Landmark UVic Honour for Peter Gustavson

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In recognition of his philanthropy and support, the University of Victoria is renaming the Faculty of Business to the Peter B. Gustavson School of Business – marking the first time in UVic’s history that a faculty is being named after an individual.

“Peter Gustavson’s support over the years has had a tremendous impact on our ability to attract the most promising students to our business program,” says UVic President Dr. David Turpin. “Peter’s name is synonymous with integrity and entrepreneurial excellence. We’re very proud to be able to thank him for his generosity by naming the Faculty of Business after him.”

UVic made the announcement Oct. 22 in a ceremony in the Student Union Building’s Michele Pujol Room. Hundreds of friends, family members, students, faculty, and other colleagues filled the room. They gave Gustavson a standing ovation as he took to the stage to address what he called “the proudest moment of my business career.” 

Gustavson has been involved with the Faculty of Business since 2003 as an employer, member of its advisory board, executive-in-residence and chair of the Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year Award event that he helped establish in 2004.

Head of Gustavson Capital Corporation, a private equity firm that invests in small businesses, Gustavson recently acquired a majority stake in clothing manufacturer Marv Holland Apparel. Gustavson is the founder of Custom House, a Victoria-based global foreign exchange payments company. He sold the company in 2009 to Western Union.

“The day you sell your business for $370 million is a great day,” he told the audience. “This is a better one.”

In March 2010, Gustavson donated $10 million to the UVic business faculty — one of the largest gifts ever received by the university and the most substantial received by the 20-year-old business school. The funds will be used to finance scholarships, professorships and research, and to support innovation in student programs, all of which will help to ensure the Gustavson School of Business remains competitive with schools across Canada and internationally.

“I am extremely honoured and humbled to have my name associated with a business school that has such an outstanding reputation,” says Gustavson. “What they are teaching at UVic is exactly what made us so successful at Custom House.

“It’s my hope that my association with the Faculty of Business at UVic will help inspire graduates to aim high, dream big and, when they’re in a position to do so, give back to both the university and society.”

Connor Edwards is in his fourth year in the UVic business program and served as the student representative in the delegation that unveiled the new name of the business school. He says the decision was a “win-win” for everyone involved.

“The biggest thing, for me, is the increased recognition of the school,” he says. “Having a name allows us to distinguish ourselves through that person’s values.”

Dr. Ali Dastmalchian, dean of the faculty of business, presided over the ceremony, which concluded with Gustavson and the rest of the audience holding up red umbrellas emblazoned with the school’s new name and logo. 

“Peter Gustavson is a highly successful entrepreneur with an international mindset, a leader and visionary,” he says. “We are truly honoured to have his name on our school. With our unique brand of business education, and Peter’s name and ongoing support, we will take this school to a new level of excellence.”

The Peter B. Gustavson School of Business delivers a cohort-based, experiential and international education specializing in entrepreneurship, international business and service management. It offers a BCom degree, an MBA, a Master of Global Business, a Ph.D. in International Management and Organization, and a Graduate Certificate and Diploma in Entrepreneurship. More information is available online at www.gustavson.uvic.ca.

— Additional reporting by Brian Hartz