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Queen’s pledged $5 million more for new stadium

April 23, 2014

By CLAUDE SCILLEY

Queen’s University’s campaign to rebuild Richardson Stadium got a $5 million boost Wednesday from the Richardson Foundation, the charitable arm of James Richardson and Sons, the company founded by the family of the man who gave $50,000 to build the original Richardson Stadium on campus in 1920.

The first George Richardson Memorial Stadium was built in memory of James Richardson’s younger brother, who was killed in action in the Great War. Both brothers were Queen’s grads.

The family name runs deep through the campus, also gracing Richardson Hall on University Avenue. Agnes Etherington, for whom the Art Centre is named, was the Richardsons’ sister and Agnes Benedickson Field is named for James Richardson’s daughter, who served the university as chancellor from 1980-96.

James Richardson and Sons was established as a grain merchandising business in Kingston in 1857. Now based in Winnipeg, its interests are in the international grain trade and agri-food business, energy, real estate, financial services and investments.

“The Richardson family, firm and foundation have a profound connection to Kingston and to Queen’s University,” Hartley Richardson, whose great-great grandfather established the company, said in a release.

The company’s president and CEO and also a trustee of the foundation, he said the family has long been instilled with the importance of giving back to the community.

“Queen’s … has been part of this philanthropy throughout several generations, and this latest gift allows us the privilege of supporting an incredibly exciting initiative for the university while continuing to honour our great-uncle’s memory.”

The $25 million plan to replace the current incarnation of Richardson Stadium is now more than half way to its goal. Last month, Stu Lang, a former Golden Gaels football player, pledged $10 million to the project, which is part of the ongoing campus-wide $500 million Initiative Campaign. A condition of Lang’s gift was that the new stadium retain the Richardson name.

The original stadium, located on main campus across Union Street from what is now Goodes Hall, was demolished in 1971 when a new stadium was built on the university’s west campus. That stadium, constructed as a temporary facility — in some places using First World War surplus steel from the old one — was allowed to fall into serious disrepair and last spring the upper tiers of bleachers were condemned as structurally unsound.

The new building will be constructed on the site of the present stadium. Paul Hand, co-chair of the campaign to raise the money for the project, said last month he hoped the Lang gift would jump-start the campaign, and he expressed hope that if the money is raised by then, construction on the new facility could begin as soon as the end of the 2014 football season.

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