Annual Fund gifts are the lifeblood of innovation

Fall 2010

Alumni often ask if I’ve heard about a remarkable new program at university x, y or z, or perhaps inquire if we’re considering doing such-and-such to better prepare students for the job market. My answer to both questions is almost always “yes, but we lack funds right now to set the program in motion.”

Information elsewhere in this newsletter points out that 97 per cent of our budget is allotted to existing teaching and research. The only wiggle room we have to invest in creative ideas and new areas of study is annual donations to the Alma Mater Fund ― a sum that currently averages less than $1-million a year, the remaining 3 per cent of our operating budget.

Those of you who have heard me talk at Homecoming and other Faculty events know that McGill Engineering has ambitious goals. We want to strengthen our human capital, develop closer ties with industry and offer constantly improving world-calibre teaching and research.

Major benefit

No matter how hard our students and professors work, however, those goals will only be achieved with additional alumni support. Major designated gifts are enormously important, but unrestricted Annual Fund gifts provide equally essential support for undergraduate summer research internships, more scholarships, competitive fellowships and solid, practical advising and job counseling to help our students succeed after graduation.

The record shows that we have used past Annual Fund gifts wisely. For those who are already helping McGill Engineering to fulfill its mission, thank you. For those who are still considering doing so, your support would bring major benefit.

To one and all, please accept my warmest wishes for a happy holiday season and a satisfying 2011.

Christophe Pierre
Faculty of Engineering

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