Keg's CEO to receive honorary degree from KPU

Thu, Mar 13, 2014

Richmond, B.C. - A Vancouver businessman known for big steaks and even bigger philanthropic efforts will receive an honorary degree from Kwantlen Polytechnic University this spring.

David Aisenstat, president and CEO of The Keg Steakhouse + Bar, will be presented with a doctor of laws during KPU’s spring convocation.

“Giving back and creating a positive legacy – particularly for youth - is one of David’s core business values,” notes KPU president and vice-chancellor Dr. Alan Davis. “He gives young people opportunities they may not otherwise have, changing lives in the process. We’re proud to recognize him for these efforts.”

Aisenstat founded The Keg Spirit Foundation in 2001 to commemorate The Keg’s 30th anniversary. The Foundation focuses on helping charitable organizations that develop and mentor youth. Among those are Free The Children, Big Brothers Big Sisters, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards, Action Canada and the Trans Canada Trail.

Since 2001, The Keg Spirit Foundation has raised and distributed more than $7.3 million to some 300 Canadian charities that support the development of youth through mentoring programs. Aisenstat’s personal commitment to the Foundation was evidenced in 2010 when he mounted a fundraising expedition to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro and raised $320,000 for youth organizations.

The Foundation was among the first supporters of Free The Children’s signature event, We Day, held annually to encourage students to commit to taking one local and one global action throughout the year to make the world a better place. Since 2007, We Day has raised more than $26 million for 900 different local and international causes.

“For any conscientious entrepreneur, giving back to the community should be viewed as a responsibility. It’s been my privilege not just to contribute from afar, but to also be fortunate to have had a small part in the success of some very worthwhile efforts,” says Aisenstat.

Aisenstat has devoted much of his philanthropic focus toward youth initiatives. “Every day in my work, I see the potential of our young people; an investment in their future is an investment in all of our futures.”

Aisenstat and fellow honorary degree recipients Baltej Dhillon and Christine Brodie will receive their awards at KPU’s spring convocation in May.

Dhillon is an RCMP staff sergeant who heads up the B.C. RCMP Provincial Intelligence Centre. A KPU criminology alumnus who successfully lobbied to be the first RCMP member permitted to wear a turban, Dhillon showed unwavering courage in the face of opposition, intolerance and racism.

Brodie is a retired teacher in the Richmond School District who spent her entire career supporting students with autism, anxiety disorders, learning disabilities, social and emotional issues and other barriers to their education. She is also a longtime member of the KPU Foundation board of directors, and served as its chairperson from 2006-2011.

Honorary degrees are awarded to those honoris causa in recognition of dignified achievements or outstanding service to the public. Nominees are exceptionally distinguished: scholars, creative artists, public servants, persons prominent in the community and the professions, and others who have made significant contributions locally, nationally or globally. Members of the community-at-large are invited to nominate honorary degree candidates.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University has been serving the Metro Vancouver region for 30 years, and has opened doors to success for more than 250,000 people. Four campuses—Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley—offer a comprehensive range of sought-after programs, including business, liberal arts, science, design, health, trades and technology, apprenticeships, horticulture, and academic and career advancement. Over 19,000 students annually have a choice from over 145 programs, including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates and citations. Learn more at


Media contact:
Hayley Woodin
Media Specialist
t: 604.599.2883

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