Mining the Next Generation of Geologists

Winter 2010

Robert Wares, BSc'79

For more than 150 years now, McGill’s geologists, earth scientists and alumni have contributed their hard work for the benefit of all Canadians. Last year, Robert Wares, BSc’79, and his company, Osisko Mining Corp., each donated an equal amount of Osisko shares to create a $4.1-million endowment in support of the next generation of Canadian geologists.

The gift will fund these four areas in McGill’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences:

– The Robert Wares and the Osisko Faculty Scholars in Economic Geology, two new tenure-track positions to attract and retain top junior faculty.
– Fellowships to support outstanding graduate students in the department.
– Scholarships for promising undergraduates who have completed at least one year of the BSc program in the department.
– The Dawson Field Study Support Fund, a new fund named after geologist Sir John William Dawson, principal of McGill from 1855 to 1893.

“It’s time to inject some money into replenishing the geological profession,” said Wares, who founded Osisko Mining Corporation in 1998 and is currently its executive vice-president and chief operating officer. Osisko is currently developing the Canadian Malartic gold project in northern Quebec, slated to become Quebec’s biggest gold mine once it is fully operational in 2011.

A portion of the gift by Wares and Osisko was matched by the McConnell Challenge Fund, created in 2008 by the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation.

The Faculty of Science commemorated the extraordinary gift this past April with a ceremony and luncheon which included McGill University Principal Heather Munroe-Blum.

“Their visionary gift will help McGill fulfill its mission of providing outstanding research, discovery, and training for the benefit of society in Quebec, Canada and around the world,” said Prof. Blum.

Speaking the deep tradition of excellence at the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Faculty of Science Dean Martin Grant noted that even the most acclaimed departments need support to keep the flame of excellence burning.

“Robert Wares and Osisko Mining Corporation have provided us with an extraordinary example of how a transformative gift can ignite an academic department,” said Prof. Grant. “Their donation will allow us to name two new faculty positions, provide numerous graduate fellowships and undergraduate scholarships to deserving students, and introduce young geologists to the importance of fieldwork through a special field studies fund. In short, the Robert Wares/Osisko donation provides the spark that allows the study of geology at McGill to flourish for decades to come, and for that we are forever grateful.”

Earth and planetary sciences is an interdisciplinary field of study which applies physics, chemistry, mathematics and biology to understand the past, present and future evolution of the Earth and its neighbouring planets.

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