An exceptionally committed alumnus improves teaching, research and community service

Fall 2012

High-tech entrepreneur and alumnus Lorne Trottier is co-founder of the video graphics company Matrox, which he nurtured from a shoestring operation based in his apartment to its present status as an industry leader. (Photo: Owen Egan)

“Many industrial practices are not sustainable over the long term,” says Lorne Trottier, “so we need to upgrade them.” And when the co-founder of Matrox, a successful maker of computer graphics and imaging hardware, believes in something, he makes it happen.

A McGill Governor Emeritus, Trottier has contributed generously to his alma mater through the years to support new research chairs, graduate fellowships and the construction of the state-of-the-art Lorne M. Trottier Building, home to the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the School of Computer Science.

His latest $20-million gift will fund a series of initiatives at our Faculty and at the Faculty of Science that will enhance and promote sustainable scientific and technological development. The cornerstones of the gift are the Faculty of Engineering’s Trottier Institute for Sustainability in Engineering and Design, and the Faculty of Science’s Trottier Institute for Science and Public Policy.

The latter initiative will provide leadership in advancing science-driven policy and enhance scientific literacy among the general public. Trottier’s Science Faculty gift includes fellowships, undergraduate research awards, support for public fora, publications and outreach initiatives such as the McGill Office for Science and Society, the Lorne Trottier Public Science Symposium and the Mini-Science series. The institute will serve as a hub for scientific debate, training and advocacy.

As regards the Engineering Faculty institute, Interim Dean Andrew G. Kirk says “our Faculty has been privileged to work in concert with researchers and units across McGill for many years to develop principles of sustainability in engineering and design, but the new Trottier Institute will add multiple dimensions to that valuable work. It will provide tremendous impetus to professors and students who want to play a meaningful role in influencing public policy.”

“We often read about the views of different pressure groups—environmental groups, industry groups, politicians—concerning sustainability issues, but these are not objective sources of information,” Trottier adds.

“I anticipate that the new sustainability institute will conduct research and publish authoritative articles that bring the latest global scientific and technological knowledge to controversial issues.”

In accepting the Trottier family’s gift Principal Heather Munroe-Blum lauded Trottier for being 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 to spearhead research and innovation in fields that are shaping the future—of Quebec and Canada and internationally.”

Trottier, a member of the Order of Canada, was awarded an honorary McGill Doctor of Science degree in 2006. Both his government and McGill honours recognize his outstanding commitment to advancing knowledge, discovery and public policy related to science and engineering, and the importance of bringing science to the public.

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