Shannon School of Business Building Officially Opens Amidst Excitement and Major Funding Announcement for the Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business Studies

Today, Cape Breton University (CBU) President John Harker joined by Joseph Shannon, Chair of the Shannon School of Business (SSOB) Advisory Board and Cornerstone Campaign, officially opened CBU’s new Shannon School of Business building. With a ribbon cutting by Ruth Shannon, the event was a celebration of the Shannon family and donors whose commitment to CBU has helped make this newest addition to campus a reality. Launched in 2011, the Cornerstone Campaign is a $12 million initiative that has raised $8 million for a new school of business building and is nearing completion of its $4 million target for the Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business Studies.

“The opening of this magnificent building marks yet another significant milestone for Cape Breton University. It is apparent from the outstanding private sector donor support that CBU’s Shannon School of Business has the attention of several Canadian business leaders, and with good reason. Our students and graduates are impressing business communities the world over, with the sustainable and innovative approaches they are bringing to the complex issues of today and tomorrow. This new campus structure, combined with the strengths of fine faculty, staff and students, will cultivate an environment that nurtures tomorrow’s business professionals and leaders,” says CBU President John Harker. 

Inspiring is but one of the adjectives being used to describe this flawlessly designed building. Equipped with the learning space and technology required to be competitive in today’s post-secondary education and business environment, students engage with faculty in interactive classrooms and are able to study and collaborate in well appointed classrooms, learning areas and an inviting student lounge. The 25,000 square foot building is connected to the Verschuren Centre for Sustainability in Energy and the Environment, creating learning and research links between the worlds of business and sustainability.

“Today I am enjoying the great possibilities that this new facility holds for our students, the CBU campus and this Island as a whole,” notes SSOB Advisory Board Chair, Joe Shannon. “Board members, faculty and donors have responded because, like me, they believe in the power of education and the tremendous capacity that Cape Breton University business students have to make a difference in all our lives. This building is about vision and potential and I could not be more proud to have my family name associated with it.”

Today’s events were highlighted with announcements of significant funding in support of the Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business Studies by both levels of government. In addition, Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey (MK) and more nine private sector donors contributed to the goals of the Crawford Chair to establish mentorship opportunities, engage in meaningful and applicable Aboriginal economic development research and promote interest among Canada’s Aboriginal people in the study of business at the university level.

The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Labour, was on hand to announce a $750,000 commitment by Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation and a second $750,000 contribution by the Government of Canada’s Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. The Honourable Frank Corbett, Deputy Premier of Nova Scotia announced funding of $500,000 on behalf of the Province. Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey demonstrated their belief in the Chair’s activities at the outset contributing $100,000 and nine private sector donors added $976,731 to the overall total of $3,076,731 raised to date. The Chair is named in honour of Canadian lawyer and corporate boardroom leader, Mr. Purdy Crawford, a believer in the promotion and development of Aboriginal business practices and enterprises. “It is heartening to know that every aspect of the Chair’s goals are supported by such an important cross section of partnerships. I thank each and every one for their willingness to advance entrepreneurship, business investment and corporate skills training through the further education of Aboriginal youth. I commend CBU for building upon the strengths of existing relationships,” noted Crawford.

Emceed by John MacKinnon, Dean of the Shannon School of Business, the official event was a true Cape Breton celebration that honoured the generosity each and every donor. Musical entertainment was provided by the Men of the Deeps and the Barra MacNeils.


SSOB Opening