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Alumnus Stephen Stohn Donates $1 Million to Help Make New Student Centre at Trent University a Reality

Transformational gift launches final phase of Trent University’s milestone $50 Million Campaign

The new Trent Student Centre is the vision of Trent students, past and present, so it is only fitting that one of the University’s most distinguished alumni, lawyer and Degrassi executive producer Stephen Stohn ’66, is helping to make the vision a reality through a generous $1 million gift announced at an event today at the site of the new Student Centre at Trent University.

Stephen Stohn’s transformational $1 million gift launches the final phase of the $50 Million Campaign: Unleash the Potential, Trent University’s most ambitious philanthropic campaign to date. Mr. Stohn’s gift is a significant milestone in the campaign, which has reached over 85 per cent of its target.

“The goal of the $50 Million Campaign is to enrich the student experience,” said Dr. Leo Groarke, president and vice-chancellor at Trent. “Stephen’s gift honours the very best of Trent’s tradition of empowering the student voice in a unique, interactive learning environment.”

“It is an honour to be able to contribute to an institution that reflects the elements of the Trent experience that have meant so much to my life, and could mean so much to the lives of Trent students in the future,” said Mr. Stohn, president of Epitome Productions and a Canadian entertainment lawyer. “This really is about unleashing potential.”

The highly-anticipated new Student Centre is envisioned as an opportunity to enhance Trent’s well-known outstanding student experience, offering new places and opportunities for students to socialize, learn, study and engage in life on campus. The centre will also provide space for Trent’s new Centre for Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation, which will equip students with the knowledge, tools, experiences and support they need to become successful innovators, entrepreneurs and change agents.

The building has been designed by Teeple Architects to complement Trent’s iconic Ron Thom architecture, and will be constructed and operated along environmentally responsible and sustainable principles.

Students are the driving force behind the new centre, providing $10.5 million of the $15 million needed for the project. The remaining $4.5 million will be raised through philanthropic gifts, like the one from Mr. Stohn, and other sources.

In March, students challenged members of the Board of Governors, faculty, staff and retirees to match the student levy over a five-year pledge. Ken Hartwick, the chair of the final phase of the $50 Million Campaign, announced at the Tuesday event that the Family Campaign, part of the Student Centre Challenge, has raised almost half a million dollars for the Student Centre to date.

“This is a doubling of the number of Trent University faculty and staff who give,” said Mr. Hartwick. “It shows great support for the students and is testimony to Trent University’s commitment to philanthropy.”

Construction of the new Student Centre begins in January 2016 with completion expected in September 2017.

“The demand for more student space on campus is more evident than ever. Bata Library is overwhelmed with the number of students coming in to study, and clubs and groups lack spaces to call their own,” said Alaine Spiwak, president of the Trent Central Student Association. “The new Student Centre will enhance the Trent student experience by not only providing more space, but by providing state of the art classrooms, an event space, club meeting rooms, and study space with beautiful views. Personally, it is exciting to be a part of this project as it is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Reflecting on his time as a Trent student, Mr. Stohn said, “Looking back, I realize that it was the extracurricular activities like helping to found the student newspaper and launch Trent Radio that formed a remarkable foundation for my entire career and life. The extracurricular life at Trent is more evolved today, and in a world dependent on social media and other digital interactions, it is vital to encourage getting together in person.”

For more information on the Student Centre, visit

Posted on Tuesday, October 13, 2015.

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