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BMO Financial Group

September 23, 2010 17:00 ET

BMO Donates $2.5 Million to the University of Toronto to Expand Student Access to Higher Learning

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 23, 2010) -

Editors Note: A photo will be available with this release.

The University of Toronto announced today that BMO Financial Group has donated $2.5 million to support the expansion and renovation of the Rotman School of Management and to improve access to higher education for students from disadvantaged communities or non-traditional educational backgrounds.

The gift is a contribution to the University's upcoming fundraising campaign, which is in its early planning stages.

The Rotman School will receive $1.75 million to refurbish its Financial Research and Trading Lab, a vital teaching and research space that combines some of the most advanced computer hardware with sophisticated financial analysis software and databases. The lab is a focal point for research and training in a range of financial disciplines and Rotman programs including: investment strategy and portfolio management; financial engineering and risk management; trading; and analysis of the microstructure of markets. In recognition of the gift, the Lab will be renamed the BMO Financial Group Finance Research and Trading Lab.

The second part of the gift, worth $750,000, will be used to establish the BMO Financial Group Access to Higher Education Awards. This needs-based program will fund new scholarships for students who successfully complete one of U of T's two flagship access programs – the Transitional Year Program or the Millie Rotman Shime Academic Bridging Program at Woodsworth College – and get accepted into undergraduate studies in Arts and Science at U of T.

"BMO Financial Group has long been a leader in supporting education as a pathway to success," says U of T President David Naylor. "The University would like to thank BMO for this very generous gift that will both expand the reach of the Rotman School and open opportunities for deserving students to access higher education."

"The University of Toronto, and its Rotman School of Management, is one of the reasons why Toronto is one of the world's leading financial hubs," said Bill Downe, President and Chief Executive Officer, BMO Financial Group. "Governments, universities and financial institutions are committed to building on Canada's reputation as a global innovator and leader in risk management and financial analytics. The new BMO Financial Group Finance Research and Trading Lab will be a catalyst in this joint effort."

"We believe in U of T's mission and its commitment to making the best learning accessible to people, throughout the course of their lives and careers." said Rose Patten, Senior Executive Vice-President, Head of Human Resources and Senior Leadership Advisor, BMO Financial Group and a past Chair of the Governing Council at University of Toronto. "The BMO Access to Higher Education Awards will assist students who often face barriers to getting ahead - minorities, immigrants, people with disabilities, people from lower-income backgrounds - pursue post-secondary education."

The gift to Rotman is part of the School's $200 million fundraising campaign. The donation will enable the BMO Financial Group Finance Research and Trading Lab to continue to be an innovator in new curriculum development, business initiatives, software development and other activities. The renovations will more than double its teaching capacity by providing more workstations loaded with the latest financial analysis tools and databases. Students will be able to access the global financial community in a real-time setting and further extend their global reach and competitiveness.

The BMO Financial Group Access to Higher Education Awards build on the impressive legacy of the BMO National Scholars Program, which was established through a $3 million gift to the University during its previous fundraising campaign. This new set of awards will once again put BMO at the forefront of transforming lives and lifting communities through higher education.

"By supporting these awards, BMO will play a pivotal role opening up alternative pathways to our university, ensuring that highly capable students, regardless of personal history or circumstance, get a chance to build their confidence, discover their talents and contribute to society through the many opportunities that come with higher education," said David Palmer, U of T's Vice President, Advancement.

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