A trip to N.S. winery turns into conversation about $2 million gift

on Joyce and Steven Joyce stand in front of plans for the new Joyce Family Centre for Academic Support on Sept. 16. Jason Ginter photo.

By Jason Ginter

Nov., 2, 2016

Brian McMillan and his wife Jane were in Nova Scotia on a sunny Saturday, Aug. 27.

“Let’s go to the winery,” Jane said.

The sunshine faded a little after they got there, raining for a little bit.

As the McMillans sat in the courtyard, they could hear beautiful music playing.

“Can you believe this?” McMillan asked his wife.

Two men walked past the couple 15 minutes later.

“Oh my God, that’s Ron Joyce,” he said.

“Settle down,” said Jane.

McMillan jumped up and went over.

“Are you Steven Joyce?” he asked the younger man.

The two talked for a bit, then Steven asked Brian if he would like to meet Ron Joyce, his father.

On Sept. 16, McMillan, Holland College president, announced a $2 million donation from the Joyce Family Foundation to Holland College. It’s the largest single donation ever made to the college.

Shaun MacIsaac is board chair for the Holland College foundation.

“It gives me great pleasure to be here on this exciting day, to announce what is truly an extraordinary gift to Holland College and to the Holland College foundation,” he said.

The gift was significant for reasons more than just being the single largest donation, said MacIsaac.

“It will impact generations of students for years and years to come.”

Steven Joyce spoke on behalf of his father.

“There’s an obligation when we’ve done well in the hospitality industry, and there’s a lot of hospitality students here at this school.”

His father has had success with the Tim Hortons chain, he said.

“Part of that success is giving back to the community as a whole.”

To give back, they are donating to the college, he said.

“We’ve committed to Holland College $2 million in bursaries.”

Since meeting the Joyces, McMillan has noted their love for others, he said

“It’s become very evident that the Joyces are very caring and compassionate.”

The college will use the donation to help their students, he said.

“We have students who come here that need some support. We’re going to make sure we don’t leave any students behind.”

Pepe Rios is a second year student in the marketing and advertising management program at the college. He was international student representative last school year.

The donation will help the college improve equipment and facilities, he said.

“By doing that, students will have the necessary tools to prepare themselves a little bit better for the profession they are intending to make a living.”

Specifically, the academic support centre will be a great help to students.

“It will help by creating a space where students can go whenever they have doubts with a specific subject,” he said.

“It could also open up some space for a bigger food bank for students in need, and a place that could let students be heard.”