Established in 1965, the Killam Trusts comprise some $425 million (Cdn), the income on which is largely devoted to scholarships at the graduate and postgraduate levels in Canada. Funding for the Killam Trusts came from Izaak Walton Killam and his wife Dorothy J. Killam.
Mr. Killam was one of the most successful Canadian business and financial figures of the first half of the 20th century. Having no children, Mr. Killam and his wife Dorothy planned to devote the greater part of their wealth to higher education in Canada.
Mr. Killam died suddenly in 1955, and it was left to Mrs. Killam to work out the details of their plan in her Will. An astute business person in her own right, Mrs. Killam continued to build the Killam fortune. When she died in 1965, her lifetime gifts together with her testamentary bequests to higher education in Canada amounted to some $100 million. Today, the market value of the Killam Trusts approaches $400 million.
Five Canadian universities received benefactions under Mrs. Killam's Will. They are Dalhousie University, The University of Calgary, University of Alberta, The University of British Columbia, and the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University . They award Killam Graduate and Post-graduate Scholarships to top scholars from Canada and elsewhere.
The Canada Council for the Arts also received Killam funds, now valued at about $65 million. The Council's Killam Fellowships, valued at $70,000 a year and tenable for two years, are open to professors from all Canadian universities in all fields except belles lettres and the performing and representational arts. The Council also annually awards five Killam Prizes, one each in Health Sciences, Natural Sciences and Engineering and, beginning in 2002, Social Sciences and Humanities. Worth $100,000 each, they recognize lifetime contributions and are among Canada's most prestigious awards in these fields.
To date, the Killam Trusts have awarded 108 Killam Prizes and close to 6,000 Killam Fellowships and Scholarships. The Trusts also provide funds to the five designated universities for Killam Chairs, professors' salaries and general university purposes.