Providing essential skills for the future and the importance of liberal arts

Colin Ross St. Mary’s University Donor Profile

Colin Ross

For over 20 years, Colin Ross has generously donated to a variety of initiatives at St. Mary’s University, contributions that have had a direct impact on the lives of countless St. Mary’s students.

Having been originally approached in 1998 to handle some cash management needs for the University, Colin was originally inspired to support St. Mary’s after having met former St. Mary’s University President Terry Downey, whose leadership qualities and vision for the institution made investing time and capital in St. Mary’s an easy decision.

“The first inspiration I had to be involved with St. Mary’s University was meeting Terry Downey who was just a phenomenal leader. Both Terry and [current St. Mary’s President] Gerry Turcotte embody a lot of the best skills and leadership qualities that I see in many of the CEOs of companies that I invest in. I can relate to how difficult it is for them to be doing what they’re doing and I find their tremendous success to be inspirational.”

Colin is inspired by the tangible results from St. Mary’s and the direction that the university is going but believes that the core liberal arts education that St. Mary’s offers will have the largest impact going forward.

“I think the liberal arts education St. Mary’s has as a core focus is essential for where the world is going. To be able to critically think your way through conflict resolution and being able to compromise, communicate and collaborate effectively are skills that liberal arts provide students. These are essential skillsets of the future.”

“My personal philanthropy philosophy is based on results that you can tangibly see. I see students at St. Mary’s graduating each year educated in the areas I think the world is going to need the most.”

With the ever expanding reach of technology and the impact that it has both on jobs and how the world views itself, Colin believes that the skills students receive from St. Mary’s are worth investing in today to ensure they are around tomorrow to help keep the world balanced and peaceful.

“It’s about seeing where the world is going and where the future of education is going. Education should focus on skills that are not going to be replaced by technology. While we embrace technology, we should invest in problem solving and people skills education.”

“St. Mary’s does a great job creating graduates who are able to utilize those critical skills of communication, problem solving and the ability to compromise.”

Having witnessed St. Mary’s grow to where it is now – with nearly 1,000 students, Colin credits St. Mary’s for changing his opinion on what a university could look like.

“When I first became involved with St. Mary’s there were less than 100 students and I thought to myself how beneficial it must be for students that wanted to go to post-secondary and who thrive in a small classroom setting. I place myself in that category.”

“Though St. Mary’s is bigger now – I feel it still has that same quality.”

Philanthropy has been present in Colin’s life, having witnessed the power that charitable endeavours can have thanks to the work done by his parents, his wife Cindy, and his business partner Sean Messing.

“My parents being involved in certain charitable things inspired me in a way that normalized what philanthropy means and what it does. It is easy to be inspired when you surround yourself with people that are so heavily involved in philanthropy.”

Colin continues to support St. Mary’s as a believer in the university’s mission to create engaged citizens and compassionate members of society.

“My biggest hope is that St. Mary’s continues to develop students with the skills necessary for the future world.”

We are truly thankful for the commitment and dedication our community of donors such as Colin continue to show St. Mary’s.