Desautels had deep roots within the Rotman School community and a long history of volunteerism here. In 2000, the University presented Desautels with an Arbor Award, the highest honour bestowed upon volunteers at U of T. More recently he was a member of the Rotman Entrepreneurship Advisory Board, Rotman’s Dean’s Advisory Board and the Martin Prosperity Institute Cabinet, and was an Honorary Chair of the Boundless Campaign.
His philanthropic support extended across U of T and included two $10-million gifts in 2000 and 2005 via the Canadian Credit Management Foundation to establish the Desautels Centre for Integrative Thinking at the Rotman School of Management. This landmark program forever changed the face of MBA education by creating a new approach to solving complex, multi-faceted problems in business. Desautels also supported the Rotman Building expansion, as well as fellowships, professorships and chairs at the Rotman School. In total, he gave more than $41 million to support University of Toronto students, programs, researchers and buildings. His broader philanthropy across Canada includes the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University, and the Marcel A. Desautels Faculty of Music at the University of Manitoba.