Donor Community

Our donors are an important part of the uOttawa story. We recognize our donor community through the Tabaret Society. 

Our donors are an important part of the uOttawa story. We recognize our donor community through the Tabaret Society. 

Tabaret Society

The Tabaret Society, named after Father Joseph-Henri Tabaret, honours individuals whose generosity and commitment play a key role in educating the leaders of tomorrow. Under the leadership of Kathryn Butler Malette, Tabaret Society members are recognized for their ongoing contributions to the University of Ottawa’s teaching and research mission.

Members of the Society have contributed $500 or more over the past fiscal year, or have given more than $100,000 over their lifetime.

The Tabaret Society is divided into three giving levels based on giving focus:

  • Pillars (annual giving)
  • Circles of Distinction (lifetime giving)
  • Heritage Circle (planned giving)

Pillars – Annual Giving

Among uOttawa’s most striking architectural features are the pillars found in front of Tabaret Hall, which form part of the University’s logo.

The Pillars giving level is a symbol of the vital support offered by our annual donors. Each of the categories within this giving level is named after one of the types of pillars found on campus.

The Solomonic – $500 -$1,999

With a twisting, contorted shaft, the Solomonic pillar evokes movement along its entire length. Though relatively rare in antiquity, these pillars are used in the main altar of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Solomonic pillars can also be found in the original staircase of the heritage building that is home to the Development Office at 190 Laurier Avenue.

The Romanesque – $2,000 – $4,999

This square pillar is often supported by a trapezoid-shaped base. As an architectural feature, Romanesque pillars became popular in the mid-1800s when the architect Henry Hobson Richardson used these structures in his Romanesque Revival homes. At the University of Ottawa, similar pillars can be found in front of 70 Laurier Avenue.

The Doric – $5,000 – $9,999

Doric pillars are the oldest and simplest style of Greek pillars. Although they have no separate base, Doric pillars are slightly wider at the bottom. They have plain surfaces, while the capitals are connected to the building with abacuses (square pieces). Doric pillars can be found on the Parthenon in Athens.

The Corinthian – $10,000 – $24,999

Corinthian pillars have Greek architectural origins, but are also influenced by Egyptian architecture. These pillars are slender, have a decorative base and capitals carved with olive, laurel or acanthus leaves.

The Ionic – $25,000 +

The capitals of the Ionic pillar have scroll-shaped ornaments which look like ram’s horns. Ionic pillars support the ceiling of Tabaret Hall and are the inspiration for the University’s logo.

Circles of Distinction – Lifetime Giving

Donors of gifts over $100,000 are recognized as members of the Circles of Distinction of the Tabaret Society. To honour our heritage, the Circles are named after important figures in uOttawa’s history.

Our Circles of Distinction honour the University’s life-long and major donors by acknowledging, recognizing and stewarding gifts of over $100,000.

The various giving levels are all named after important figures in the University’s history, honouring our heritage.

Guigues Circle – $100,000 to $249,999

Msgr. Joseph-Bruno Guigues, founder of the University of Ottawa.

A native of France, Msgr. Guigues was ordained as an Oblate priest in 1828. He arrived in Canada in 1844, where he was appointed provincial superior of his community. Three years later, he became the first bishop of Bytown, a position he held for more than 25 years. In 1848 he founded the College of Bytown, the precursor to the University of Ottawa.

In the years that followed, Msgr. Guigues continued to promote the development of the Ottawa Francophone community. He spearheaded the construction of Notre-Dame Cathedral, inspired the founding of the Ottawa Separate School Board (1856) and created Notre Dame Cemetery (1872). An Ottawa street and an Ottawa school, a village and township in Quebec and a day centre for Francophone seniors bear his name today.

Laflamme Circle – $250,000 to $999,999

Sister Corinne Laflamme, first woman school director, University of Ottawa

Sister Corinne Laflamme (also known as Sister Madeleine-de-Jésus) graduated from the Ottawa General Hospital School of Nursing in 1924. In 1929, she became a senior instructress of nurses. In 1933, she co-founded the University of Ottawa School of Nursing and was named its director of studies. Sister Laflamme was the first woman in the University’s history to hold such a rank.

In 1959, she also became the first woman member of the University Senate. Sister Madeleine-de-Jésus resigned in 1961 but continued to teach for another year. In 1963, she was given the honorary title of professor emeritus.

