After a year of requested anonymity, 1970 Upper Canada College alumnus Stu Lang has stepped forward as the face behind the largest single donation in Canadian independent school history.
The value of Lang’s $11-million donation to support financial assistance was initially announced when the campaign launched at UCC’s Association Day homecoming celebrations last September. The donation is the leadership gift in UCC’s $100-million Think Ahead campaign.
UCC gave out $3.7 million of financial assistance during the 2013-14 school year to 170 boys who wouldn’t otherwise have means to attend. The key priority of the Think Ahead campaign is to ensure that 220, or 20 per cent, of UCC boys will receive financial support by 2015-16. This would place UCC among the top financial assistance programs at Canadian independent schools.
Lang was a receiver who helped the Edmonton Eskimos win five Grey Cups in the 1970s and early ‘80s before moving on to a successful career in packaged goods labelling as president of CCL Label Canada/Mexico and then CCL Label International. He retired as an officer of the company in 2006, but still serves as a director. Lang became head football coach at the University of Guelph in 2010 and led the team to its best-ever regular season in 2012. But his high school years still remain special to him.
“I spent five wonderful years at UCC and had access to life-changing opportunities both on and off the field,” says Lang. “My goal is to give back, to give deserving boys opportunities that are otherwise beyond their wildest dreams, and to encourage others to step up and support this transformative initiative.”
In honour of his gift, UCC launched the Lang Scholar Program to ensure a legacy of furnishing current students with leadership and other character development opportunities.
“Just as the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship recognizes and supports tomorrow’s leaders, the Lang Scholar Program will do so by giving up to 15 boys each year access to a unique enrichment program, complete with leadership training conferences, guest speakers and field trips,” says principal Jim Power.
The nine inaugural scholars were Philippe Archambault, Matthew Baker, Mattia Colangelo, Louis Christophe Hebert, Clayton Jeffrey, Philippe Martin, Jeffrey Misner, Liam Power and Akeil Zarudny.
“UCC has a long history of producing leaders,” says Lang. “And as the campaign slogan says, ‘Think Ahead.’ Great leaders have the ability to look around the corner, to see things coming before everyone else.”
“Stu Lang’s remarkable gift cements our ability to take a school with a great reputation and make it even greater,” says UCC board chair Andy Burgess ’83. “By embracing and evolving boys of potential, we’re assuring our legacy of leadership in boys’ education for generations to come.”