Postdoctoral Office

About Izaak and Dorothy Killam

About Izaak and Dorothy Killam

Izaak Walton Killam was born on July 23, 1885, in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, where he was educated and where he had his first experience in business selling newspapers. At the age of 18, Killam was taken on as a junior clerk by the Yarmouth branch of the Union Bank of Halifax. He was soon transferred to the Bank's head office in Halifax.

In 1904 Max Aitken (later Lord Beaverbrook) noticed Killam's talents and took him to work for his Royal Securities Corporation where Killam spent the remainder of his working life. He assumed control of the Corporation after Lord Beaverbrook returned to England prior to World War I.

He ran it, not as an ordinary stock brokerage and investment business, but as a specialized private business devoted to the acquisition, formation, merger and long-term development of various corporate enterprises, particularly in the pulp and paper and power fields. Mr Killam was a very reserved and rather shy man who hated publicity and was virtually unknown outside a small circle of close friends.

Dorothy Brooks Johnston was born in St Louis, Missouri, on October 4, 1899. She was well educated, athletic (with swimming qualifications that could have secured her a place on the US Olympic Team had she accepted), had travelled across North America and Europe, and had a good knowledge of French and German.

She was a gregarious individual, and loved to entertain. She married Mr Killam in St Louis on April 5, 1922, and they returned to Montreal. Mr Killam retired from active business during his late sixties due to ill health and made generous arrangements to turn the Corporation over to his close business associates.

Izaak Walton Killam died of heart failure on August 6, 1955 at his fishing lodge, leaving his considerable estate to his wife. They had frequently discussed the distribution of his estate, but in the last years of his life he had not found it possible to write the will that he desired. Mrs Killam accepted her husband's estate in trust to use to promote higher education in the manner they had agreed upon.

Mrs Killam died on July 27, 1965, leaving a will which gave effect to her husband's original plans, and also provided a substantial contribution to build a children's hospital in Halifax, named after Izaak Walton Killam.

In establishing the memorials to her late husband, Dorothy Killam wanted to aid in building Canada's future by encouraging advanced study, increasing the scientific and scholastic attainment of Canadians, and promoting sympathetic understanding between Canadians and the peoples of other countries.

Killam Advanced Studies bequests were also made to the University of British Columbia, The Canada Council, Dalhousie University and the Montreal Neurological Institute. The University of Calgary later received a portion of the University of Alberta Killam endowment when it became an autonomous institution.

It was Mrs Killam's desire that those selected to receive scholarships and fellowships should be likely to contribute to the advancement of learning or to win distinction in their profession. Killam Scholars should not be one-sided and a sound character should complement their intellect.