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$100,000 Philosophy Endowment Unleashed at Trent University


President Dr. Leo Groarke’s challenge has been met and will support philosophical debate at Trent

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

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.

Help support Philosophy at Trent or learn more about Trent’s Unleash the Potential campaign.

About Trent University

One of Canada's top universities, Trent University was founded on the ideal of interactive learning that's personal, purposeful and transformative. Consistently recognized nationally for leadership in teaching, research and student satisfaction, Trent attracts excellent students from across the country and around the world. Here, undergraduate and graduate students connect and collaborate with faculty, staff and their peers through diverse communities that span residential colleges, classrooms, disciplines, hands-on research, co-curricular and community-based activities. Across all disciplines, Trent brings critical, integrative thinking to life every day. Today, Trent's unique approach to personal development through supportive, collaborative community engagement is in more demand than ever. Students lead the way by co-creating experiences rooted in dialogue, diverse perspectives and collaboration. In a learning environment that builds life-long passion for inclusion, leadership and social change, Trent's students, alumni, faculty and staff are engaged global citizens who are catalysts in developing sustainable solutions to complex issues. Trent's Peterborough campus boasts award-winning architecture in a breathtaking natural setting on the banks of the Otonabee River, just 90 minutes from downtown Toronto, while Trent University Durham – Greater Toronto Area, delivers a distinct mix of programming in the east GTA.


Kate Weersink, media relations & strategic communications officer, Trent University, (705) 748-1011 x6180 or

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