Alumni input can be a major catalyst for change
The information in this eNewsletter about entrepreneurship at McGill Engineering is important in and of itself, but what makes it particularly noteworthy is that it was an alumnus who suggested that we develop this area of Faculty life more fully, and then proposed the path to do so.
We often tell alumni that they are key players in our growth, but many interpret that statement in strictly financial terms. Donations are important, to be sure, but alumni participation involves much more than a willingness to pull out a cheque book.
Creative ideas that prod us to move in new directions are valued by academics and students alike. We recognize that our graduates’ real-world experience and their understanding of industry and societal trends can add immeasurably to the technical knowledge imparted in our classrooms and laboratories.
The new thrust in entrepreneurship is the result of a single conversation with alumnus William Seath, BEng’52 — a conversation that developed into an analysis of what should and could be done, followed by a plan and a timetable to assign resources to this important interaction between McGill Engineering and industry.
Innovation and technology transfer have been underway here for years, but the encouragement and financial support that Mr. Seath provided helped the Faculty of Engineering to propel entrepreneurship to the fore.
Individual professors and students will continue to make breakthroughs that benefit society and help grow the economy, but they will now do so within a framework that nurtures and supports their ingenuity and hard work.