Photo of Wes and Mary Nicol

Wes and Mary Nicol



Wes and Mary Nicol PosterIn September 2014, the Wesley and Mary Nicol Charitable Foundation kicked off the campaign to fund a new building for Carleton University’s acclaimed Sprott School of Business with a gift of $10 million.

Wes Nicol is the founder of Tartan Homes, builder of thousands of homes in the Ottawa area and the United States. He also founded Nicol & Lazier, an Ottawa-based legal firm practising real estate and commercial law. He has played roles as chairman, director and president of AutoSkill International Inc., a company that develops educational software solutions. He has also served on the boards of numerous companies and non-profit organizations.

“I was in the business of building homes,” says Nicol. “Homes enable co-operation and confidence, which in turn inspire bold ideas and brilliant thinking. Mary and I are proud to help build a home where Carleton’s business students can pursue their dreams and graduate with a degree from one of Canada’s best business schools.”

Nicol’s association with Carleton has been longstanding. He received a BA from Carleton in 1954 and served for many years on the Board of Governors – from June 26, 1989 to June 30, 1998. In 1997, he established the Nicol Award, a national competition designed to generate student interest and skills in entrepreneurship. The competition is open to undergraduate students in any faculty or field of study at participating universities across Canada. The program now awards more than $100,000 each year to individual students or teams who submit winning plans for entrepreneurial business ideas.

In 2001, Nicol received Carleton’s Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year award in recognition of his outstanding entrepreneurial achievement. In 2006, Carleton awarded him on honorary degree in recognition of his contributions to governance at Carleton, the health and spirit of the Ottawa community and the nurturing of Canadian entrepreneurship.

Carleton’s Nicol Challenge was announced in 2010. Each year, participants are asked to think of a real-world problem and then write a report detailing original and innovative ways of dealing with it.

In 2011, Wes and Mary founded the Nicol Entrepreneurial Institute at Carleton, building on the university’s tradition of supporting student entrepreneurship. In 2013, Wes received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual Ottawa Chamber of Commerce and Ottawa Business Journal awards honouring the best in Ottawa business. In the same year, Wes was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada for his commitment to fostering the next generation of entrepreneurs.