May 6, 2012
by Canadian Architect
Long-time advocate for a School of Architecture in Sudbury and recent recipient of the Community Builders’ Award, Blaine Nicholls has made a donation of $100,000 to the Laurentian University School of Architecture. The gift is the largest private donation made to the School to date, and will be used to support the education of architecture students.
“Blaine has been a stalwart supporter and a tireless advocate of the Architecture project,” said Laurentian University President and Vice-Chancellor, Dominic Giroux. “His family’s generous gift will truly help to realize the vision that he and the Laurentian University School of Architecture share.”
Nicholls led the Community Steering Committee that formed in 2007, and helped to lay the foundations of the Architecture project in Sudbury. A partner in the respected Sudbury architecture firm Nicholls Yallowega Bélanger until his retirement five years ago, Nicholls was recently honoured with the Community Builders’ Award of Excellence in Economic Development for his advocacy work. The award recognized him as a driving force behind the success of the project. The School has secured $42 million in funding from various levels of government, and is set to welcome its first students in September 2013.
Nicholls told a gathering of Laurentian alumni in Sudbury in April that he made the donation in memory of his mother, who left him the inheritance.
“I was saving this money for something special, and as the Architecture project became more real, I realized that this was the special kind of project she would have wanted to support,” said Nicholls. “She began teaching as a young woman during the war years, in a one-room schoolhouse in Saskatchewan. She was an educator, and she instilled in her family a belief in the value of education. So it just made sense to use the money this way and I’m sure she would be very proud to be supporting the Laurentian School of Architecture.”
The gift from Blaine and Lise Nicholls will be used to provide financial support to architecture students, for the curriculum’s Community Design/Build component, a central feature of the School’s teaching method.
“The challenge with design/build is that there are additional costs to be able to realize the “build” part of the equation,” said Nicholls. “Laurentian Architecture students will not only learn how to design; they’ll benefit from the hands-on opportunity to actually execute their designs and create real results.”
blaine nicholls. photo by marg seregelyi.