Message from Dean Madramootoo
Campaign McGill could not have come at a better time for the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
The Faculty was entering a new phase of leadership, and the Campaign provided a unique opportunity to advance its goals and mission. There could not have been a more advantageous time for the Faculty to seize opportunities and demonstrate leadership in new fields of endeavour. At the same time, the Faculty began to witness unprecedented growth in both its undergraduate and graduate student numbers. Equally importantly, the Faculty underwent a period of impressive academic renewal, with some 29 professors hired over the past eight years. All of this meant that we had to find ways to support the large class sizes and new academic recruits.
The Campaign therefore enabled the Faculty to develop new programs and support for our student body, and help new professors successfully launch their careers. Thanks to our very loyal alumni and donors, we witnessed a large increase in the number of scholarships and fellowships offered to our students. In addition to new scholarships and fellowships, several of our alumni and friends, either individually or through Class Gifts, increased the value of older scholarships. You can see some of the brightest smiles at our annual Scholastics Award Ceremonies, when our donors and students come together to celebrate excellence on the Macdonald Campus. Student support is not only scholarships. Through the Bieler Family Internship Program, our students now have opportunities to pursue internships during the summer months, in order to gain hands-on experience either in a work or research environment. This program is enriching student learning outside the classroom. It is indeed fulfilling the vision of Sir William Macdonald when he created the Campus over 100 years ago, to provide students with an education that enables them to be leaders in their community.
Through Campaign McGill, we have been able to provide our students and staff with exceptional learning environments. The construction of the new Macdonald Library and Learning Centre, the new Foods and Dietetics labs, and the Macdonald Active Learning Lab would not have been possible without the support of alumni, donors and foundations. Students are learning in top-of-the-line environments, which make Macdonald an envious place to study and work.
The Faculty has been able to develop new research and teaching programs in areas that are critical to the welfare of society, eg. food safety, food quality, food security, water management and the environment. None of this would have been possible without the most generous support of foundations, alumni and donors. Alumni such as the late Dr Ian Munro and his wife Jayne had a vision for Macdonald to be a world leader in food safety and food quality, and this led to their very generous funding of a Chair in Food Safety. Mrs. Liliane Stewart and the Macdonald Stewart Foundation, continuing in the tradition of Sir William, were convinced that their support for a Program in Water Management could go a long way towards addressing the world water crisis. In a similar vein, alumna Mrs. Margaret Gilliam was extremely concerned about the world food crisis, and she has supported the work of the McGill Institute of Global Food Security, a flagship centre of excellence on the Macdonald Campus. Our staff working on nutrition and environment in the North also got a boost from the Webster Foundation, and this is helping us to build new relationships in Canada's North, with the aim of improving the health, quality of life and incomes of Canada's aboriginal peoples.
These are just a few examples of how the Campaign has helped to transform the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. It has breathed intense levels of excitement, energy and enthusiasm among our staff and students. The Faculty is poised to jump to new levels of academic prowess, and as a result of the Campaign, our staff and students will be leaders of change for a better and more sustainable world for future generations.
Chandra A. Madramootoo, Ph.D., P.Eng.
James McGill Professor and Dean