Henderson Circle – $1,000,000 to $4,999,999

Gordon F. Henderson, chancellor 1991-1993

Gordon F. Henderson, C.C, Q.C, served as chancellor of the University of Ottawa from 1991 until his death in 1993. Prior to serving as chancellor, he was one of the founding members of the Canadian Law Information Council, leader of the Canadian Intellectual Property Bar, founding editor of the Canadian Patent Reporter and chairman of the Henderson & Herridge law firm.

He became an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1977, and a Companion of the Order in 1988. His contributions to the field of intellectual property law have been commemorated in several ways, including honorary doctorates from the University of Ottawa and Carleton University.

He dedicated his time to community leadership and philanthropy, particularly at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. It was this dedication and philanthropic effort that inspired the creation of the Gordon F. Henderson Chair in Human Rights and the Gordon F. Henderson Scholarship in Human Rights for graduate studies in the LLM program.

Vanier Circle – $5,000,000 to $14,999,999+

Pauline Vanier, First woman and lay chancellor

In 1964, Madame Vanier was awarded an honorary doctorate in social sciences by the University of Ottawa. In 1966, she became the first layperson and woman to be appointed as chancellor of the University — a title she would hold until 1973. Vanier Hall honours the memory of Pauline Vanier and her husband, Georges P. Vanier, governor general of Canada from 1959 to 1967.

Guindon Circle – $15,000,000 to 24,999,999

Father Roger Guindon, first rector of the new University of Ottawa (1965)

Father Roger Guindon served as rector of the University of Ottawa from 1964 to 1984, presiding over its transition from a small private Oblate Catholic institution to a flourishing, provincially funded, public university. Under Father Guindon’s leadership, uOttawa expanded significantly, laying the foundation for its emergence as one of Canada’s great institutions of higher learning. Students today continue to reap the positive and lasting benefits of Father Guindon’s joie de vivre, vision and perseverance, as he remains an active member of the University community. Father Guindon was not only an exceptional model of public service, but also a passionate advocate of bilingualism and the preservation of French culture.

Prior to his impressive twenty-year tenure as rector, Father Guindon began his long association with the University as a student. He enrolled in 1933 to complete his high school studies and later earned a bachelor of philosophy (1942) and a bachelor of theology (1945). In 1946, he was an ordained a priest, and from 1947 to 1964, he taught in the Faculty of Theology, where he also served as dean for four years.

Besserer Circle – $25,000,000 +

Louis-Théodore Besserer, a great donor

Louis-Théodore Besserer was a notary, businessman and political figure born in Château-Richer, Quebec, in 1785. During the War of 1812, he first served as a lieutenant in the Quebec City militia and was later promoted to captain. He represented the county of Quebec in the House of Assembly of Lower Canada from 1833 to 1838. Though he supported the Patriotes’ Ninety-Two Resolutions, which demanded political reforms, he preferred working through constitutional channels over launching a rebellion to achieve these goals. Still, the British government branded him a rebel, forcing him to retire from politics, while the leaders of the rebellion never forgave his moderation.

In 1845, Besserer retired to a large estate he had purchased in Bytown, in the area that is now the Ottawa neighbourhood of Sandy Hill. He subdivided the property into building sites, which he then sold off, for the most part. In 1856, Monsignor Joseph-Bruno Guigues, bishop of Bytown, decided to use six lots donated by Besserer on Wilbrod Street (today called Séraphin-Marion) to relocate the College of Bytown. Besserer Street, near the campus, is named after this generous donor.

Heritage Circle – Planned Giving

Membership in the Heritage Circle is available to all planned giving donors.

The University of Ottawa is committed to acknowledging and showing its appreciation for every donation. Legacy gifts can often go unrecognized during a donor’s lifetime, as the University is not always aware of a donor’s intentions. The Heritage Circle was created to honour those individuals who have made pledges and other deferred gifts in their estate plans to benefit the University.

Deferred charitable gifts can take one of many forms: bequests in donors’ willslife insurance policieslife income gifts (such as trusts) or gifts of retirement funds. Once a donor confirms a deferred gift, he or she automatically becomes a member of the Heritage Circle.

Membership privileges include invitations to special events, concerts, lectures and other campus activities. To add your name to the Heritage Circle, please contact the Planned Giving team at

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