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Donor hopes to create world's best mining school

Sudbury's Laurentian University names new school of mines for Ned Goodman, CEO of Dundee Corp.
Dundee Corporation CEO Ned Goodman greets Laurentian University geology master's student Judy Lam Oct. 15. The university's new school of mines was named for Goodman, who has made a large contribution to its endowment fund.

Mining Hall of Famer Ned Goodman said his goal is nothing less than to make his namesake school of mines the best institute in the world.

Laurentian University in Sudbury officially named its new mining school after the CEO of Dundee Corporation Oct. 15 following a large contribution by the Goodman Family Foundation for an endowment fund set up for the school.

The contribution was made with the condition that any financial commitment, present or future, remains confidential.

However, university president Dominic Giroux said the Goodmans' contribution, along with others, brings the university more than halfway to the endowment fund's financial goal of $20 million.

Goodman is a geologist, securities analyst, portfolio manager and senior executive, and has invested in many mining operations. He was inducted into Canada's Mining Hall of Fame this year.

He was the driving force of the Dundee group of financial companies, which grew under his family's leadership from a $300-million base to a $50-billion mutual fund entity.

Goodman, who lives in Barrie, Ont., told Northern Life newspaper he doesn't have any connection to Greater Sudbury, other than investing in mining operations in the area.

He said he wanted to support the mining school because his family's wealth, for the most part, has come from the mining industry.

“This is the best ore body in the world,” and it deserves to have the best mining school, Goodman said.

“Mining is important, and it's especially important to this part of the country,” he said. “We're putting our name on something, trying to make it better.”

Goodman said he also plans to support Laurentian's Barrie campus.

“I want to do everything possible to help secure Laurentian University's new downtown Barrie campus, including attracting private gifts towards this important effort,” he said, in a press release.

“Barrie absolutely needs it, and Laurentian has so much to offer.”

Goodman's wife, Anita Goodman, said she thinks the donation is a “win-win situation.”

“You can only win by giving,” she said. “I'm very proud of my husband's accomplishments and of our family. This is great. I'm very happy. It all starts with young people.”

The couple's eldest son, Johnathan Goodman, a graduate of the Colorado School of Mines, will serve as an adjunct professor in the mining school.

Laura Katz, who is taking a master's degree in earth science at Laurentian, thanked the Goodmans on behalf of her fellow students.

“Because of this generous investment, I believe the students in mining-related programs at Laurentian will really benefit,” she said.

“We will be able to have more real-life opportunities and experiences in the mineral resources industry, and will be able to bring a lot to our workplace upon graduation.”

Giroux said it's exciting to have the Goodman name associated with Laurentian.

“To have the Goodmans associated with Laurentian, and vice versa, is extremely positive, and will definitely bring a lot of people internationally to take a closer look at Laurentian University.”

The mining school will act as the umbrella entity, not only for the university's current mining related programs such as mining engineering and geology, but help to create mining-related courses in other disciplines, such as business, Native studies and languages, Giroux said.

The university also has plans to create upgrading courses for those already in the mining industry, he said. It would also like to double enrolment in mining-related programs by 2020.

The Goodman School of Mines will report directly to the vice-president, academic and provost, and will be supported by a global advisory council made up of industry professionals, Giroux said.

Laurentian has conducted a global search for an executive director for the mining school, and should be able to announce the successful candidate by early December, he said.

Michael Atkins, Northern Life president and vice-chair of the university's board of governors, said it's impossible to overestimate the role the university plays not only in the region, but internationally.

“But the pace needs to be picked up, and we're doing it,” he said. “The investment from the Goodman family will be used to support the education of our future mining engineers, mining exploration professionals and leaders in the mining industry.”

With the Goodmans' contribution, Laurentian University has exceeded its Next 50 Campaign goal. The campaign, which still has six months to go before it ends, had set out to raise $50 million, but has now raised $63.3 million.

“It's a huge vote of confidence from the community, from alumni and from philanthropists from outside northeastern Ontario who recognize the excellence and the momentum of the university,” Giroux said.

“What's even more exciting is we have more gifts coming in the next few months. Success attracts success, and we also expect with today's announcement that other philanthropists will be inspired.”

After thanking the Goodmans for their contribution, Terry McGibbon, chair of the Next 50 campaign and the founder of FNX Mining, shared the story of how Ned Goodman provided the seed capital for the company.

“To make the long story short, that company went on to make eight discoveries, five mines put into production, over 2,000 employees,” he said. “Without Ned, that wouldn't have happened.”