Born in Turkey to Greek parents, Mihalis (Michael) was five years old when his family moved to Canada in 1966, settling in Windsor, Ontario. At age 12, he won a prize at the Windsor Public Library for reading every science book in the library. In 1979, he enrolled at the University of Waterloo in electrical engineering with an option in computer science. He dropped out in 1984, just two months before he was scheduled to graduate, having been offered a lucrative contract from General Motors for the nascent RIM. With a $15,000 loan from his parents, a small government grant and a contract from General Motors, he, Mike Barnstijn and Douglas Fregin launched RIM, which would become one of Canada’s largest and most successful high-tech companies, and would later develop the BlackBerry.
On October 23, 2000, Lazaridis founded the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics with $100 million of personal funds, along with $10 million contributions from fellow RIM executives Jim Balsillie and Doug Fregin.
On April 30, 2004, Lazaridis and his wife together donated $33.3 million to the University of Waterloo for its Institute for Quantum Computing.
On May 3, 2005, Lazaridis gave an additional $17.2 million to the University of Waterloo, primarily to aid the construction of a new building jointly shared by the Institute for Quantum Computing and the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology.
On June 4, 2008, a further donation of $50 million to the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics was announced.
(with info from Wikipedia.com)