TWU GETS SOME TLC FROM ALUMNUS GARRY SKIDMORE
Spend enough time in any space and you begin to feel responsible for its upkeep. That stewardship was especially true for Trinity Western University alumnus Garry Skidmore, who attended the school in 1990 and graduated with a BA in Business in 1994. More than 20 years later, the President of Skidmore Group noticed that his shoes were touching the same carpet as he passed the same furniture in the same rooms of Douglas Hall where he once spent his time studying and socializing. Although he has fond memories aplenty—he and his wife, Kirsten, even met and married as TWU students—skidmore knew the next generation should have the opportunity to experience a modernized, updated space that evokes a similar sense of pride.
“Like anything in life, styles change,” he says. “Students want to live somewhere that looks appealing and has newer amenities.”
The buildings that need the most love are the dormitories, which Skidmore says haven't changed in over two decades.
“We all know the old cliché, `don't change something if it isn't broken,' but when it comes to dorms, I think you have to modernize. The university has started this process and many floors have been renovated.”
Further renovations include the carpets, millwork, desks, tiles, and glass; in the kitchen there are new cupboards, a sink, stovetop and oven. Students spend a lot of time in these spaces, including Skidmore's son, who is in third year at the university.
“I know since my time in the early '90s, the school has built a new commuter collegium, an extension to Fraser Hall, a full renovation of the gymnasium and athletic department, a new Reimer Student Centre, and most recently a newly built dormitory, Skidmore Hall, to house an additional 130 students,” he says.
Even with the upgrades, it was impossible to avoid the areas of the school that still needed some TLC. Skidmore took it upon himself to fund the renovations, one of the ways he gives back to the school that gave so much to him (he is also a mentor through TWU'S business program).
“TWU taught me how to think outside the books, how to think critically, and form my own opinions.”
As for why other alumni should consider giving back—either financially or with their time—skidmore thinks it's a no-brainer.
“You want the next generation to have an even better experience and opportunity to be inspired. Lots of universities fundraise to keep their facilities and departments growing so that the legacy of learning will continue to strengthen,” he says. “I love the new look and feel. Every time I step on campus I get flooded with memories and I'm full of pride, but also I'm excited for all the students who are chasing their dreams. Secretly, I wish I could do it all over again.”
This is the Skidmore family's second major philanthropic venture, including a recent donation to BC Children's Hospital. The Alex Skidmore Renal Dialysis Unit acknowledged the gift in the name of Garry's son, who has had two kidney transplants at the hospital.