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Philanthropist Lorne Trottier makes transformative gift

Initiative to support research, outreach in Faculties of Science and Engineering
Published: 6 Nov 2012

McGill University is pleased to announce that it has received a transformative $15-million donation from the family foundation of high-tech entrepreneur and alumnus Lorne Trottier, BEng’70, MEng’73, DSc’06, to strengthen vital research and support outreach and public policy in the areas of science and engineering, as well as to launch a public symposium in collaboration with Université de Montréal’s École Polytechnique.

The gift will create the Trottier Institute for Sustainability in Engineering and Design in the Faculty of Engineering and endow the Trottier Institute for Science and Public Policy in the Faculty of Science. “Science and technology form the basis of our societies, so the public should have a greater appreciation and understanding of them. We can see appalling and willful ignorance,” says Trottier.

The Trottier Institute for Sustainability in Engineering and Design will serve as an independent, fact-based think tank to better inform and educate decision-makers and the broad public about sustainability policy issues. Building on an existing sustainability initiative launched by fellow donor and alumnus Ram Panda, MEng’71, MBA’77, the new Trottier Institute will make McGill a national leader in research and teaching in the area of sustainable engineering. Its programs, activities and services will influence other universities, and impact federal and provincial government agencies and departments.

The funding will also enable the Trottier Institute and École Polytechnique to work together to launch an annual public symposium that explores the impact of sustainable engineering on society, raising Montreal and Quebec’s profile as leaders in this critical field.

“Dr. Trottier’s gift will provide tremendous support to the efforts of professors and students who aim to play a meaningful role in influencing public policy in the area of sustainability,” says Interim Dean of Engineering Andrew Kirk. “We’re excited by the opportunity that he is providing to make a real difference.”

Meanwhile, the Trottier Institute for Science and Public Policy will continue to provide leadership in advancing science-driven policy while enhancing scientific literacy in the public at large. Through fellowships, undergraduate research awards and a host of activities, including public forums, publications and outreach initiatives, the institute will provide a unique nexus for discussion, training and advocacy, with the aim of having a positive impact on many of the important societal issues facing our country and our world.

“Universities have a role to play in raising the public level of understanding of science and technology and also in connecting science to public policy issues,” says Dean of Science Martin Grant. “The study of science at McGill owes a lot to the generosity of Lorne Trottier. In fact, I cannot imagine the Faculty of Science without him.”

A McGill Governor Emeritus, Trottier is the co-founder of the video-graphics company Matrox, which he nurtured from its early days as a shoestring operation based in his apartment to its present status as an industry giant.

Over the years, he has contributed most generously to his alma mater to support new research chairs, graduate fellowships and the construction of the state-of-the-art Lorne M. Trottier Building, now home to the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the School of Computer Science. In 2011, he gave $5.5 million to endow the McGill Office for Science & Society and the popular Lorne Trottier Public Science Symposium Series and Mini-Science Series, annual symposia that engage a broad public audience and promote scientific debate.

“Lorne Trottier is one of McGill’s most generous and forward-thinking benefactors. His exceptional contributions demonstrate the extraordinary things that can happen when McGill ingenuity, a visionary alumnus and philanthropic investment come together for the greater good,” says Principal and Vice-Chancellor Heather Munroe-Blum. “McGill leads the way when it comes to research and innovation in fields that shape the future of Quebec, Canada and the world. Lorne’s gift leverages our contributions to domains that are critical to our collective future.”

Trottier was awarded an honorary McGill Doctor of Science degree in 2006 and was named a member of the Order of Canada the following year — recognition of his outstanding commitment to advancing knowledge, discovery and public policy related to science and engineering in Canada, and the importance of bringing science to the public.

 

 

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