$1.1 million gift from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation

Gift will endow two Fellowships for Excellence in Graduate Education
Published: 30 May 2013

At a ceremony earlier today, McGill University was delighted to announce that it has received a $1.1-million gift from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (, as part of the University’s landmark fundraising effort Campaign McGill: History in the Making. The gift will endow two Stavros Niarchos Foundation Fellowships for Excellence in Graduate Education.

The fellowships will be awarded annually to talented applicants from Greece, who want to pursue a masters or doctoral degree across a wide array of graduate programs at McGill. Each fellowship recipient will receive funding for up to two years of study. The first fellowship will be awarded in the fall of 2014.

As Canada’s pre-eminent research-intensive university, McGill is renowned for its dynamic community of talented professors and brilliant graduate students. Nearly a quarter of its students are engaged in graduate work – the highest proportion among Canada’s top research-intensive universities. As the global quest to recruit talented graduate students intensifies, the need for fellowship assistance also rises.

"This extraordinary gift exemplifies the pivotal role that organizations such as the Stavros Niarchos Foundation can play in helping McGill build a culturally diverse community of scholars and faculty," said McGill’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Heather Munroe-Blum. "These fellowships will strengthen our ongoing commitment to welcoming bright young scholars from around the world, who will enrich the University’s already vibrant community of learners. On behalf of all the aspiring young people who will benefit from its support, I wish to thank the Stavros Niarchos Foundation for its exemplary generosity.”

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) is one of the world’s leading international philanthropic organizations, providing grants to nonprofit organizations around the world in the areas of arts and culture, education, health and medicine, and social welfare, since the commencement of its grantmaking activities, in 1996.

This gift was timed in part to celebrate 70 years of relations between Greece and Canada, and continues the SNF’s strong tradition of supporting and collaborating with Canadian universities. Mr. Robert Peck, Canada’s Ambassador to Greece, played a crucial role in initiating the conversation about the establishment of a series of scholarships at Canadian universities, and in making them a reality.

"We are pleased to partner with McGill in establishing these fellowships," said Stelios Vasilakis, a senior program officer for strategy and initiatives at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. "They will help to strengthen Greece’s own higher education system by giving talented undergraduate students an opportunity to work with and learn from McGill’s world-class faculty. This will strengthen their academic and professional credentials and create a pipeline of talent for Greece’s businesses, government agencies and own academic institutions. Coming at a critical historical juncture for Greece, the scholarships address the needs of the present and offer a new vision for the future. They will provide qualified students with the financial means at a time of crisis to study at a leading academic institution, establishing at the same time the foundation for a better tomorrow."

As the most international of Canada’s research-intensive universities, McGill welcomes students from some 150 countries a year, including more than 20 a year from Greece. Ties are further strengthened by a vibrant McGill community in Greece consisting of nearly 500 alumni, parents and friends.

About McGill University

McGill University is Canada’s top institution for higher learning and one of the leading universities in the world. The University was founded in 1821 thanks to a generous bequest from James McGill, and since then has grown from a small college into a bustling university with two campuses, 11 faculties, some 300 programs of study, and more than 37,500 students. The University also partners with four affiliated teaching hospitals to graduate more than 1,000 health care professionals per year.

About the SNF

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation ( is one of the world’s leading international philanthropic organizations, making grants in the areas of arts and culture, education, health and medicine, and social welfare. The Foundation funds organizations and projects that exhibit strong leadership and sound management and are expected to achieve a broad, lasting and positive social impact. The Foundation also seeks actively to support projects that facilitate the formation of public-private partnerships as effective means for serving public welfare.

From 1996 until today, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation has approved grant commitments of $1.36 billion (€1.03 billion, through 2,473 grants to nonprofit organizations in 109 nations around the world. Excluding the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC), the Foundation’s funding is equally divided between grants in Greece and international ones.

The Foundation, concerned with the continuing socio-economic crisis in Greece, announced in January 2012 a grant initiative of $130 million (€100 million) over three years to help ease the adverse effects of the deepening crisis. Since then, and as part of the initiative, the SNF has committed grants totaling $75 million (€58 million) in support of numerous not-for-profit organizations around the country. 

The Foundation’s largest single gift of $796 million (€566 million) is the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC), in Athens. Construction works at the site have already begun. The Stavros Niarchos Foundation firmly believes that the project is of national importance, even more so under the current socio-economic conditions. It remains a testament to the country’s future, at a critical historical juncture. It is also an engine of short- to mid-term economic stimulus, which is essential under the current circumstances.

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