You are now in the main content area

TMU mourns the loss of business icon and great friend of the university, Harry Rosen

New student award in Fashion honours his legacy and commitment at TMU
February 02, 2024
Harry Rosen smiles for the camera.

TMU is saddened to learn of the passing of Harry Rosen, a long-time supporter of the university and its students.

The Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) community is deeply saddened by the recent death of Harry Rosen, a retail business icon and long-time friend of this university. Rosen contributed to TMU in so many ways: he was a member of our Board of Governors; he served on the Campaign Cabinet of the Make Your Mark fundraising campaign, which raised more than $200 million for a variety of university priorities; and he brought insight and expertise as a member of the Program Advisory Council of the Retail Management Program at the Ted Rogers School of Management. 

In 2003, the university recognized Harry Rosen’s contributions to the business landscape in Canada and to our community by awarding him the university’s highest honour: an honorary doctorate. At the ceremony, Rosen noted to the graduates, “What is rare and precious and will give you your best shot at success is a passion for learning. That is always in much shorter supply than talent.” 

In honour of Rosen’s contributions to TMU and his status as a leader and innovator in quality menswear, TMU has created the Harry Rosen Award in Fashion. The new award in Rosen’s name will recognize an undergraduate student in the Fashion program who demonstrates leadership as a contributor to fashion at the school, the industry and/or the community level. The inaugural recipient of the Harry Rosen Award in Fashion will be named in the fall term of 2024.

A lifelong love of learning

Rosen once said, “I'm an eternal optimist….an aspect of the mind that is open to learning. Optimists believe they can adapt to their environment and, more than that, transform it. So they set out to learn and grow.”So committed and engaged was Rosen in learning and at TMU that, in 2013, he became the university’s “most dapper student,” enrolling in humanities courses here so he could realize his dream of attending university.

Rosen leaves his mark at TMU

Rosen contributed not only his talent and experience to TMU, he was also a major donor to our business and psychology programs. His gift to the Department of Psychology to establish the Harry Rosen Research Commons and the Harry Rosen Research Awards advanced the work of the Institute for Stress and Wellbeing Research. His support funded research, allowed for the training and integration of students in this important work, and provided state-of-the-art technology and equipment for measuring stress. His support enabled TMU faculty to conduct studies the outcomes of which would help youth and adults manage stress and find relief.

In 2007, the university unveiled the Harry Rosen Lecture Theatre on the third floor of the newly created Ted Rogers School of Management. The naming of the theatre was in recognition of a $1 million corporate gift from Harry Rosen Inc. to the capital campaign for the university’s new business school building; a drive that would receive further momentum from its namesake champion, Ted Rogers.

Ten years later, a group of Rosen’s friends and family came together to name The Harry Rosen Learning Lounge on the fourth floor of the Sheldon and Tracy Levy Student Learning Centre, bringing his name to ‒ appropriately enough ‒ TMU’s most stylish building, where it serves as inspiration to the future entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders who study here.

At the 2017 dedication of the Harry Rosen Learning Lounge – in his typically humble way – Rosen said, “being a part of [TMU] has been a great experience for me and enriched my life.” Of course, it is TMU and the student experience that have truly benefited from our longstanding relationship with Harry Rosen. On behalf of all of us at TMU, our heartfelt sympathies go out to Harry’s wife Evelyn, his children Larry, Andrea, Wayne and Racheal, and all of Harry’s many friends and family. Our community has lost a kind and gentle soul and a dear friend.

More News