Buhler Centre Transforms Downtown Campus

Largest Private Gift Of $4 Million To UWinnipeg Supports Business Students And Strengthens Downtown

Buhler Centre is born at 460 Portage Avenue/architect's rendering/January 22, 2010

Buhler Centre is born at 460 Portage Avenue/architect’s rendering/January 22, 2010

WINNIPEG, MB – An historic $4 million dollar gift from Winnipeg business icons and philanthropists John and Bonnie Buhler to The University of Winnipeg announced today will support the construction of one of downtown’s signature buildings at 460 Portage Avenue, to be named the Buhler Centre, and will support business students with special scholarships.

$3 million of the donation will allow UWinnipeg to consolidate its entire Faculty of Business and Economics inside the Buhler Centre at the corner of Portage Avenue and Colony Street, the former site of the United Army Surplus store. The Centre will include state-of-the-art classrooms, computer labs and meeting spaces. The additional $1 million will create the Buhler Knowledge Access Fund to provide ongoing business scholarships within the Faculty of Business and Economics to outstanding students and those in need, including single parents and those with lower incomes.

John and Bonnie Buhler with Dr. Lloyd Axworthy (centre), President and Vice-Chanclellor, UWinnipeg, Jan. 22, 2010/photo by Kelly Morton

John and Bonnie Buhler with Dr. Lloyd Axworthy (centre), President and Vice-Chanclellor, UWinnipeg, Jan. 22, 2010/photo by Kelly Morton

John and Bonnie Buhler – dedicated philanthropists

John and Bonnie Buhler are generous and dedicated philanthropists and tireless Winnipeg promoters.

“We share the vision and passion for downtown Winnipeg’s future that Lloyd Axworthy (President and Vice-Chancellor, UWinnipeg) is creating, and feel strongly that investing in the revitalization of our downtown is the right thing to do,” said John Buhler, retired Chair of Buhler Industries Inc. “We travel to many other places and see what a difference it can make to the overall health of our city to have a thriving downtown. We hope the Buhler Centre, on a gateway corner into downtown, is helping with that renaissance.”

File created with CoreGraphic“We are passionate about making sure that tomorrow’s bright young leaders get the support they need to remain in school, especially those who may not have enough funds, like single parents,” said Bonnie Buhler. “We hope that providing scholarship support will mean more talented graduates will stay and contribute to Winnipeg and Manitoba.”

In addition to the Faculty of Business and Economics, the eco-friendly Silver LEED Buhler Centre will be home to UWinnipeg’s Division of Continuing Education and Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art.

“This historic gift from John and Bonnie Buhler is allowing us to add creative capacity to our surrounding neighbourhood,” said Axworthy. “The corner of Portage and Colony will be an important focal point downtown, blending education, arts, business and the community into one highly visible and accessible place: the Buhler Centre. Just as importantly, John and Bonnie Buhler recognize that investing in people is as critical to the success of our community as investing in sustainable buildings. The Buhler Knowledge Access Fund is a legacy that tells our next generation of entrepreneurs that they matter. They belong here.”

Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art adds vitality downtown

Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art envisions contemporary visual art exhibitions, research, education, publishing and residencies at its new downtown location in the 50,000 sq. ft. Buhler Centre.

”Plug In ICA is thrilled by the announcement of this major contribution to 460 Portage Avenue. As a co-owner of the facility, this furthers Plug In’s goal of presenting the most compelling and challenging contemporary art in the world in a new international centre for visual art on Portage Avenue,” said Anthony Kiendl, Director, Plug In ICA.

UWinnipeg’s Faculty of Business and Economics is one of the fastest growing on campus, with first and second year enrolments doubling since 2007. At the end of four years between 800 and 1000 students are expected to be in the program.

“The generous donation by Bonnie and John Buhler comes at a critical time for our Faculty, as we have outgrown our space and need to add new capacity,” said Michael Benarroch, Dean, Faculty of Business and Economics. “Our students and faculty will have access to enhanced, quality space inside the Buhler Centre with state-of-the-art technology and classrooms. And the new Buhler scholarship program means that we will be able to reach and support more students who want the opportunities in life that a high quality business degree affords them.”

Today’s donation is especially important for The University of Winnipeg’s $70-million A World of Opportunity Capital Campaign.

“Today’s announcement is worthy of true celebration as it marks the largest private donation to the University’s A World of Opportunity Capital Campaign,” said H. Sanford Riley, Chair, The University of Winnipeg Foundation. “This is an historic time for The University of Winnipeg and for downtown renewal. Through continued community support, the University has been instrumental in creating a vibrant urban core. Bonnie and John Buhler’s contribution in support of the 460 Portage Avenue Project will serve our students and downtown community for years to come.”

The $15 million project is a joint venture between UWinnipeg and Plug In and will be cost shared by the two parties. Construction at 460 Portage Avenue began in October 2009 and is slated to be complete this fall, 2010.

460 Portage Avenue backgrounder

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Diane Poulin, Communications Officer, The University of Winnipeg
P: 204.988.7135, E: d.poulin@uwinnipeg.ca

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