Michael DeGroote named the 2017 Wayne C. Fox Distinguished Alumni.

News 100 blueBy Staff

October 3rd, 2017



Building community needs big bold steps with people who are prepared to put their resources behind an idea.

Michael DeGroote H&SMichael G. DeGroote was one of those people and last week McMaster University folk gathered for their annual Evening of Accolades gala to recognize DeGroote for his exceptional generosity to the University by naming him the 2017 Wayne C. Fox Distinguished Alumni

The Wayne C. Fox Distinguished Alumni Award was first presented in 2000 to its namesake, Dr. Wayne C. Fox. Each year the legacy of the award continues to recognize our outstanding alumni. It is presented to an alumna or alumnus of the DeGroote School of Business whose personal accomplishments, reputation and character have by association enhanced the reputation of McMaster University.

Twenty-five years ago, the DeGroote School of Business became the first named business school in Ontario with the unveiling of a brand new building at McMaster University. The man behind that building was Michael G. DeGroote.

His path to success is both inspiring and remarkable. Born in Belgium in 1933, DeGroote immigrated to Canada with his parents as a young teenager. He left school in Grade 9 to work the tobacco fields in Southwestern Ontario, in order to help his family make ends meet. At 18, he acquired a used truck and established a small trucking firm, carting farming supplies around the region.

After moving to Hamilton in the late-1950s, DeGroote purchased Laidlaw Transport Ltd. In the years ahead, he would grow the company into the largest school bus operator and third-largest waste management company in North America. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1990, and was awarded an honorary degree from McMaster in 1992. He currently resides in Bermuda.

Degroote accoldaes

Celebrating the Wayne C. Fox Distinguished Alumni Award tradition with past recipients: Back row from left: McMaster President Patrick Deane; David Feather, MBA ’89; Neil Skelding, MBA ’88; Paul Allison, MBA ’81; John Marinucci, B. Com. ’80; Gino Scapillati, B. Com. ’81, Len Waverman. Front row from left: Teresa Cascioli, B. Com. ’83; Michael G. DeGroote, Hon. Doc. ’92; David Williamson, B. Com. ’83; Ed Minich, MBA ’74.

A longtime friend and supporter of McMaster, DeGroote made global headlines in 2003 following a landmark $105 million gift to the University. The gift established a number of medical research centres, and facilitated completion of the Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Learning and Discovery (MDCL). The McMaster School of Medicine was renamed the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine in 2004.

A decade later, graduands of the School of Medicine were surprised when DeGroote took to the stage during Convocation to announce a new $50 million gift. The latter supports an increased focus on national and international health leadership at McMaster, and prompted the forming of the Health Leadership Academy (HLA) – jointly overseen by the Faculties of Business and Health Sciences – among other resources and research endeavours.

The occasion marked the School’s silver anniversary and took place last week at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto.

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