Cross-country donor boosts Brock University’s animal studies program

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Cross-country donor boosts Brock University’s animal studies program

Published on February 14 2011

Brock’s unique Critical Animal Studies program has received a boost in the form of a $50,000 endowment from a generous donor.

Brock will create two student awards with a contribution by Jack Hallam, a B.C. philanthropist and animal activist who came across the program when he did a Google search for animal studies programs in Ontario.

Hallam, 82, of Salt Spring Island has a lifelong history of helping animal causes. Past donations include $3,000 to an orangutan sanctuary in Borneo, and contributions to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the World Society for the Protection of Animals, among others.

Hallam has made several contributions to higher education, including $100,000 for two scholarships in Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto and $50,000 for two bursaries for First Nations students in need at Lakehead University.

A Toronto native, Hallam has a PhD in Zoology from the University of Toronto. His resume includes teaching in Toronto’s public school system and at a community college in Lindsay, as well as working at the Ontario Science Centre. He has also owned an antique business and a pet store.

He wanted to contribute to Ontario universities because of the province’s program that matches donated funds for student scholarships, he said. The Ontario Trust for Student Support means his endowments could be more than doubled.

He found Brock’s Critical Animal Studies program through the Internet. A Toronto colleague also recommended it. He hopes to see others donate to causes close to their hearts.

“I hope this inspires other people to do something,” he said. “People should investigate giving to a charity, whether it’s for animal rights or anything else.”

John Sorenson, Brock Sociology professor and one of Canada’s foremost experts in critical animal studies, is thrilled by Hallam’s support of the program. The field of animal studies is gaining steam, he said.

“People worldwide are re-evaluating our relationship with animals,” Sorenson, who authored the recent books Ape and About Canada: Animal Rights.

The student-led Brock Animal Rights Club recently received a PETA2 award for best student group. Sorenson also plans a conference March 31 and April 1 entitled “Thinking About Animals,” which will host animal rights academics and activists from around the world.

“Brock has really been a leader in this field,” he said.

The Ontario Trust for Student Support is a government-funded matching program that supports Ontario students in financial need by providing matching funds. When you support Brock student awards, the program will, at minimum, double the value of the endowed award.