Big Donation to KPU’s Melville School of Business Will Help HR Students Gain Experience

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Third place. Not bad for her debut at HRC West, a human resources business case competition for western Canada that took place in 2019, said Gurneet Kaler, a Human Resources Management student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU).

“It completely exceeded our expectations given that it was all of our first time working together and participating in a case competition,” said Kaler. “Winning or losing didn’t matter as much as being proud of what my team and I were able to accomplish.”

In a case competition, student teams find solutions to a complex business case and presenting those solutions to a panel of judges. 

“Case competitions provide us with an environment where we can potentially get as close to professional practice as possible, while equipping us with the skills we can use when we are in real life settings,” she said. “It was such an impactful experience from start to finish. To be in that competitive environment again, would be an absolute pleasure.”  

Thanks to a new case competition fund at KPU, students like Kaler will be able to compete for many years to come. 

The endowed case competition fund is part of a historic donation of $8 million over four years by philanthropists George and Sylvia Melville to KPU’s business school, which has been renamed the Melville School of Business. 

KPU’s Melville School of Business is one of the largest undergraduate business schools in western Canada, with more than 250 business faculty, 3,500 full-time students and 9,000 students enrolled annually in one of 22 available programs. The Melville School of Business is accredited by the internationally respected Accreditation Council of Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). In 2006, KPU became the first Canadian four-year university business school to be accredited by the ACBSP and accreditation status was reaffirmed in June 2019. 

“The gift from the Melvilles will not only elevate the reputation of our school of business but will support advancements in leading-edge teaching and enrich the student learning experience,” says Stephanie Howes, dean of the Melville School of Business.  

The donation includes $3 million to create an advanced teaching and learning technology fund that will provide Melville School of Business students with state-of-the-art technology and equipment used in business and industry. For students in the bachelor of business administration in human resources management program, understanding and being familiar with new technologies is an important part of graduating confident and job-ready. 

“High-quality, relevant curriculum has been and will always continue to be the cornerstone of our school of business. We pride ourselves on ensuring that our graduates are workplace ready,” says Howes. “But beyond curriculum, the school’s branding and reputation are intrinsically tied to ensuring that our classrooms are equipped with the most up-to-date teaching technology, and that our faculty and students have access to the current technologies used in business and industry. George’s gift will help ensure we have that technology.”  

The donation also features $4 million in endowed student awards with $1 million to create the Melville School of Business Endowed Scholarship Fund for post-baccalaureate students. These scholarships ensure that post-secondary graduate studies programs, like the post-baccalaureate diploma in human resources management at KPU, are more accessible for prospective and current students looking to take their career to the next level. Alongside the $500,000 case competition fund and $450,000 incubator fund, this gift to the Melville School of Business will continue to provide students with opportunities for practical, hands-on learning experiences. 

“The generous investment in endowed student awards will provide meaningful support for hundreds of students and strengthen our students’ affiliation to their business school. Students will have more opportunity to build their skills in communication, teamwork and critical thinking through case competitions and work-integrated learning connections with industry,” says Howes. 

George Melville is chairman and owner of Melville Global Investments Inc., a diversified investment portfolio which includes ownership in Mr. Lube, Naramata Benchland Properties, and Bamboo World Kitchen, along with other public and private investments. 

Previously, he co-founded Boston Pizza International Inc. with business partner Jim Treliving and together they turned it into the T&M Group of companies, with operations throughout North America and sales of over $1 billion per year. 

Beginning in 2003, George Melville was a member of KPU’s board of governors for six years. As chairperson of the audit committee, he helped guide KPU during its transition from a community college into a university in 2008. In 2013, he received an honorary doctorate from KPU in recognition of his outstanding professional achievements. From 2014 to 2020, he served as KPU’s second chancellor. 

The Melvilles previously donated $500,000 to create the Melville Centre for Dialogue at KPU’s Richmond campus. They’ve also donated millions to organizations in British Columbia, including Surrey Memorial Hospital, St. Paul’s IBD Centre and the Rick Hansen Foundation. 

 


 

Jeff Yip is a Web Content Writer at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

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