The Killam Trusts

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The Killam Trusts were established in 1965 after the death of Mrs. Dorothy J. Killam, the widow of Izaak Walton Killam, a Canadian financier, for a time the wealthiest man in Canada. He died intestate in 1955, but before his death he and his wife discussed in extensive detail the scholarship plan on which the Killam Trusts were founded. Approximately one half of his estate went to the government as inheritance tax. It was used to found the Canada Council, along with similar funds from the estate of Sir James Dunn, also from Nova Scotia). The rest of Mr. Killam's estate was inherited by his widow, Dorothy J. Killam. In the ten years between his death and hers, she doubled the Killam fortune. Upon her death at Villa Leopolda, her estate in France, her lawyer Donald N. Byers, QC put into motion the plans the Killams had discussed during their lifetimes. Having no children of their own, the Killams decided to leave their fortune to further post-secondary education in Canada at the graduate studies level.

The Killam benefactions went to five Canadian universities: University of British Columbia, University of Calgary, University of Alberta, Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University and Dalhousie University. The Canada Council for the Arts also received Killam funds. The Council's Killam Research Fellowships are open to professors from all Canadian universities. The Council's $100,000 Killam Prizes in health sciences, natural sciences, engineering, social sciences and humanities, recognize lifetime contributions. The five Killam Prize Winners will travel to "Killam" universities each year to give a public lecture.

In the words of Mrs. Killam's will:

"My purpose in establishing the Killam Trusts is to help in the building of Canada's future by encouraging advanced study. Thereby I hope, in some measure, to increase the scientific and scholastic attainments of Canadians, to develop and expand the work of Canadian universities, and to promote sympathetic understanding between Canadians and the peoples of other countries."

Many students who have received Killam scholarships have gone on to be leaders in their fields.

The four Trustees to the Killam Trusts hold an annual conference every fall to meet with representatives from each of the Killam institutions to discuss scholarship related concerns, as well as ways to ensure the continued success of Canadian graduate studies.

The current four trustees are George T.H. Cooper, CM, QC, LLD, of Halifax; Jim Dinning, LLD, of Calgary; John S. Montalbano, CFA, of Vancouver; and The Honourable Kevin G. Lynch, PC, OC, PhD, LLD, of Toronto.

Further reading[edit]

  • How, Douglas. Canada's Mystery Man of High Finance, Hantsport, NS: Lancelot Press, 1986. ISBN 0-88999-305-X
  • How, Douglas. A Very Private Person: The Story of Izaak Walton Killam and his Wife Dorothy, Halifax: Dalhousie University Graphics Services, 2004. Originally published by The Trustees of the Estate of Dorothy J. Killam, 1976. ISBN 0-9691534-1-4
  • Nowell, Iris. Women Who Gave Away Millions: Portraits of Canadian Philanthropists, Toronto, ON: Hounslow Press, 1996. ISBN 0-88882-187-5

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