Richard J. Schmeelk contribution to Canada’s economic and social prosperity spanned several decades, first as one of Canada’s leading investment bankers and then as a most thoughtful philanthropist for education and the arts. A trusted and ethical investment banker, he was for more than three decades a sought-after financial advisor to governments and major Canadian corporations seeking to raise capital in global markets.
The Richard J. Schmeelk Canada Fellowship
Concerned about the national debate over the potential scission of Québec from the Canadian federation and its dire consequences, he established the prestigious Richard J. Schmeelk Canada Fellowship in 1985 to foster better understanding between English-and-French- speaking Canadians and to create a better understanding between government and business. The Fellowship is a post-graduate award for selected Canadian students enrolled at the Laval (Québec) and Western (Ontario) universities. The Fellowship was later extended to include the University of Calgary and the Université de Montréal as partner universities. The importance and timeliness of Dick’s initiative is confirmed by the prominent Canadians who served as advisors to the Fellowship, including a former Prime Minister of Canada, a former Premier of Ontario, and three former ministers in the Quebec and Ontario governments (see Appendix A). The Fellowship is now administered by the Richard J. Schmeelk Canada Foundation. Since its inception, the Schmeelk Fellowship has been awarded to over 130 Canadian students and the total amount of the Fellowship has exceeded CAN $3.0 million. The Fellowship is now administered by the Richard J. Schmeelk Canada Foundation. Since its inception, the Schmeelk Fellowship has been awarded to over 130 Canadian students and the total amount of the Fellowship has exceeded CAN $3.0 million. The Schmeelk Canada Foundation’s endowment fund will continue Dick’s vision for many years to come.
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
Dick Schmeelk was a big fan of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. He spearheaded several fundraising campaigns in New York and West Palm Beach. He established The International Friends of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in New York to encourage the arts, disseminate knowledge of the arts, and acquire, preserve and improve the condition of works of art exhibits at the Museum. The organization’s tax status facilitates donations to the Museum by U.S. citizens and organizations. Dick chaired the organization for many years.
Richard J. Schmeelk has earned the affectionate nickname “Mr. Canada” for his significant contributions to Canada. His outstanding contribution has been recognized in many official ways, including the highest honours awarded by the governments of Canada and Quebec. These honours include:
- Doctorate Honoris Causa Western University (Ontario) June 1990
- Doctorate Honoris Causa Université Laval (Québec) June 1991
- Doctorate Honoris Causa Bishop’s University (Québec) 1991
- Knight National Order of Québec 2005
- Honorably Member Order of Canada 2018
Governance of the Richard J. Schmeelk Fellowship
Notable advisory members at its inception include:
- Rt. Hon. John Turner, PC CC QC, Former Prime Minister of Canada
- Hon. William G. Davis, PCCCOOnt QC, Former Premier, Province of Ontario
- Raymond Garneau, OC, Former Minister of Finance, former Minister Education and President of the Treasury Board, Province of Quebec, former Chairman, President and CEO of the Montreal City and District Savings Bank and former President and CEO of Industrial Alliance Insurance Company
- W. Darcy McKeough OC, Former Treasurer, Province of Ontario
- Guy Saint-Pierre, CC, GOQ, Former Minister of Education, Province of Quebec, Former Chairman Royal Bank of Canada
- The Hon.. Michael Meighen, QC, Former Senator of Canada
- A. Jean de Grandpré, CC, Former President and CEO Bell Canada Enterprises Inc.
- Thomas E. Kierans, OC, Vice President and Chair, SSHRC, Former CEO C.D. Howe Institute
- Guy Savard, CM, Former President and Chief Operating Officer of Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and Former Chairman, Merrill Lynch Canada
- Robert J. Foster, Chief Executive Officer, Capital Canada Limited
- Paul Davenport, OC, Former President and Vice-Chancellor, Western University