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U of C faculty of kinesiology gets $20 million gift from Taylor family

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The Taylor Family Foundation is contributing to sports science research at the University of Calgary through a $20-million donation. The gift will go toward a new state-of-the-art facility for the faculty of kinesiology.

U of C president and vice-chancellor Ed McCauley said while the university is already a top sports science school in North America, the latest contribution from the foundation will broaden its horizons.

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“The Taylor Family’s long-standing support and vision has truly helped make the extraordinary possible at UCalgary, and we look forward to opening this iconic new facility to further our leadership in human movement, sport, recreation and wellness,” McCauley said.

The gift makes the Taylor Family Foundation the largest individual donor to the university, with contributions exceeding $100 million over more than 40 years.

“Everything that I’ve done in my life I’ve always tried to manipulate so I had an edge — I could win in business, in pursuing my wife,” Don Taylor said jokingly.

“I only like winning and like supporting winners. And when it came to honouring my obligation to share my successes, I try to pick winners. And it doesn’t come as any shock to anybody in this room, I’m sure, that it wasn’t a great struggle for me to decide to back kinesiology — this is one of the best winners the University of Calgary has,” he said.

Taylor Family Foundation donation to the University of Calgary's Faculty of Kinesiology
A pair of gold Adidas shoes are shown, a gift from the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Kinesiology to philantropist Don Taylor on Tuesday, March 19, 2024. The event marked a $20-million donation by the Taylor Family Foundation to the Faculty of Kinesiology. Brent Calver/Postmedia

The 25,000-square-foot facility will pave the way for advanced research in exercise physiology, neuroscience and nutrition. It will be the new home for the Human Performance Lab, a multidisciplinary centre that explores mobility and longevity. It will have hundreds of pieces of equipment ranging from multiphoton microscopes and cell incubators, to motion-capture systems and instrumented treadmills.

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“Rankings are important, but what we actually do in terms of translating the knowledge that we create every day in the faculty of kinesiology to improve the lives of Calgarians, as well as people and athletes around the world, is truly remarkable. Part of this comes from the legacy of the 1988 Olympics,” McCauley said.

Nick Holt, dean of the faculty, said, “We are set to be a global leader for decades to come with this new facility. Building upon our world-renowned excellence, we look forward to preparing more leaders in research and industry, and accelerating collaborations with leading companies around the world.”

Taylor Family Foundation donation to the University of Calgary's Faculty of Kinesiology
University of Calgary President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Ed McCauley, Benno Nigg, Don and Ruth Taylor, and Dean of the Faculty of Kinesiology Dr. Nick Holt pose for a photo at an event to announce a $20-million donation by the Taylor Family Foundation to the Faculty of Kinesiology at the University of Calgary on Tuesday, March 19, 2024. Brent Calver/Postmedia

“The contributions that the Taylor family has made to the university are really unbelievable; they enable us to move into the echelon of top research universities around the world. The breadth of the support that they’ve provided, ranging from individual chairs to the Taylor Family Digital Library to the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning, and now this transformative gift, will enable us to take the faculty of kinesiology to new heights,” McCauley said.

The new facility is expected to break ground as early as this fall, with occupancy in 2025.

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