The **Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)** has made history as the single largest corporate donor to the College of The Bahamas (COB), donating $1 million towards the creation of COB’s **Graduate Business Centre**. Expected to open in September 2009, the Centre – the first privately-funded project in the history of the college – will allow business related studies to be the first area in which masters degrees will be offered at the school.

The total cost for constructing the Business Center is expected to be $2 million and COB President Janyne Hodder points out that already the additional $1 million has been donated by Franklyn Wilson, former Chairman of the COB Council, who, along with his wife Sharon Wilson, has formed the Wilson Capital Development Fund.

The Graduate Business Centre will allow the COB to attract the brightest students to enroll in graduate programs in fields that are key to the Bahamian economy, including management, accounting, banking and finance and human resources. Said President Hodder, *“RBC’s commitment to future business leaders and the economy of The Bahamas is to be commended; because of RBC’s investment in the college, the country’s best and brightest will now be able to receive top-level graduate training without having to go abroad.”* She extended thanks to Ross McDonald, RBC’s senior vice-president, Caribbean Region, and Nathaniel Beneby Jr., Vice President and Country Head, for spearheading the initiative – and making one of her goals a reality.

According to the President, RBC is sending a signal that the corporate and private sector is there with the COB, when it comes to building a nation through education and innovation – *”..a signal we hope will be heard in every Board Room and in every home in the nation.”* She maintains that though essential, public funding and tuition alone cannot build the excellence demanded for The University of The Bahamas, to which the COB is transitioning. *”Excellence requires large-scale investment from the private sector and the broader community as well.”* She acknowledged the government’s continued confidence and support of the university transition agenda, under the leadership of the Minister of Education Carl Bethel, and the $7 million recurrent increase in the base operating allocation, which COB received in the current budget.

Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, on hand for the presentation, also expressed gratitude for RBC’s donation to the college. *“Clearly RBC recognizes the key role which the College of The Bahamas has to play in the development of our country. For that we are grateful and appreciative,”* he said.