The New York Times
Ian Austen
Sunday, July 1, 2007

The BlackBerry has made James. L. Balsillie, the co-chief executive of Research in Motion, very wealthy. But Mr. Balsillie and Michael Lazaridis, the other C.E.O., still live with their families in modest homes near the company's headquarters in Waterloo, Ontario.

Their apparent frugality has not extended to their charitable giving, though. The two men have become the leading benefactors of higher education in that area.

Last week, Mr. Balsillie gave 33 million Canadian dollars ($31 million) to establish the Balsillie School of International Affairs, a joint venture of the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University that will be located in Waterloo. Mr. Balsillie gave an additional 17 million Canadian dollars to the Center for International Governance Innovation, another affiliate of the new school. Three years ago, Mr. Lazaridis gave 33.3 million Canadian dollars to establish a school for research in quantum-related physics in Waterloo.

"Global governance issues are complex and require an interdisciplinary approach," Mr. Balsillie said in an e-mail message. "This new school of international affairs will produce the next generation of students and ideas to help shape solutions to the most pressing global issues of our time."

Mr. Balsillie was raised in another part of Ontario and attended the University of Toronto's Trinity College and Harvard.