Making Music Through a Gift of Securities

Roy and Gunilla Barnett. Photo: Frances Litman.
Roy and Gunilla Barnett. Photo: Frances Litman.

It was his lifelong passion for music that inspired Roy Barnett (BCom 1961) to make a transformational gift to the UBC School of Music to support teaching, learning, and musical excellence at UBC. With the full support of his wife Gunilla, Roy made a gift of securities to fund a major renovation of the Recital Hall.

As a venue that has helped train hundreds of singers, musicians, and composers, the renamed Roy Barnett Recital Hall has a long history of contributing to Canada’s rich cultural fabric. In conjunction with the Old Auditorium, the modernization of the Recital Hall represents the largest construction project for the School of Music since the Chan Centre opened in 1997.

As a UBC alumnus, Roy wanted to make a contribution that would be felt by students and the greater community. He had always been attracted to music. In fact, after retiring as Treasurer of Novopharm (now Teva Canada), at Gunilla’s urging, Roy enrolled at the Victoria Conservatory of Music at the age of 72 to learn piano, a new instrument for him. He now plays a range of classical music that includes Beethoven sonatas, Bach preludes and fugues, and Chopin etudes. “I’m hoping to develop my playing to a high level and am having a lot of fun in the process,” he says. The decision to support the renovation of the Recital Hall was, therefore, a natural fit.

Roy chose to take advantage of generous tax incentives and make a gift of publicly listed securities. Donating securities such as shares, bonds, mutual funds, to the university, allows donors to eliminate costly capital gains taxes on appreciated securities and take advantage of valuable tax credits, which can be carried forward for up to five years.

“Funding the renewal of the Recital Hall was an exciting and effective way to give back to the community,” says Roy, whose generosity has transformed the 255-seat theatre into a state-of-the-art facility.

Enhanced acoustics, new audiovisual equipment, updated aesthetics, and increased accessibility make the Roy Barnett Recital Hall an essential space for budding musicians. The enlarged and reconfigured stage has improved the acoustics of students’ performances and allowed audience members to benefit from a more intimate experience with the musicians.

When asked about his vision for the Hall, Barnett says, “It’s an important facility to be proud of and should be maintained to a high standard. It is hoped that our funding of renovations to the Hall will ensure that it continues to play a significant role in the education and artistic development of all students in the School of Music.”