March 18, 2019

Haskayne's Mathison Hall project receives $5M gift to support student space

UCalgary alumnus Rob Peters, co-founder of Peters & Co. Limited, invests in next generation of business students
University of Calgary alumnus Rob Peters, co-founder of Peters & Co. Limited, and his son Brennan Peters, a student in the dual degree program between the Haskayne School of Business and Schulich School of Engineering. Photos by Kelly Hofer, for the Haskayne School of Business

Alumnus Rob Peters, co-founder of Peters & Co. Limited, and his son Brennan Peters.

Kelly Hofer, for the Haskayne School of Business

Calgary-based investment firm Peters & Co. Limited has been instrumental in the growth of Canada’s energy industry since the company opened its doors in downtown Calgary in 1971. With a strong belief in Calgary’s potential, a knack for building strong relationships, and a dedicated effort to help finance emerging junior producers, Peters & Co. Limited was a foundation to the success of many people.

Now, the company’s co-founder Rob Peters is turning his attention to future generations of business leaders who will soon make their own impact in the business community. On March 14, University of Calgary President Ed McCauley announced a $5 million gift from Rob Peters and family to the Haskayne Capital Expansion Project.

The $90 million initiative will result in a second building, Mathison Hall, for the Haskayne School of Business, as well as renovations to Scurfield Hall. In recognition of his generous gift, a student gathering space in Mathison Hall will be named for Rob Peters.

“My hope is that this space will offer the students a break from the intense schedule of their studies,” says Peters. “Surrounded by a welcoming, sophisticated and comfortable décor, this space will encourage students, faculty and staff to stop, make time to connect, support, refresh and refocus before returning to their studies.”

From left: Rory Peters, Brennan Peters, Ruth Peters, Rob Peters, Haskayne Dean Jim Dewald and UCalgary President Ed McCauley.

From left: Rory Peters, Brennan Peters, Ruth Peters, Rob Peters, Jim Dewald and Ed McCauley.

Kelly Hofer, for the Haskayne School of Business

Mathison Hall taking shape

The expansion project was announced in 2018 with a commitment of $50 million from the university and a $20 million gift from Ronald P. Mathison, who worked for Peters & Co. Limited from 1987 to 1999. Construction work is slated to begin in the fall of 2019.

The design for the four-storey 10,000-square-metre building is progressing on schedule for a fall groundbreaking. Mathison Hall will be connected to Scurfield Hall and feature classrooms, undergraduate and graduate student spaces, an auditorium, an event space and once complete in 2022, will help further propel the business school as a leading destination for business studies.

“I am proud to have been friends with Rob for many years and know him to be a remarkable supporter of Calgary’s business community. On behalf of the Haskayne School of Business and our students, faculty, staff and alumni, thank you, Rob, for this very generous gift that will benefit students for decades to come,” says Haskayne Dean Jim Dewald.

Rob Peters, left, and Ronald P. Mathison, whose gift of $20 million to the Haskayne Capital Expansion Project was announced in June 2018. When Haskayne’s second building, Mathison Hall, opens in 2022, a student gathering space will be named in recognition of Rob Peters.

Rob Peters and Ronald P. Mathison, who gave $20 million to the Haskayne Capital Expansion Project.

Kelly Hofer, for the Haskayne School of Business

Rob Peters looks back on the early days

Peters, BA’67, recalls his own days as a university student fondly. 

“I started my post-secondary education in economics at the University of Alberta majoring in skiing! Every weekend, I would get into my green Triumph TR3 sports car, without a heater, and take the long drive from Edmonton to the mountains. Two years later, the University of Calgary was magically created. For me, it was a life-changing event,” he says.

Peters and a business partner founded the company shortly after graduating from UCalgary.

“We had a lot of fun and success at the firm creating an opportunity for many University of Calgary alumni to make significant contributions to the local community. The expansion of the business school and Mathison Hall provides me with an excellent opportunity to give back and try to impart some of the business beliefs that I followed in my career,” he says.

Peters says the support Calgary’s leaders have shown to the university was an inspiration for him to get involved. Peters had also previously worked with Jim Dewald before his tenure as dean and says their friendship played a role in making the gift.

“Jim’s innovation and leadership at the Haskayne School of Business is taking the school to new heights. I am also pleased to join my respected peers Dick Haskayne, Murray Edwards, Geoff Cumming and Ron Mathison in contributing to the future success of the students and community.”

Peters’ $5-million gift is part of the university’s $1.3 billion fundraising campaign Energize: The Campaign for Eyes High. Thanks to the generosity of Rob Peters and other philanthropic leaders, friends and supporters, the campaign is now 90 per cent toward its targeted goal. The campaign is helping the university invest in new student experiences, innovation in teaching and learning, and fostering deeper connections with the community.