Graduate students at Trent University will benefit from the establishment of a new scholarship named in honour of the namesake of Trent’s iconic Bata Library, Thomas J. Bata, announced today at a special event at the University which saw a renewed relationship between the Bata family and Trent University.
The new Thomas J. Bata Graduate Scholarship is an endowed $5,000 per year scholarship, available to a deserving graduate student from any country studying in any of Trent’s 15 distinguished graduate programs. The inaugural recipient of the scholarship, to be selected from an open application process by the dean of Graduate Studies in consultation with the director of the Trent International Program, will be awarded with the prize for the first time in May 2017.
At the event, Mrs. Bata said her husband exemplified, in his business, and personal endeavours, “Leadership, innovation, entrepreneurship, community responsibility and global citizenship – the values recognized in this scholarship.” The Bata family has supported undergraduate prizes and awards at Trent in the past, and expressed interest in supporting some of the excellent and deserving graduate students that Trent University attracts.
Mr. Bata was one of Trent University’s original honorary sponsors and a member of Trent’s Board of Governors between 1963 and 1973. He led the successful fundraising campaign to help build the first four buildings on the Symons Campus, and gave generously of his time and resources to the University, including a significant gift to help build the library, which opened in September 1969.
“The Bata family have always been motivated by a heartfelt desire to serve the community. Trent has been lucky to be a part of this, both through their philanthropy and their contributions to our decision making,” says Dr. Leo Groarke, president and vice-chancellor of Trent University. “Trent and Peterborough are fortunate to be a part of the Bata family’s international reach. The Thomas J. Bata Library, at the very heart of our Symons campus, is testimony to their lasting contributions.”
As part of the scholarship announcement, President Groarke also unveiled a portrait of Thomas J. Bata by internationally acclaimed portrait photographer, Onnig Cavoukian. This portrait will hang in a place of honour near the library doors. Dr. Groarke also rededicated the heritage plaque that honours the unique history and design legacy of the Thomas J. Bata Library, which is known around the world as a masterpiece of modernist architecture and represents the pinnacle of architect and master planner Ron Thom’s career.
When Mr. Bata was on site at Trent to open the library that would bear his name in 1969, the Bata Library was intended to house over 350,000 volumes with a seating capacity for 1,000 students. In response to the University’s growth, technological advances, and the changing needs of students and faculty, Trent University has launched a space renewal plan that will explore ways to transform the Thomas J. Bata Library into a modern, people-centered learning hub – a vibrant environment for research and discovery.