History of the Killam Trusts

Established in 1965 by Izaak Walton Killam and his wife Dorothy J. Killam, the Killam Trusts fund scholarships at the graduate and postgraduate levels in specific Canadian institutions. The Killam Trusts are one of the only private, philanthropic trusts for higher education in Canada.

When Mr. Killam died suddenly in 1955, Mrs. Killam continued to build the Killam fortune. When she died in 1965, she left almost $100 million to higher education in Canada. In today’s market that would be equivalent to $450 million, which is larger than the Rhodes Trust. 

Only five Canadian universities received benefactions under Mrs. Killam's Will; Dalhousie University, The University of Calgary, University of Alberta, The University of British Columbia, and the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University. The Canada Council for the Arts also received Killam funds, which are used for awards for researchers from all Canadian universities.  The Canada Council's Killam Fellowships are valued at $70,000 a year and are tenable for two years, while the five Killam Prizes, one each in Health Sciences, Natural Sciences and Engineering, Social Sciences and Humanities are worth $100,000 each.  The Canada Council Killam Prizes are the jewel in the Killam crown. They recognize lifetime contributions and are among Canada's most prestigious awards in these five fields. 

To date, there are close to 7,000 Killam laureates in various parts of the world.