At the age of 89, businessman and philanthropist Michael DeGroote passed away. He was well recognized for his support of McMaster University.
Mr. DeGroote quit school in Grade 9 to support his family after immigrating to Canada at the age of 14. After buying Laidlaw Transport, he began a long career of business consolidation, eventually making Laidlaw the largest school bus company and third-largest waste management company on the continent.
As a well-known philanthropist, the billionaire was the first to have his name associated with a business school in Canada and the first donor to have a medical school named in his honor in that country. He contributed $105 million to McMaster University in 2003, where both structures were located. It was the largest financial donation in Canadian history at the time.
According to David Farrar, president of McMaster University, “Michael really valued the significance of education as an immigrant who only went to ninth grade before he had to forge his own way.”
In the 1980s, Mr. DeGroote started supporting McMaster with a $3 million donation. Over the years, he would give more than $175 million to Hamilton University.
Mr. Farrar claimed that one of Mr. DeGroote’s business talents was striking a balance between ongoing expansion and smart management. “Michael began with one truck and grew it into one of the biggest transportation companies in the nation. He had a natural ability to manage risk as an entrepreneur.
Mr. DeGroote would go on to become one of Canada’s youngest billionaires, was an Officer of the Order of Canada, and at one point controlled the Hamilton Tiger-Cats football franchise.
The donations from Mr. DeGroote, according to Paul O’Byrne, dean and vice-president of McMaster’s Faculty of Health Sciences, had a significant impact on the institution and allowed it to build a new, four-story research building and admit more medical and nursing students. Additionally, it made it possible for McMaster to launch a new program focused on medical leadership.
Dr. O’Byrne stated that Mr. DeGroote’s “really quite a specialness” was that he was “really quite determined to do something really useful, particularly in the educational sphere,” adding that Mr. DeGroote’s inability to pursue higher education was a factor in his resolve to support scholars and researchers.
We’re saddened to learn of the death of our friend and philanthropist Michael DeGroote, whose generosity has touched the lives of thousands of students and McMaster community members. https://t.co/S4gDI7MAoA @DeGrooteBiz @machealthsci
— McMaster University (@McMasterU) September 15, 2022
“I think he understood that that may have been something he was handicapped by,” said the professor. “He did incredibly well despite the fact that he didn’t have tertiary education.”
Dr. O’Byrne claimed that he frequently met with Mr. DeGroote. He praised his intellect, friendliness, and the interest he showed in individuals. “He had a kind word for everyone, always.”
However, Mr. DeGroote’s illustrious career was not without controversy. In 1993, he and a number of associates settled claims of insider trading in Laidlaw Inc. shares by paying $23 million to the Ontario Securities Commission, one of the largest settlements of its sort at the time.
Mr. DeGroote made an investment in 2011 that he would subsequently describe as unfortunate and embarrassing. He teamed up with three shady businessmen to purchase and rebrand a chain of casinos in the Dominican Republic, two of whom had felony histories of possessing illegal weapons. After Mr. DeGroote sued the guys and claimed that they had stolen some of the $112 million he had financed them, the company collapsed.
According to a 2015 joint investigation by The Globe and Mail and CBC’s fifth estate, as the partnership broke down, the Montreal Mafia established itself on the ground in the Dominican Republic, with some mob figures attempting to seize control of the casinos by force. Mr. DeGroote asserted that he was in no way responsible for organized crime getting engaged in the conflict. According to Ontario court records, Mr. DeGroote’s lawsuit is still active, and the next hearing is planned for September 28.
Mr. DeGroote’s planned retirement in 1990, which ended within months because he grew “bored,” according to his obituary, was followed by a number of other business initiatives. After his original retirement, he bought a number of diverse businesses, including a significant auto store in the United States called AutoNation and a waste management company.
Four children, 12 grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren are left behind by Mr. DeGroote.
His obituary noted that a private funeral will be placed in his hometown of Langton, Ontario, and added that nothing was better for him than spending time with his loved ones.
His creativity, empathy, grit, and direct sense of humor will be remembered.
What was Michael DeGroote’s source of income?
He acquired the trucking business Laidlaw Transport in 1959, which he later expanded into the largest school bus company and third-largest trash management company on the continent.
For what is DeGroote well-known?
DeGroote is renowned for its top-notch research and academics. In 1960, the university invented problem-based learning, which later became known as the McMaster model. It was the first university in Canada to provide a co-op MBA program and to develop a degree that combined business and the humanities.
How reliable is DeGroote School of Business?
One of Canada’s finest universities is the DeGroote School of Business in Burlington. According to the Masters in Finance 2022 World University Rankings, it is ranked #121–130.
Why does DeGroote suit me so well?
Students get the opportunity to apply what they learn in the classroom through practical experience thanks to DeGroote. Students have the chance to hone their decision-making, critical thinking, and resume-building skills. Experience-based learning has been shown to help students become leaders.
Michael DeGroote is missing.
Mr. DeGroote was the owner of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League in the 1970s. After selling Laidlaw Inc. to Canadian Pacific in 1988, Mr. DeGroote retired to Bermuda in 1990, where he still resides.