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Alumnus gives the valuable gift of study abroad experiences to SFU Beedie undergrads

Jan 29, 2024

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The Merrill family, left to right: Jack Merrill, Sydney Merrill, Vera Merrill, Allan Merrill

The Beedie School of Business is thrilled to announce a $1.5 million donation commitment from alumnus Allan Merrill (BBA ’00) to support new study abroad opportunities for undergraduate students.

This generous gift lays the foundation for the Merrill Family Global Campus Experience that will provide support for students to take courses in small groups led by a Beedie instructor at an international partner institution. The new initiative will complement our existing international exchange programs and leverage additional cultural and regional learning opportunities. The inaugural Merrill Family Global Campus Experience is scheduled to take place during the summer of 2025, and will build to multiple course offerings and locations per year.

SFU Beedie recognizes the immense value derived from studying abroad in helping students grow personally and professionally with a global perspective that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. However, financial barriers frequently hinder students’ access to these opportunities, emphasizing a growing need for this form of support.

“We are most grateful for the Merrill family’s generous gift. Developing a global perspective is a central pillar of our academic mission and we’re honoured the Merrill family has partnered with us to deliver high-impact study abroad experiences to our students—an experience that is almost always a highlight of their academic journey,” says former Beedie School of Business dean, Ujwal Kayande.

As a student, Merrill experienced first-hand the benefits of studying abroad, participating in a group study experience in Mexico City and an exchange in Santiago, Chile. After completing his studies at SFU, he obtained both a JD and MBA at Harvard University and built a successful career in New York as a senior executive and portfolio manager in the hedge fund industry. Merrill’s philanthropic commitment is rooted in making those same study abroad opportunities accessible for other SFU Beedie students.

“My study abroad experiences were an integral part of the transformational educational experience I had as an SFU student,” says Merrill. “They pushed me out of my comfort zone, opened my mind to other cultures and world views, and – importantly – increased my confidence to pursue opportunities post SFU. My desire is for many more SFU Beedie students to have access to similar opportunities, and I believe the structured group programs in multiple international locations together with the financial aid provided by this initiative will help to achieve this goal.”