E.P. Taylor (1901–1989)

Business leader E.P. Taylor is the man who created the McGill Alma Mater Fund, the forerunner of the McGill Annual Fund — an enterprise that the University’s supporters now donate more than $8 million to yearly.

After the second World War, McGill was running a deficit. Tuition fees had recently been raised, but still only covered about one-third of the total cost of educating the University’s 8,200 students, whose numbers had vastly increased as young veterans resumed their studies. The University turned to Taylor for advice and, applying what he learned from a series of visits with Ivy League fundraising leaders, he proposed the inception of the Alma Mater Fund.

In a phrase that still resonates today, Taylor inspired graduates by asking themselves to donate in order to “make of themselves a living endowment.” He even commandeered his company’s plane to make quick visits to donors and other volunteers across North America.

Taylor and his team of volunteers raised $132,230 for the Fund in its first year, far exceeding the original goal of $75,000. In the intervening decades, the Annual Fund has grown to include the McGill Parents Fund, McGill Interest Groups, the McGill Friends Fund and the McGill Faculty and Staff Fund, thereby allowing more members of the University community to participate.