The best universities, including McGill, are powered by the energy of exceptionally bright young people, who are pushed to achieve at the edge of their ability. Working with the brightest young people in the land, we change people’s lives for the better through our teaching and research.
Philanthropy is an important ingredient in the magic soup that goes into creating a great university. Here in the Faculty of Science, I have seen how the generosity of our friends and supporters have transformed the academic experience here.
Campaign McGill help us transform people's lives for the better in many, many ways. I'll briefly list a few highlights:
First, it's impossible to talk about the impact of Campaign McGill without mentioning the name of Lorne Trottier. From the Lorne Trottier Building, which our School of Computer Science shares with the Faculty of Engineering, to the Lorne Trottier Chair in Astrophysics and Cosmology, currently held by the world's greatest living astrophysicist, Vicky Kaspi; from the Lorne Trottier Public Science Symposium, Mini-Science series and Trottier-McGill Office for Science and Society, to the Trottier Institute for Science and Public Policy—not to mention the Trottier Accelerator Awards—the Faculty of Science has not seen a benefactor like Lorne Trottier since the days of William Macdonald more than a century ago. Lorne is more than a donor—he is an integral part of the Faculty of Science and a key reason why we've accomplished so much in the past several years.
Thanks to Campaign McGill, one of the most significant transformations at the departmental level occurred as a result of the gift by Bob Wares and his company, Osisko Mining Corp., in 2009. Thanks to Bob, the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences has been rejuvenated at all levels. Moreover, Bob has acted as a mentor to some of our younger faculty and is active seeing that the department is steered on a successful course in the future.
In terms of student support—through scholarships, bursaries, fellowships and awards—the greatest impact came from the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation challenge fund, which allowed us to encourage other donors to support our top students—and have their donations matched dollar for dollar by the McConnell fund. Other gifts that directly supported our students include a significant donation in 2008 by Richard Hart, and the ongoing generosity of Rubin Gruber.
Perhaps the most tangible impact of a gift received during Campaign McGill was the donation by John and Eric Blachford to create the Reginald Fessenden Professorships and Prizes in Science Innovation. Thanks to John and Eric's generosity, the Faculty of Science's commercialization efforts were utterly transformed. In only three years after launching the Fessenden awards, at least five significant research projects—including a life-saving malaria detection tool and a portable technique for sterilizing drinking water with silver nano-particles—were commercialized.
Last but not least, researchers and students who use the Teaching Lab at the Redpath Museum benefited from a long-overdue renovation made possible by a generous donation by the Hylcan Foundation, which has had a longstanding impact on the Redpath Museum.
I am especially proud and privileged to know that these and others are being welcomed to McGill's family of donors for their long tradition of support to various areas at the University. Thanks to the generosity of all those who gave to Campaign McGill, the Faculty of Science is a stronger place.
Dean of Science