The Sobey family is donating $18 million to Saint Mary’s University in Nova Scotia – the single largest gift in the school’s history.

The gift is to be used to boost business education in Atlantic Canada and better position the university’s Sobey School of Business to compete with other commerce institutions.

The donation from the The Sobey Foundation and Sobeys Inc will go towards attracting students to the school’s commerce programme, expanding the faculty, and a new building dedicated to entrepreneurship and innovation.   

In a statement Saint Mary’s stated that the gift renews a long-standing philanthropic relationship between the university and the Sobey family.

Paul Sobey, outgoing chancellor of Saint Mary’s and former head of the Empire Company, the parent company of Sobeys Inc said the investment “capitalises on the spirit of entrepreneurship” at the university.

Saint Mary’s president Robert Summerby-Murray said the donation would help the university to “aim higher” and position the Sobey School of Business at a national level.

The university plans to introduce a new Sobey innovators scholarship programme, which will support 150 students over 10 years.