Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis donate $21 million to the University of Waterloo

University of Waterloo Davis Building
By Bla1ze on 8 Feb 2012 04:35 pm EST

No strangers to philanthropy, Mike Lazaridis and his wife Ophelia have a long record of donations to the University of Waterloo in their past and that generosity has one again been shown with Mike and Ophelia having announced their pledge of $21 million to science and mathematics faculties at the University of Waterloo:

“With their unparalleled generosity, the Lazaridis family enriches our capacity to attract exceptional individuals to join Waterloo as researchers and students,” said University of Waterloo president Feridun Hamdullahpur. “The problems of the world will keep getting more complex and interconnected, and we want to be the first port of call for people looking to solve intractable problems.”
“History has shown us that a relatively small investment in fundamental research in physics and in science today can lead to huge innovation tomorrow. Given the current challenges in the world, the need for such innovation is greater now than ever,” said Mike Lazaridis, founder and vice chair of the board of Research in Motion. “I believe that the University of Waterloo, this province and this country can play a leadership role in this regard, and we are pleased to support it.”

In total, the Lazaridis family donations have exceeded $123 million, including $102.5 million to establish the Institute for Quantum Computing in the Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum Nano Centre, scheduled to open in the fall of 2012.

Source: University of Waterloo

Reader comments

Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis donate $21 million to the University of Waterloo


True. How about "leave the company alone and go do something else," then? That would work for me as well.

He's feelin generous lately! The guest house, univ. Of waterloo; good for him. I'm glad he's helping make sure the next generation is ready to tackle the challenges that are in front of us.

On October 23, 2000, Lazaridis founded the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics with $100 million of personal funds, along with $10 million contributions from fellow RIM executives Jim Balsillie and Douglas Fregin.

On April 30, 2004, Lazaridis and his wife together donated $33.3
million to the University of Waterloo for its Institute for Quantum

On May 3, 2005, Lazaridis gave an additional $17.2 million to the
University of Waterloo, primarily to aid the construction of a new
building jointly shared by the Institute for Quantum Computing and the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology.

On June 4, 2008, a further donation of $50 million to the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics was announced.

As of June 5, 2009, by contributing a new gift of $25 million,
Lazaridis and his wife have donated over $100 million to the Institute
for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo.

my profound respect for ML doubled with his good deeds and indeed very generous, he is the man every Canadian should be proud of even-though I am not one I have very high respect for him.

Yeah he's been donating greatly for a long time as bla1ze just showed. I was only trying to get a little chuckle by saying lately, :D and its great he doesn't flaunt it, very humble guy from what it seems

I absolutely love this guy! Mike L. is the kind of citizen that would make any country proud. He really cares about education and since he has the means to help he does.

Just one more reason to feel great about having a BlackBerry Bold 9930 and 32GB Playbook.

I could not care less what others say against RIM. For me it is BlackBerry all the way.

He has been and continues to be one of the most amazing and generous individuals in Canadian history! ... His record is unrivaled in his significant contribution to this world-class university! ...

Thank you Mike!!!

He has been and continues to be one of the most amazing and generous individuals in Canadian history! ... His record is unrivaled in his significant contribution to this world-class university! ...

Thank you Mike!!!

I can't describe how happy news like this makes me. My Ambition is to go to Waterloo for Nanotechnology engineering (which i am likely to get in) which was mainly financed by Mr.Lazaradis (close to 100$M for the program). They have contributed more to my future than they know. All I can say thank you, and out of my support, always buy RIM.


You will enjoy U of W and the city. It's a great place to live. I came here for school many years ago and stayed. I have now raised a family of my own here, with 3 children who all look forward to attending post secondary schools in this region in a couple years.

i am in nanotechnology engineering, 3rd year, the nano center will be open in mid/late september. be prepared, the courses are very tough especially 2nd and 3rd year

I Understand that the courses will be hard, believe me, I understand that the next 4 years will probably be spent studying and doing homework when I'm not at school, but the way I see it, Nano is the future, and something I want to work for. Where have you done your co-ops, out of curiosity?


I am in University of Calgary and working on my Undergrad Petroleum Geology degree. I am doing a minor in computer software modeling of subsurface oil, gas and economic minerals (REE) plus earthquakes.

Looking forward for my Master and PhD in software modeling and nanotechnology on predicting earthquakes at Waterloo! Thank you Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis.

if Waterloo were to ever make it to the elite list of technology hubs like Silicon valley, Seattle etc then ML deserves all the credit for laying that foundation.

Waterloo IS an elite tech city. There are many major tech firms hq here. Google also been hiring in the area recently. Waterloo is known for repatriotizing Canadians from silicon valley....

I understand it on it's way becoming one but not there yet, 99% of the people outside of Canada have no idea where Waterloo is


its one of the top computer science and Engineering schools in the world ...

40 percent of all tech company startups are associated with University of Waterloo and the area .... yeah .. its a Silicon Valley North ....

Actually you are right on! Yes, it is tax time in Canada. But still, as a student who depend on funds for Master and PhD program, I think it is sweet we get funds like this.

That is of course a very generous donation, but it seems that the home page of Crackberry.com is becoming an advertisement for anything at all that BB does that is any way philanthropic. This new gesture to make us all think that by doing things like this will change the face of the company is a wasted effort. Way to little, way to late. You are preaching to the converted, or the about to become unconverted very shortly. We are interested in the when, when, when, and how of the new products.....not drawings, not crystal ball predictions, but something based in reality. CB seems almost desperate to put something on that page every day that makes CB sound like Mother Theresa.

Dude...get off the hate-wagon...

There's absolutely nothing wrong with the biggest blackberry fans (Crackberry bloggers) to acknowledge the good stuff that the builder of their favorite company is doing.

If you can't accept that then get your "news" somewhere else

nothing for Laurier??? wow. very kind donation but it is a two school town. conestoga college too in kitchener....once again very kind and generous but nothing for the regions other post secondary schools? any one else want to comment on this?

Mike L's passion is physics...He is a physicist....all his donations are primarily physics based. Hence the UofW connection.

He also went to Waterloo, and was funded by Waterloo (atleast somewhat) when he was trying to start RIM. Waterloo was essential to starting RIM and thus a major contributor to his wealth. Thus, he would help uWaterloo over laurier and conestoga, both of which are not science and physics based institutions.


are you joking?? .. University of Waterloo is consistently rated top university in canada .. most innovative .. and so on ... its the MIT of Canada ...

The brightest of the bright go there and graduate there ...

the others are minor league in comparison ... seriously ....

He is desperate to save his legacy which has been forever tarnished by his refusal to step down as co-ceo of RIM until forced to do so. Sad.

Wrong. He has been making sizeable donations for more than 20years to research and development in tech. What is sad is people like you trolling sites like this and taking any opportunity to spew some garbage in an attempt to instill negativity.

Mike L. A great and proud Canadian! It's interesting that he's been giving back to the community (significant $ contributions) since his thirties. Looking foward to hearing him speak in Vancouver next week (AAAS conference).