Two University of Waterloo donors honoured for their outstanding philanthropy

Monday, November 7, 2016

As we celebrate National Philanthropy Day® on November 15, we are thrilled to congratulate two of the University of Waterloo’s most generous supporters for being named 2016’s Outstanding Philanthropist and Outstanding Foundation by the Golden Horseshoe chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Both donors were nominated by the University of Waterloo for their outstanding commitment and leadership in all aspects of philanthropy.


Outstanding Philanthropist - Ron Schlegel

A visionary, an innovator and an advocate, Ron Schlegel is changing the face of care for seniors.  

Ron was a professor of Applied Health Sciences at Waterloo for 19 years.He also served on the Board of Governors and in various other volunteer leadership roles.  

In 1980, Ron made his first gift to the University, and for more than three decades, has generously supported research chairs, academic and research programs, scholarships, capital campaigns, Conrad Grebel University College, St. Jerome’s University and the Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program.

Ron also had a vision for a unique facility where health care professionals, researchers, students and educators would learn, discover and work side-by-side. In 2005, he established the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging (RIA). Last year, the RIA moved into its new home in the Centre of Excellence for Innovation in Aging on Waterloo’s north campus. The Centre is also home to a long-term care facility operated by Schlegel Villages. Already, the Centre’s impact can be seen in new research and care practices related to pain management, nutrition, vascular health and other important areas vital to the wellbeing of aging populations.

In addition to his extraordinary investment in the University of Waterloo, Ron has supported a wide range of philanthropic organizations here at home, across Canada and around the world. In honour of his lifelong dedication to helping others, Ron has received many accolades, including being named to the Order of Canada.


Business leader, entrepreneur and philanthropist Norman Esch believed that education and entrepreneurship were foundational to our nation’s prosperity.

a female engineering student works on a motor

Norman saw a clear connection between brilliant ideas, early financial support and the success of startups which drive prosperity in our communities. In 2004, he established the Esch Foundation to support promising young students in the engineering, architectural and transportation sciences at a number of Ontario universities. The Esch Foundation has been instrumental in bridging the gap that exists between education and industry experience, nurturing young talent through early-stage opportunities.

Norman passed away in 2010 at the age of 92, but his legacy continues to be felt across the University of Waterloo, particularly by students in our Faculty of Engineering. The Foundation has established graduate and undergraduate awards and scholarships, provided vital funding for Capstone Design Projects, helped countless students start their own business, take part in valuable training and work experiences and receive expert mentorship from industry leaders.   

The University of Waterloo is most grateful to David Esch and the trustees of the Esch Foundation for continuing the tradition of generous support for innovation and entrepreneurship first established by Norman Esch over a decade ago. 

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