The University of Calgary had another big week for fundraising.
Canadian Natural Resources Limited, alongside U of C president Elizabeth Cannon, announced on Friday, Oct. 18 that the Schulich School of Engineering will receive $7 million from the Calgary-based oil and gas company — the largest corporate gift in the university’s history.
“Today’s announcement represents an exciting new chapter in the Schulich School of Engineering’s evolving stature as a leader in learning, teaching and research,” Cannon said during a press conference. “This significant gift from Canadian Natural Resources Limited, coupled with the community support we receive from our many generous donors, helps move the U of C toward its Eyes High goals.”
CNRL’s donation follows the Alberta government’s pledged to provide $142.5 million to fund expansions and renovations at Schulich. Another $54.3 million from private donors has also been raised.
When finished, the engineering building will be named after CNRL to recognize their donorship. The Canadian Natural Resources Limited Learning Complex will serve as Schulich’s learning and research hub.
CNRL’s public affairs manager Peter Kinnear said his company has a history of investing in public education.
“It’s part of the overall approach that we have to community investment across the areas where we have influence,” Kinnear said. “We have made donations to quite a number of universities and colleges across Alberta. None as large as this one, though.”
CNRL has supported a number of faculties at the U of C.
“We probably will always maintain an interest in working with the university across a range of faculties,” Kinnear said. “In the past, we’ve worked with Haskayne [School of Business], the Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy, and the faculties of kinesiology and law. We’ve had a wide-ranging relationship with the University of Calgary and I expect that will continue.”
The donation has been added to the total funds received through the Engineering Leaders Campaign, which hopes to raise $60 million to help fund Schulich’s expansion. Funds from CNRL are not stipulated to be spent on any one aspect of the expansion, but to help fund the entire project.
“It’s quite general in terms of both construction and operation of the expanded engineering complex,” Kinnear said. “There’s not a lot of specific allocation of money.”
Students’ Union engineering representative and fifth-year chemical engineering student Shahir Mishriki said that Schulich’s expansion will address issues the school has had with space.
“In terms of club space, I think it’s pretty good. Most of the clubs are going to be held in the engineering building for the first time,” said Mishriki. “This is really good for some of those teams that are working in really small shacks and aren’t in the core of the building.”
Schulich’s expansion will increase enrolment by around 400 undergraduate and graduate students.
Construction and renovation to Schulich has started, with an estimated completion date of 2016.