Geoff Taber

More than $2.5 million has been raised to support a chair and JD/MBA student financial awards at the University of Toronto in his honour

From the Fall/Winter 2018 issue of Nexus

More than $2.5 million has been raised to support a chair and JD/MBA student financial awards at the University of Toronto in honour of the late Geoff Taber, Class of 1985, who tragically perished with his wife, Jacquie and two teenaged sons, in a fire on December 24, 2016.

The Geoff Taber Memorial Award at the Faculty of Law, the Geoff Taber Memorial Scholarship at the Rotman School of Management and the Geoff Taber Chair in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Rotman were established to remember the vibrant, talented and well-respected Toronto lawyer who was at the forefront of the technology sector and a founder of the Emerging and High Growth Companies Group at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP.

Taber practised law in a career spanning 30 years. He was a much-loved friend, colleague and mentor to many in the business and legal worlds and is remembered for his strong intellect, sense of humour and passions in life.

"The Faculty of Law is deeply grateful for these generous gifts to honour the memory of our alumnus Geoff Taber," says Dean Edward Iacobucci. "The tremendous support received, not only to remember a giant in the legal tech world, but also to award our remarkable JD/MBA students with financial assistance for those who need it most, is a testament to the profound respect felt by his colleagues and friends, and the immeasurable loss felt by the community. Geoff Taber's passions for law and entrepreneurship will be remembered through the next generation of future leaders thanks to the inspirational giving of these donors."

At the Rotman School of Management, Taber was a founding member of the Creative Destruction Lab (CDL), a seed-stage program for massively scalable, science-based companies, where his engagement with students, faculty and ventures left a lasting impact and accelerated entrepreneurship and innovation in Canada.

Prof. Ajay Agrawal of the Rotman School is the inaugural holder of the Geoff Taber Chair in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Donations made in support of the chair were generously matched by the Rotman family.

The Geoff Taber Memorial Award and the Geoff Taber Memorial Scholarship will each support two students in the JD/MBA program every year. The program, which takes four years to complete, is part of a long-standing collaboration between the Faculty of Law and the Rotman School in research and teaching. The program enables students who are interested in the many ways in which the law interacts with the business world to combine graduate training in management with their law degree. The Award will be given to outstanding first-year JD students with financial need who will enter the MBA program, and the Scholarship will be given to JD candidates with financial need who have a demonstrated interest in entrepreneurship and have been accepted into the Creative Destruction Lab MBA course.

“Geoff Taber’s passing continues to be felt at Osler. We miss him, and Jacquie and the boys, very much,” says Dale Ponder, co-chair. “We are grateful for the outpouring of support—from his colleagues, friends and family—and the generosity that has allowed for student financial aid and a research chair in his name at the Faculty of Law and the Rotman School of Management. These are truly great tributes to his contributions to the legal and technology communities.” 

“Geoff pursued his personal and career passions at full tilt,” says Chad Bayne, co-chair of Osler’s Emerging and High Growth Companies Practice Group. “The nexus of law, technology and entrepreneurship thrilled him and we cannot think of a better way to honour his intellectual pursuits, mentorship bonds and community volunteerism than with these gifts at the University of Toronto, his alma mater and an institution with a global reputation as a centre of innovation and inquiry. Our sincere gratitude to everyone who donated in his name.”