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Leadership Upper Canada College grad carries the ball for exceptional students

Former CFL player and scholarship donor Stu Lang says he came to appreciate the focus on excellence he found at Upper Canada College.

Moe Doiron/The Globe and Mail

The Donors: Stu and Kim Lang

The Gift: $11-million

The Cause: Upper Canada College

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The Reason: To fund scholarships

When Stu Lang's father told him he was going to Toronto's Upper Canada College for high school, Mr. Lang wasn't happy.

"Most of my friends were going to Lawrence Park [Collegiate] and I was reluctant to go to Upper Canada College," Mr. Lang recalled. But once he got there, Mr. Lang's attitude changed. He came to enjoy the school's focus on excellence, in the classroom and on the playing fields, where Mr. Lang excelled at football and other sports. "I probably developed there as a young man more than at any other time in my life," he said.

After graduating from UCC in 1970, Mr. Lang studied engineering at Queen's University and made a name for himself as a star football player. He was drafted by the Edmonton Eskimos and spent eight years in the Canadian Football League, winning five Grey Cups. He retired from the game in 1981 and joined his family's business, Toronto-based label maker CCL Industries Inc. Football beckoned again in 2010 and he was named head coach of the University of Guelph Gryphons, which enjoyed its best season last year.

A couple of years ago, Mr. Lang and his wife, Kim, set up a private foundation to support educational and animal welfare causes. He'd kept an association with UCC, through football and fundraising, and the couple has now donated $11-million toward the school's "Think Ahead Campaign" which is raising $100-million to fund student financial aid.

"I spent five wonderful years [at UCC]," Mr. Lang said. "I hope this donation will give exceptional students from across Canada an opportunity they wouldn't have had."

pwaldie@globeandmail.com

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