Holland College receives record $2 million donation

Stephen Joyce speaks at Florence Simmons Hall at Holland College in Charlottetown on Sept. 16. Brenlee Brothers photo.

By Brenlee Brothers

Sept. 23, 2016

It was a sunny morning in August when Holland College president Brian MacMillan and his wife Jane visited a winery in Nova Scotia. The setting was perfect. They were seated in the courtyard, eyes on grapevines, when they heard this beautiful music. It was coming from Judy Guthrow.

Brian turned to his wife.

“Can you believe this?”

After about 15 minutes, two men entered the courtyard and walked in the direction of the music.

Brian turned to his wife again.

“Oh my gosh, that’s Ron Joyce!”

“Settle down, Brian,” his wife responded.

During one of the breaks, a well-dressed man started walking across the courtyard. Brian jumped up.

“Are you Stephen Joyce?”

Yes, the man responded. About 10 minutes later he walked back over.

“Do you want to meet my dad?”

“Yes,” Brian said.

He followed Stephen to their table and spoke with the two men.

It was a $2 million conversation.

It became very evident the Joyces are caring and passionate about people. They want to make a difference in the lives of our youth and young adults, Brian MacMillan said.

About a month after meeting in the winery, Ron and Stephen Joyce were at Holland College to announce the Joyce Family Foundation was creating a $2 million endowment to the school, the largest donation in the college’s history.

The money is for 25 entrance bursaries a year, valued at $1,000 to $2,000.

“The Joyce Family Foundation’s $2 million gift will be invested as an endowment, thereby producing funds that will be of benefit to the college and our students for generations to come,” said Macmillan.

“Their gift will help our students overcome many of the barriers that face in achieving post-secondary success.”

The bursaries will be available to Canadian students who need financial support, Macmillan said.

Amanda Myers is the student union president. She thanked the Joyce Family Foundation for investing in students.

“Your support not only encourages, motivates and inspires us as students, it also ensures that we, our families and our communities strive by instilling a sense of social responsibility that enriched the lives of us all.”

The private foundation was created by Ron Joyce, and reflects the deep-rooted sense of responsibility to give back to this community, said emcee Shawn MacIsaac.

“The Joyce Family Foundation’s primary focus is to provide access to education for children and youth with significant financial need or facing other social, economic barriers to success.”

Stephen Joyce said there is an obligation to give back when you’ve done well in the hospitality field.

His father, Ron, founded the Tim Horton’s chain in 1960. He has had a lot of success in his career and part of that success is giving back to the community, Joyce said.

“We’ve committed to Holland College $2 million to be invested in bursaries, student support, mentorship and tutoring. It’s an ongoing and perpetual gift for the life of the college.”