Introducing the Arthur L. Irving Entrepreneurship Centre at Saint Mary’s University

The Arthur L. Irving Entrepreneurship Centre will be located in the Sobeys Inspiration Hub, shown in this rendering.
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Halifax, Nova Scotia – Supporting their deep commitment to student success and educational excellence, Arthur, Sandra and Sarah Irving, along with the Arthur L. Irving Family Foundation and Irving Oil, have announced a transformational gift of $5 million to accelerate expansion of the Saint Mary's University's Entrepreneurship Centre. In recognition of this generosity, the space will be named the Arthur L. Irving Entrepreneurship Centre.

A concentration of entrepreneurial excellence at Saint Mary’s University, the Arthur L. Irving Entrepreneurship Centre, its programs and activities, is unique in the Atlantic region. The centre attracts students from all disciplines, connecting them with professors, researchers and Entrepreneurs-in-Residence, and enables them to explore their entrepreneurial ambitions, develop their skills, and build important relationships.

“We are inspired by Saint Mary’s University’s deep and caring commitment to their students,” says Sandra Irving, who holds an honorary degree from the university. “We’re very proud to support their work to lead in entrepreneurial education with the development of the Arthur L. Irving Entrepreneurship Centre – a place we hope will spark innovation, inspire collaboration and help to make students’ dreams a reality.”

The state-of-the-art centre will encompass the second floor of the Sobeys Inspiration Hub, designed to be an entrepreneurship and innovation superhighway with traffic in all directions between the Sobey School of Business, as well as the faculties of arts, science and graduate studies. The centre will encompass a range of innovative and collaborative spaces, including a digital prototyping lab and a podcasting studio, in support of excellence in student programming such as open innovation, the Entrepreneur-in-Residence program and world-class competitions.

“At Irving Oil, we are proud to support a diverse network of students, where they will have access to mentorship from business experts, innovative technology and educational opportunities to help them realize their full potential,” says Irving Oil President Ian Whitcomb. “Saint Mary’s University is renowned for educational excellence and developing young business minds that support the region’s talent pool.”

“This generous gift from the Arthur L. Irving family, the Arthur L. Irving Family Foundation, and Irving Oil will expand our student programs, developing the full potential of student entrepreneurs and empowering them to lead change and build a better world,” says Saint Mary’s University President and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray.

The Arthur L. Irving Entrepreneurship Centre’s new home is currently under construction and is the centrepiece of the $43-million Sobeys Inspiration Hub, which is slated to open in the fall of 2023.

“My Dad is passionate about business, about people – our employees at Irving Oil, our customers,” says Sarah Irving, Executive Vice President of Irving Oil. “The Arthur L. Irving Entrepreneurship Centre recognizes his life’s work to create opportunities in Atlantic Canada and inspiring others to do the same. Thank you to Saint Mary’s University for this very special honour in his name – to long inspire our entrepreneurial leaders of tomorrow.”

The provincial, national and international networks and connections the Arthur L. Irving Entrepreneurship Centre fosters will benefit Saint Mary’s University, the community and the Atlantic region. The young entrepreneurs who bring their energy and ideas to the marketplace will be contributing to a robust and innovative economy for the entire region.  

“We are deeply grateful for the enriched student experience and enhanced programming enabled by the deep generosity of the Irving family,” says Entrepreneurship Centre Director Michael Sanderson. “Their belief in the mission of the Arthur L. Irving Entrepreneurship Centre, their commitment to student scholarship and entrepreneurship, and their generosity enables us to enhance Saint Mary’s University’s national reputation and international reach as a leader in entrepreneurial education.”


About Saint Mary’s University 
Saint Mary’s University is one of Canada’s top primarily undergraduate universities known for its international collaborations, leadership in entrepreneurship, and research that benefits local and global communities. Our programs in Arts, Science, Graduate Studies and the Sobey School of Business are among Canada’s best and feature professors who are committed to the success of their students. Saint Mary’s provides our more than 6,600 students with a place that fosters possibility, excellent research opportunities, and distinguished graduate and professional programs combined with a caring community. Nestled in the heart of Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast, Saint Mary’s University is marked by iconic buildings, green spaces and fresh ocean air. The Saint Mary’s University community is committed to a prosperous future for the world — a World without limits.


About Irving Oil 
Irving Oil is a family-owned and privately held international energy company. For nearly 100 years, our commitment to doing good business has been grounded in our commitment to people – to our employees, customers, communities and partners. Founded in 1924, our mission is focused on our continued evolution to meet the changing needs of our customers. Specializing in the refining and marketing of finished energy products, we operate Canada’s largest refinery in Saint John, New Brunswick, and Ireland’s only refinery located in the village of Whitegate. We proudly serve customers with more than 1,000 fuelling locations and a network of distribution terminals spanning Eastern Canada, New England and in Ireland, operating under the Top brand. We are on a continuous journey of sustainable development, working to reduce our environmental footprint while continuing to provide safe and reliable energy to our customers. Named one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers for seven consecutive years, we are proud of our team and our longstanding commitment to our customers and our communities. Learn more at

Media Contacts:

Saint Mary’s University
Margaret Murphy
m[email protected]

Irving Oil
Katherine d’Entremont
[email protected]