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Sean Taylor (BSc '95)

The tangible things we built: Sean Taylor (BSc ’95) reflects on giving at Laurier

“I was a scholarship recipient,” says Sean Taylor (BSc ’95), “So I feel a level of personal responsibility to make sure that those who come after me have the resources to get a good education.”

Taylor has a particular insight into philanthropy: his first job after graduating from Laurier was in the office of Development and Alumni Relations, helping out with The Campaign for Laurier in the mid-90s.

He got the job through the network he built working on the campaign as a Student Union representative during his final years at Laurier. Now he’s a Laurier donor himself. Twelve years ago he set up a life insurance policy with Laurier as owner and beneficiary, and more recently, he’s updated his will with a bequest for his alma mater. Half of this gift will go to scholarships, and the other half will have no restrictions and will support the university’s highest priority needs.

Taylor believes that a capacity to respond flexibly to changing or unexpected priorities needs to be built into a gift that really makes a difference.

“Having worked in the development office at Laurier,” he says, “I’m a little more familiar with what goes on with fundraising at Laurier. I'm comfortable with the notion that there’s always going to be a group of people there who can identify the most important need for the institution at the time, and that they should make decisions about how to best allocate the resources.”

“I understand that what is an issue today may not be an issue tomorrow,” says Taylor. “Perfect example: the pandemic! No way would I have known this was going to happen when I graduated in 1995!”

Taylor’s career has taken him from fundraising for non-profits to sales and marketing in the consumer goods industry in Canada and the United States. He returned to Canada about four years ago to care for his aging father, putting his career on hold to take on caregiving responsibilities, while working part-time in property management. After his father passed and he returned to full-time work, he was able to take a serious look at his own future financial planning, and where he wanted to leave his mark.

“I think a lot of middle-aged people can relate to that these days,” he says. In his late forties, he sees his cohort transitioning out of their career-buildings stages and into the complex situation of balancing careers and caring for aging parents and/or children.

“Many of us have been doing estate planning, contemplating end-of-life situations,” Taylor says. “It’s an educational process for us. Now you start thinking: what do I want to leave behind?”

As Taylor looks to his future impact as a legacy donor, he also celebrates the long-lasting memories of his time at Laurier and the influence the school has had on his life.

“Regardless of what you do in university, the important thing is that you learn how to learn,” he says. “One of the things that I enjoyed about Laurier was that I had a bunch of roommates in other disciplines, and after Sunday night sports, we’d have deep philosophical conversations. That really stretched my thinking about how people approach life and I carried that with me all the way through, the ability to look at problems from more than one angle, and work on teams.”

Taylor is especially proud of the work he accomplished on The Campaign for Laurier, with the Students’ Union.

“When I go back to campus and I see the Fred Nichols Campus Centre, I’m proud I was part of it, that we students got behind something,” he says. “Partly because of Fred, and also it’s one of the tangible things we built, that plus the scholarships we supported.”

A life-long Laurier supporter, Taylor’s impact on our school will last well into the future.



If you are interested in making a bequest to Laurier, please contact Cec Joyal, Development Officer, Individual & Legacy Giving, Development & Alumni Relations 519.498.4168 |

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