Those with a passion for philosophy have come together with Dr. Leo Groarke, president and vice-chancellor of Trent University, to unleash a $100,000 endowment to enrich Trent’s Philosophy program and aim to foster public discourse and debate, student development, and community engagement.
Dr. Groarke propelled this endowment forward with a personal gift of $50,000 in honour of his two brothers Louis and Paul Groarke, who also hold doctorate degrees in Philosophy. Then challenged others to help him raise a total of $100,000 for Philosophy endowments. The completion of this challenge marks another milestone announcement as part of Trent University’s $50 Million Campaign: Unleash the Potential.
“Dr. Leo Groarke leads by example. His challenge shows how strong the philosophy community is at Trent. It was met with excitement and reinforced the growing culture of philanthropy as a vital way to support students, engage the community, and enable activities that advance thought exploration,” said Sherry Booth, director of Philanthropy at Trent University. “We hope others are inspired by Dr. Groarke to support endowments across the University.”
Unleashing this endowment will ensure thought-provoking public philosophy events that involve students, alumni, and others interested in philosophy. This fund will highlight the importance of philosophy at Trent and recognize President Groarke’s two brothers who studied and taught philosophy at a time when the importance of foundational disciplines like philosophy were undervalued.
The philosophical community at Trent is thriving. Recent Ryle Lecture Series brought a packed house to Bagnani Hall for Professor Catherine Wilson’s Life According to Nature lecture. The series, named after renowned British philosopher Gilbert Ryle, is known for bringing in very significant philosophers to talk to students at Trent, alumni, and the Peterborough community. The success of this year’s event propelled an anonymous alumnus to issue a $15,000 matching challenge; calling all philosophers to double their impact for the Gilbert Ryle Lecture Series and to help ensure this strong tradition continues for years to come.
With support from members, alumni, and friends, the Philosophy program at Trent has been in a unique position to expand possibilities for students and faculty. One of Canada’s most wildly imaginative writers and Trent alumni, Yann Martel ’81 looks back on his Trent experience as a Philosophy student fondly, saying: “I liked the smallness of the classes and the accessibility of the professors. It was a very stimulating environment.” Students majoring in Philosophy at Trent have gone on to all kinds of success after graduation, a testament to the fact that graduates of the Trent Philosophy program are well prepared for life after university.