Ontario Tech honours legacy of Bob and Sallie Baun at rinkside ceremony in Oshawa


Published February 14, 2024 at 7:22 pm

Sallie and Bob Baun attending a Donor Appreciation Reception at Windfields Farm in 2014.

A permanent plaque has been unveiled rinkside at Ontario Tech University’s Campus Ice Centre to commemorate the legacy of the late Bobby Baun and the impact the hockey legend and his wife Sallie have had on the school.

The Bauns have been champions of the university since Ontario Tech was founded two decades ago and introduced the Bob and Sallie Baun Varsity Scholarship Fund in 2011, which has already helped 41 student-athletes at the school.

Bobby Baun, who received the university’s first honorary degree in 2007, died last August. He was 86.

Baun, who won four Stanley Cups with the Toronto Maple Leafs and famously scored an overtime winner on a broken ankle in the 1964 final, was a long-time businessman in Pickering and Ajax after his playing career ended (he owned several Tim Hortons franchises for a time), and was a noted philanthropist who “positively impacted countless lives” and actively assisted many different charities over the years.

His connection to the university began in 2004 as a community ambassador who opened doors to major contributors such as The Joyce Family Foundation and The Yuill Family Foundation. Baun attended many Ridgebacks events and even occasionally travelled with the men’s hockey team for road games. He also initiated fundraising events to support varsity athletes, “always with the condition that scholarships would be distributed equally between the men’s and women’s varsity teams.”

In 2011 the university established the Bob and Sallie Baun Varsity Scholarship, setting an investment goal of $250,000 to support perpetual giving, and enabling an annual disbursement to four deserving student-athletes. Baun announced in 2019 it was his and Sallie’s goal to increase the fun to $1 million so more student-athletes could benefit from the support.

The fund currently sits at $700,000, with eight athletes(four men, four women) awarded scholarships each year.

The university hosted a special celebration in honour of his life and legacy this month, an event that marked not just a commemoration but a recognition of the remarkable contributions of Bob and Sallie Baun, whose impact “resonates deeply” within the university community.

Nikita Mohan, a varsity soccer player, chemistry co-op student (Class of 2026) and scholarship recipient, knows “first-hand” about the impact the Bauns have had at Ontario Tech and the importance of donor support for student-athletes.

“Receiving the Bob and Sallie Baun Varsity Scholarship helped boost my morale, encouraging me to work hard regardless of any setbacks. It also allowed me to immerse myself in my academic responsibilities, athletic commitments and community engagement without the weight of financial constraints,” she said.

“I’m thankful to Mr. and Mrs. Baun, the Baun family, and all the donors who generously support this scholarship. Mr. Baun’s legacy will continue in all the student-athletes supported through this award.”

Athletic Director Scott Barker was also at the ceremony to express his “deep gratitude” to the Bauns for their “unwavering support.”

“Their philanthropic leadership, including the establishment of the Bob and Sallie Baun Varsity Scholarship, has left an enduring impact on our university community. We are truly grateful for their pursuit of excellence and the significant impact they’ve made in the lives of 41 Ontario Tech students through the Baun Scholarship and in the lives of future student-athlete award recipients.”

As Bob Baun himself said, “When you dare to dream, you dare to connect to that part of yourself that says, ‘Yes, I can achieve this goal and become a successful person along the way.’ In the end it’s not only about achieving that milestone you set out for yourself, but becoming the person you were meant to be.”

Sallie Baun and family with Ontario Tech student-athletes who have benefitted from the Bob and Sallie Baun Varsity Scholarship Fund

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