By Theron Shaw (YR 16/1991, USA), Senior Philanthropic Advisor and Campaign Director 

Remember the LLT?

As a Year 16 student, I remember choir rehearsals in the “Little Lecture Theatre” with Edgar Samuel. And I remember sitting with my Arab classmates, watching my country bomb theirs as the Gulf War broke out.

If you are an alum, I imagine you have your own vivid memories of this space at the heart of the Pearson campus.

Fast forward to 2023 – when we consume news through our phones and laptops and large campus gatherings for choir, or Village Meetings all happen in the McConnell Theatre in the Max Bell Hall. Sadly, the now-renamed LLT (more on that below) is no longer fit for purpose. We recognize this and are working hard to reimagine this space into one that would meet and exceed the needs and expectations of today’s students and support the College’s educational vision.

Creating a Social Innovation Lab

Our ambition is to transform the dimly lit and technologically limited LLT into a Social Innovation Lab* — a purpose-built, technologically advanced physical setting to inspire student creativity and collaboration as they explore current social, environmental, and political challenges. The lab will enable the launch of new curricula that teach methodologies for design thinking, complex systems, entrepreneurship, and project-based learning.

The architect’s renderings commissioned for this space are built around the pedagogy and learning goals of our new Climate Action Leadership Diploma — collaborative, project-based learning, with technology to connect students to colleagues and experts beyond campus – but the lab will be a space for all students and the entire community. Designed for ideas, big, expressive and purposeful ideas, the setting will help Pearson students build the skills they will need to tackle meaningful and complex problems in the world.

ŦÁ¸WEN House Courtyard – Renewing the Heart of Campus

The Social Innovation Lab will extend into a new outdoor learning and community plaza that will connect it with the dining hall and ŦÁ¸WEN House (formerly Calgary House). Designed by Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, the original visionary landscape architect who created our campus, the area will provide students with a beautiful multi-use space for learning, collaboration and social engagement. Terraced seating and landscape features will enable small-group activities, meetings, meals, or presentations to expand outwards into the campus’ beautiful natural environment.


Honouring the Legacy of Ann and Tony Macoun

Of course, we’re not forgetting that the LLT was renamed the “Ann and Tony Macoun Theatre” to honour their many decades of service to Pearson, the UWC and to students around the world. housing the BMO Social Innovation Lab. For any alumni who were here during the time of Ann and Tony Macoun, supporting this Renew and Re-found Campaign project is a chance to celebrate their legacy of service.

Working with architects and builders, the projected cost for the transformation of the LLT and construction of the adjacent outdoor community plaza is $1.2 million. Already, we have successfully raised $900,000 – three-quarters of the way there!

With your help, we can raise the remaining funds and get shovels in the ground, this project can get underway. If this is a time when you and your family could consider a philanthropic contribution to support this vital project, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us – we’re happy to answer any questions you have and bring you up to date on our progress. We appreciate all your support, and remember, if you wish, pledges for the completion of this project can be spread over multiple years.

(*If you are wondering what we mean by a “social innovation lab,” here is an inspiring example from the Action Lab in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada – Action Lab in Edmonton, Alberta )