$3 million gift to Oshawa university from school’s own Chancellor leads to re-named faculty


Published March 19, 2024 at 3:12 pm

Mitch and Leslie Frazer Faculty of Education, Ontario Tech
Mitch and Leslie Frazer

Ontario Tech University Chancellor Mitch Frazer and his family have made a landmark $3 million gift to the university to establish a ‘Digital Innovation’ centre in an education faculty re-named in their honour.

Frazer and his wife Leslie believe education has the power to change lives, and it’s that philosophy that helped them make the decision to contribute to innovation in education with the launch of the Centre for Digital Innovation in Education.

Ontario Tech university recognized the “remarkable contributions” of the Frazers at a celebration in September, renaming the Faculty of Education the Mitch and Leslie Frazer Faculty of Education in recognition of the gift agreement.

The newly named faculty is one of just two donor-named faculties of education at Ontario universities and the third in Canada. It is also the first donor-named faculty at Ontario Tech.

“I strongly believe that education holds the tremendous power to transform lives and understand the significance of this impact firsthand – I am honoured to have our names forever connected to the Mitch and Leslie Frazer Faculty of Education,” said Mitch Frazer, who was appointed the school’s fourth Chancellor in 2020.

Frazer, affectionally known as the ‘Students’ Chancellor’ for his connection to students and alumni, is a noted lawyer and a managing partner in a Toronto law firm but grew up with modest beginnings and was the first in his family to get a university education. Leslie Frazer, in contrast, grew up in a family where everyone got university degrees.

The couple drew from those varied perspectives and the significant impact education can have on young lives played a pivotal role in their decision to make the gift to the school. Both believe education needs to evolve, and that in today’s digital age, innovation in education is vital to support all types of learning and learners.

“Leslie and I are committed to student success and ensuring future generations have access to digitally innovative and inclusive learning opportunities. We hope this gift agreement inspires our children, as well as all young students, to be active participants in their life journey.”

The Centre for Digital Innovation in Education will develop strategies and initiatives to enhance equitable education, promote digital wellness and foster innovation in education.

“With the Frazers’ remarkable support, the Mitch and Leslie Frazer Faculty of Education is poised to lead the way in educational innovation, while helping shape the next generation of leaders and educators who will drive positive change,” said faculty Dean Dr. Robin Kay. “Through intensive research and inquiry, the Centre for Digital Innovation in Education will make a tangible impact by exploring how technology-enhanced learning strategies can be leveraged to improve educational outcomes and address pressing societal challenges.”

With its new name prominently displayed outside the faculty’s home at Ontario Tech’s downtown Oshawa Charles Hall, the Mitch and Leslie Frazer Faculty of Education continues to build on its legacy of world-class teaching and research and also serves as a symbol of the “transformational power” of philanthropy, noted Ontario Tech President Dr. Steven Murphy.

“As the first donor-named faculty at Ontario Tech, this celebration marks a historic moment in our university’s 20-year journey,” Murphy said. “I am proud to commemorate this important milestone together. We are extremely grateful for the Frazer family’s philanthropic leadership, which is enabling Ontario Tech to guide the future of teaching and learning by developing initiatives that empower students and educators to succeed in a tech-focused world.”

insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising