International Alumnus and World-Renowned Property Developer Gives $1 Million Gift to Trent University in Support of International Education


Creation of Justin Chiu International Scholarship and Rita Chiu Study Abroad Bursaries Celebrated at Special Event

Monday, May 25, 2009, Peterborough

Trent University students, faculty and staff gathered together with local dignitaries and members of Peterborough’s international community earlier today to celebrate a generous $1 million gift from international alumnus and world-renowned property developer, Justin Chiu, to create two new endowed funds at the University.

“Through this pace-setting philanthropic gift, Justin Chiu has made a critical investment in global learning for students at Trent,” said Bonnie M. Patterson, president and vice-chancellor of Trent, who was on hand at the event to welcome Mr. Chiu back to his alma mater. “At Trent we are proud of our reputation as a leader attracting international students and in international education experiences. This gift will only help to solidify the important role our University plays in offering outstanding educational opportunities to students from across Canada and around the globe.”

Mr. Chiu’s gift will establish two important new endowed funds: the Justin Chiu International Scholarship fund and the Rita Chiu Study Abroad Bursaries fund. The Justin Chiu International Scholarship will provide a full scholarship to an outstanding international student attending Trent University. The scholarship will not only grant a student the opportunity to experience the best in Canadian education at Trent but will also allow the University community to benefit from the knowledge and expertise of one of the world’s top undergraduate scholars. The renewable scholarship will be awarded every four years to an entering international student who demonstrates outstanding academic achievement, community service, leadership potential and financial need.

The inaugural Chiu Scholar, who will start at Trent in the Fall of 2009, was also announced at the event. Ms. Nguyen Thi Tu Ha of Hanoi, Vietnam intends to pursue a joint major in International Political Economy and International Development Studies at Trent. A graduate of the National Junior College of Singapore who aspires to a career in international law, Ms. Nguyen chose to come to Trent over offers from some of the most prestigious universities around the world when she became acquainted with the with Trent after reading Life of Pi by alumnus Yann Martel. Intrigued by Martel’s testimony that “Trent is a very personal place”, she was then glad to learn about Trent’s vibrant international community. Looking forward to starting her studies at Trent, Ms. Nguyen said: “Where imagination and possibility reign, I hope to achieve more and actualize my potential.”

The Rita Chiu Study Abroad Bursaries are named in honour of Justin Chiu’s wife, who took a one-year sabbatical leave from her job in Hong Kong to spend a memorable time with Justin at Trent in 1977. The bursaries are intended to encourage study and research abroad experiences and to offer support to those students who may think this unique educational opportunity is beyond their economic reach. The bursaries will help Trent students develop their sense of global citizenship by gaining learning experience outside of Canada. 

"In the 1970s, my family and I chose Trent because we felt that an outstanding small Canadian university would provide an excellent education on a very personal scale. A recent visit to Trent and information about the Trent International Program happily confirm that the human touch in higher education is still an essential part of the Trent student experience,” said Mr. Chiu, who was also presented with a Trent University Distinguished Alumni Award on May 23 in Ottawa. “It is my honour to be a part of the continuing vibrant international life of the community that welcomed me so warmly."

In his native Hong Kong, Justin Chiu is described as one of the most inspired and innovative property developers in the city. He is known as a man with many interests – balancing 30 years of international experience in real estate with activities like motorcycle riding, skiing and paragliding. Mr. Chiu graduated from Trent in 1978 with a joint degree in Sociology and Economics. Since returning to Hong Kong, he has worked for three blue-chip companies in Asia and is currently an Executive Director of Cheung Kong (Holdings) Limited. In addition, Justin is the Chairman of ARA Asset Management Limited, the Fortune Real Estate Investment Trust and the Suntec Real Estate Investment Trust. Since 2003, he has acted as an external advisor to the Chinese government through the Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

His vision and dynamism resulted in projects that have transformed Singapore’s waterfront and changed many other horizons throughout Asia. Under his leadership, Cheung Kong Holdings has become the #1 property seller in Hong Kong for many years in a row; this remarkable achievement has earned him the title “The God of Property.” An expert in turning crises into opportunities in adverse markets, he has led Cheung Kong through the current economic times to great success. This past April, his marketing division sold a record 1,000 new condominium units in one day, bringing in $1.8 billion Hong Kong dollars to the company.

One of Canada's top universities, Trent University is renowned for striking a unique balance between outstanding teaching and leading-edge research. The University is consistently recognized nationally for faculty who maintain a high level of innovative research activity and a deep commitment to the individual student. Distinguished by excellence in the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences and increasingly popular professional and graduate programs, Trent is dedicated to providing its students with an exceptional world view, producing graduates who are ready to succeed and make a difference in the world. Trent's Peterborough campus boasts award-winning architecture in a breathtaking natural setting on the banks of the Otonabee River. Together with its satellite campus in Oshawa, Trent draws excellent students from throughout the country and around the world.

Currently there are more than 550 international students at Trent – the majority are full-time undergraduates, the rest are graduate students and students of Trent’s English as a Second Language (ESL) program. Since the University’s inception, students from more than 110 countries around the world have attended Trent. In addition, over the past five years, more than 220 students per year have participated in a variety of Study Abroad opportunities around the world.

For more information about the Justin Chiu International Scholarship fund and the Rita Chiu Study Abroad Bursaries fund at Trent University visit


For more information about the transformational gift to Trent, please contact:
Dianne Lister, Vice President, External Relations & Advancement, Trent University, (705) 748-1011 x7207

For more information about internationalization at Trent, please contact:
Dr. A. Michael Allcott, Director, Trent International Program, Trent University, (705) 748-1280 or (705) 930.0768 (mobile)