The power of education: York University celebrates Bratty Family’s $10M gift to Markham Centre Campus

Bratty Family Atrium FEATURED image by Diamond Schmitt Architects
Bratty Family Atrium FEATURED image by Diamond Schmitt Architects

Chris Bratty knows the power of education. It was instilled in him from a very young age – first by his grandparents who immigrated to Canada from Italy in the 1920s, and later by his father Rudy Bratty, a prominent GTA lawyer and real estate developer.

Bratty Family Atrium announcement with Rhonda Lenton and Chris Bratty
The Bratty Family Atrium was unveiled Friday during a special event that announced a $10M donation towards the construction of the Markham Centre Campus. Featured in this image are York University President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton and Chris Bratty

“My grandparents’ biggest regret was that they never got to go to school,” Bratty says. “And so, when my dad showed acumen towards his studies, my grandparents made sure he continued on to postsecondary and even law school.”

It’s no wonder that Rudy Bratty brought that same attitude towards raising his kids.

“For my dad, education was so important because it helps us understand different perspectives. It’s the best tool we have for conflict resolution,” says his son.

Over the years, the Bratty name has become synonymous with real estate development in Southern Ontario and indeed throughout Canada. In addition to achievements in law and real estate, Rudy Bratty is a York University alumnus at Osgoode Hall, and the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate in 2017. The Bratty Family are also notable philanthropists and have supported York University for decades.

Bratty Family Atrium image by Diamond Schmitt Architects
An artist’s concept drawing of the Bratty Family Atrium in the Markham Centre Campus. Image by Diamond Schmitt Architects

On Oct. 16, York University announced the latest and most significant gift from the R. P. Bratty Family Foundation – a $10M donation towards the construction of the Markham Centre Campus.

“York University is incredibly grateful to the Bratty family and the R.P. Bratty Family Foundation for their generous gift toward the future Markham Centre Campus, and their visionary leadership as supporters of higher education,” said President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton.

To honour the contributions of the Bratty Family, York University is naming the new atrium in the Markham Centre Campus “The Bratty Family Atrium.”

Set to open in fall 2023, the MCC will be the first public university campus in York Region, which is among the fastest-growing communities in Canada. York University will offer employer-aligned degree programs, certificates and other credentials – with a rich array of experiential education activities – in high demand areas such as business and entrepreneurship, data analytics, new media and communications.

Markham Centre Campus FEATURED image
The Markham Centre Campus

“This contribution will not only support the MCC’s ability to provide a high-quality student learning experience in newly emerging and high demand programs but facilitate the research, innovation and creative activities contributing to York’s larger mission to build inclusive and resilient communities in one of the fastest-growing regions in Canada,” said Lenton.

For the Bratty Family, supporting this growth in Markham is deeply important.

Chris Bratty speaks to guests about his family's longstanding appreciation for the power of higher education to advance lives
Chris Bratty speaks to guests about the Bratty family’s long-standing commitment to higher education and fostering innovation and creativity in young people

“York Region is underserved in terms of universities,” says Bratty. “That’s why we’re so proud to partner with York University to make this campus possible in Markham. This will be a significant building block for downtown core of Markham specifically and we hope it will attract businesses and cultural centres to the region.”

The family’s motivations go deeper. They hope that by helping support education in Markham, they can help foster some of the innovation and creativity that comes from young people who are just beginning their journey to higher education.

“This innovation and creativity are best enabled by presence of the MCC and the countless young people attending the University who will interact in the community and help to shape it in a unique way,” Bratty says. “And that’s the true power of education.”