Sept. 5, 2023Print | PDF
The Wilfrid Laurier University community is deeply saddened by the passing of William (Bill) Webb (BBA ’86), a generous alumnus and great friend of the university.
“Bill was an incredible man who made a tremendous impact, here at Laurier and far beyond,” says Jason Coolman, vice-president of Advancement and External Relations. “His many friends here will miss him deeply, but his legacy at Laurier will live on for many generations.”
Bill passed away on Aug. 28, surrounded by family, after a battle with prostate cancer. Bill is survived by Dr. Agnes Wong, his spouse of 26 years who he met while doing his MBA at McGill University, and their two children, James and Stephen.
It would be difficult to overstate Bill’s affection, devotion and generosity to the Laurier community, and how much he was loved in return.
During his time at Laurier, Bill was an engaged student. He had a passion for investment and finance from an early age. When he was researching universities, former Laurier Professor Tupper Cawsey invited Bill to visit the Laurier campus and offered him a research associate position. Bill chose Laurier because of that invitation and the co-op program.
Rugby was another life-long passion for Bill. A position on the Golden Hawks rugby team, including two years as captain, rounded out Bill’s campus life. He credited academics, co-op and rugby at Laurier for making significant and lasting impacts on his career and life.
After he graduated, Bill built a successful career in the financial sector, first in England, where he continued to play rugby, and then back in Canada where he helped clients invest in public and private markets at Gluskin Sheff + Associates. He also took some time to backpack through China, Nepal, and across Asia, working as a trekking guide in the Himalayas. His adventures were profiled in a 2015 Laurier Campus magazine article.
Bill served as executive vice-president and chief investment officer Gluskin Sheff + Associates until his retirement in 2015, before becoming a founding partner and later an advisor at Waypoint Investment Partners. He was a steady champion of Laurier’s co-op education program, supporting the hiring of more than 130 students for co-op placements.
Bill was well known as a champion for the rugby community in Canada. Although Bill’s own career in rugby ended with a serious knee injury, he continued to demonstrate his passion for the sport, co-founding and becoming president of the Toronto Arrows RFC, Canada’s only professional Rugby Union Team that competes in Major League Rugby. Bill was also director and capital campaign co-chair of Rugby Canada; a coach and member of the Captain’s Council of TIRF (Toronto Inner-City Rugby Foundation); co-chair of the campaign for building the Al Charron National Training Centre; and a founding member of the Rugby Alliance.
Together with Agnes, Bill was a generous donor to Laurier. He supported the Brantford campus, Adopt-A-Hawk Men’s and Women’s Rugby, the Max and Lynn Blouw Graduate Student Scholarship, the Cawsey Leadership Award, the Conversations with Leaders fund, the BBA Alumni Centennial Entrance Scholarship), the Laurier Centre for Economic Research & Policy Analysis, the Lazaridis School of Business & Economics, the Student Horizon Fund and the Golden Hawk General Scholarship Fund. Through their Loch Hame Foundation, Bill and Agnes donated $100,000 for career and co-op capital projects.
In 2015, Bill and Agnes made a transformational gift of $1 million to the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics to support the construction of Lazaridis Hall. In making their gift, the couple hoped to give future students the same impactful experience that Bill enjoyed. They were recognized by the naming of a seat in the first-floor lecture hall of Lazaridis Hall.
Among his many community volunteer roles, Bill gave his time to Laurier as a member of the Building Canada’s Best Business School Campaign Cabinet (2011-2018), a member of the President’s Council of Advisors (2010-2017), a participant in the Campaign Case Consultation (2011) and a Development Day Keynote Speaker (2007).
For all he gave to Laurier, Bill was recognized with the Laurier Philanthropy Award (2022), the Forever Golden Hawk Award (2019), J. Alex Murray Alumni Award (2015), the Laurier Alumni Co-op Employer of Excellence Award (2011), a 75th Anniversary Award (1986) and was named one of the 100 Alumni of Achievement (2011).
Bill led a passionate, high-impact life, making friends and making a difference across Canada and around the world. He will be missed within the Laurier community.