Business education at Thompson Rivers University (TRU) is levelling up with a new name.
The newly named Bob Gaglardi School of Business and Economics honours a Canadian entrepreneur and philanthropist with deep Kamloops roots and a family legacy grounded in community service. Unveiled on Feb. 17, this is the first faculty or school to be named at TRU and represents the qualities Gaglardi himself values: personal integrity, hard work, strong ethics, innovative thinking, and the ability to face and overcome challenges. Together, TRU and Bob Gaglardi champion a game-changing business education in the heart of the BC Interior.
“This is a pivotal time for the school of business and it’s important that our name embodies the principles we encourage in our students,” says Dean of the Gaglardi School of Business and Economics Michael Henry. “This is the start of a strong partnership with the Gaglardi family rooted in our shared values, including developing ethical business leaders and entrepreneurs who will shape and grow their communities.”
Bob Gaglardi is the eldest son of Phil and Jennie Gaglardi, who were both influential in Kamloops. From them, Bob Gaglardi learned the importance of investing in community. With a dream to build, he founded Northland Properties in 1963 and, in the same spirit as his parents, found ways to create partnerships that supported communities throughout British Columbia.
Kamloops is still home
Gaglardi lives and works in Vancouver, but still refers to Kamloops as home. When his four children talked about how they could give back to honour their father and all he has accomplished, they came back to the place that holds significant meaning for the family.
With support from Northland, the Gaglardi family is donating $10 million to TRU to support future construction of an academic building for business studies. A portion of the gift is also designated for expanded programming, research initiatives and student financial support in business and economics.
The Gaglardi family supported TRU’s wish to name the business school to honour Bob Gaglardi and his enduring connection to the BC Interior.
“Kamloops is a special place to my family but, most of all, to my father,” said Bob’s daughter Andrea Gaglardi, vice-president of corporate development at Northland.
“It was important to us as a family to give these funds to TRU in support of the growth and future enrolment at their business school, while also continuing a legacy of contributing to the community that our family has long valued,” she says. “My father has always led by example, and I hope his story of determination and fortitude inspires generations of business students at TRU as they continue to learn and follow their dreams.”
The Bob Gaglardi School of Business and Economics aspires to be the school of business that connects the BC Interior to the world through experiential education and high-quality research. It’s in the midst of seeking internationally recognized accreditation that affirms its commitment to the highest standards in post-secondary education.
“This is the first time in TRU’s history that a faculty or school is being named. The impact associated with this donation extends beyond the monetary value and represents leadership for TRU,” says President and Vice-Chancellor Brett Fairbairn. “TRU strives to be a leader in diversity, a leader in community-mindedness, a leader in curiosity and a leader in sustainability. The Bob Gaglardi School of Business and Economics champions that mission as one of our flagship faculties.”
A namesake who inspires
Henry says Bob Gaglardi was the ideal candidate for this honour because of his strong roots in the community— also reflected in TRU’s commitment to community-mindedness—and his belief that people are at the core of his company’s success.
“Bob cares about people, and he cares about community. He’s created a successful business built on the foundation of being an honest and hardworking leader who deeply values people and credits their contribution to his company’s success,” says Henry. “This is the type of business leader we want to have as an inspiration for students at the Bob Gaglardi School of Business and Economics.”
Students from more than 100 countries study business at TRU and the Bob Gaglardi School of Business and Economics prepares regional, national and international learners to excel in both their workplaces and communities.
With its core business administration programs, the Bob Gaglardi School of Business and Economics is at the forefront of Canadian business education. Eight major programs allow students to specialize in one of the functional areas of business or in the field of economics. Most of the majors are designed to prepare students to pursue a professional designation after graduation, which are becoming critical for career success in many disciplines. Majors include: accounting, economics, entrepreneurship, finance, human resource management, international business, marketing and supply chain management.
The Master of Business Administration is TRU’s flagship graduate program and the most flexible Master of Business Administration in the country. Two more innovative master’s programs focused on environmental economics and management, students gain a deeper understanding of the balance between environmental impact and profit in business practice. These include the Master in Environmental Economics and Management, and the Master of Science in Environmental Economics and Management.
Five facts about Bob Gaglardi
- Bob Gaglardi was raised in Kamloops. His parents, Phil and Jennie Gaglardi, were Pentecostal ministers who dedicated themselves to their ministry and non-profit work throughout Kamloops, from hospital care to affordable housing. Phil also served as a provincial and local politician for more than 20 years. From them, Bob learned the importance of giving back to your community.
- His parents encouraged Bob to pursue an education. Wanting to map out his own life course and follow his dreams, Bob Gaglardi made the difficult decision to leave Kamloops in 1959 to obtain an engineering degree at LeTourneau University in Texas.
- Bob Gaglardi founded Northland Properties Corporation in 1963. The company now operates in five countries with 13,000 employees. Its assets include 63 hotels, 175 restaurants, two mountain resorts and three hockey teams, including the Kamloops Blazers.
- The first hotel Bob Gaglardi opened was the Sandman in Smithers, BC in 1963.
- Today, the growth and development of Gaglardi’s company is led by his four children: Tom, Andrea, Mitch and Devonna. Northland Properties is headquartered in Vancouver.