000, he hit on an innovative idea (some called it crazy) to launch the “Goldcorp Challenge,” sharing all of the company’s proprietary geological data from as far as 1948 publicly in hopes outside experts would tell him where to find the rich deposits he and his team had struggled to identify. 

The challenge offered $575,000 in prizes, and in the end more than 50 previously unidentified sites were mapped, of which 80 per cent yielded significant gold reserves valued at more than $6 billion.

Above ground, McEwen is a trustee on the board of the X Prize Foundation, the non-profit organization that designs and manages public competitions intended to encourage technological developments that could benefit mankind.  

McEwen is also a member of the “vision circle,” an elite group of the X Prize Foundation’s largest contributors.

With his wife Cheryl, McEwen dove into philanthropy in 2003 after his mother and sister both passed away within four months of each other. With a goal to relieve the strain on the health care system by bringing to bear new treatments, reduced hospital stays and lower costs, they have donated more than $50 million to health care and education causes.

Their donations have led to the establishment of the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine at Toronto General Hospital and the McEwen Leadership Program at St. Andrew’s College. 

In addition, they have made significant donations to the Schulich School of Business, the Margaret Cochenour Memorial Hospital, Lakefield College and Red Lake Regional Heritage Centre to further their efforts to be the best in their respective fields.

McEwen is also a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board, Schulich School of Business; International Society of Stem Cell Research (ISSCR), Global Advisory Counsel; and CEO (Chief Executive Organization) and WPO (World Presidents’ Organization).

In 2007, he was appointed to the Order of Canada, the country's highest civilian honour.