Dr. Alfred Bader, a co-founder of a firm now known as Sigma-Aldrich Corporation, has been celebrated at the University of Toronto for his regular generous contributions to support student life on campus. On December 23, he passed away at the age of 94.
Bader and his wife, Dr. Isabel Bader, are perhaps most known on campus for their namesake structure, the Isabel Bader Theatre — a lecture hall, concert venue, and learning space for students. The theatre was funded by the couple in 1998 after they donated $6 million for its construction.
U of T President Meric Gertler released a statement in honour of Alfred Bader, writing that “Alfred Bader will always be remembered as a generous friend of the University of Toronto and an outstanding champion of education.”
In particular, Gertler lauded the Baders’ support in providing students with more “opportunities to learn from world-leading scholars, and to undertake important research in arts and culture.”
“On behalf of the University of Toronto community, I extend heartfelt condolences to Dr. Isabel Bader and to the entire Bader family on the loss of a beloved and extraordinary husband, father and grandfather.”
Alfred Bader was born in Austria on April 28, 1924, living through the tumultuous years of World War II. In 1938, under the Kindertransport, he was evacuated to Britain, where he was then arrested two years later under the British government’s policy of arresting Germans and Austrians 16 years or older.
He was eventually interned in Québec, and after his release, he attended Queen’s University after being rejected by U of T and McGill University, due to their quota on accepting Jews.
Over the years, the Baders have provided much financial support for students through the establishment of numerous scholarships. These scholarships remain available to assist U of T students today. The Varsity has organized a list below, with the help of Victoria College’s Office of Alumni Affairs & Advancement.
The Bader International Bursary, which was established in 1998, funds an overseas international studies program in England, which counts as a degree credit at the University of Toronto. The award is valued at up to $10,000.
The Bader Scholarship in Spanish was established in 1999 and is awarded to a student with an overall A average who is “enrolled in a Specialist or Major program in Spanish,” and has “obtained high standing” in a Spanish course.
Established in 2016, the Susan McDonald Award helps fund “Victoria College students who completed first year, but who have not yet graduated” for travelling to present an academic paper related to their field of study at a conference.
The Alfred and Isabel Bader Scholarship was funded by Victoria College in 2014 to honour Alfred Bader’s ninetieth birthday. This is awarded to “Victoria College students who achieve excellence in their studies, with preference given to students studying in the arts, chemistry, history, or literature.”
Lastly, the Isabel Bader Bursary provides funding annually for students with financial need.