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Vol 40  No 7
December 13, 2007


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Engineering students get significant boost

Bruneaus continue to give

Delia Warren, president of the Engineering Undergraduate Society B, poses with Drs. Angus and Jean Bruneau, whose generous donation will support a variety of innovative, student-led initiatives. (Photo by HSIMS)

Memorial University of Newfoundland has received the largest single donation from living individuals in its history – a generous gift that offers life-changing opportunities for students in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.

On Dec. 10, Memorial President Axel Meisen announced that Drs. Angus and Jean Bruneau have donated $1,030,643 to create the Angus Bruneau Student Leadership and Innovation Fund in Engineering.

“It is often through extracurricular and voluntary service activities that students discover, develop and demonstrate their leadership abilities to the great benefit of the organizations with which they associate, their peers, and the community at large,” said Dr. Angus Bruneau, who served as the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science’s first dean from 1969 until 1974.

Student leaders in that faculty spoke at the announcement event, illustrating the impact that student-led initiatives can have.

Delia Warren is the president of the Engineering Undergraduate Society, which serves over 900 undergraduate students. She talked of her organization’s diverse activities, which include high school outreach, sporting and social events, charity fundraisers and connecting students with industry.

“One of the challenges we have in all our activities is finding sufficient funds. For every initiative we undertake to benefit students or support a charity, we first have to find the money to make it happen,” the fourth year engineering student acknowledged. “Through this donation, the potential we have to continue with these initiatives is endless, and I promise that you will hear and see more great things being done by young engineers in the coming years.”

Jonas Roberts, president of the Memorial chapter of Engineers Without Borders, which aims to eliminate extreme poverty, talked about the wide variety of initiatives his organization has undertaken to turn passive interest into active participation.

"For me, the opportunity to take part in so many worthwhile activities has been invaluable, and the leadership training and personal development I've experienced will serve me throughout my life,” he said. “I’m really excited about the future, and I’m especially excited about what the students who will take my place and Delia’s place will be able to accomplish. This contribution will definitely help with that.”

The program, which will be known as the Angus Bruneau Student LIFE Program, will recognize student leadership and innovation in three categories:

• In the Community Service category, initiatives will be funded that involve innovative approaches to significant local or international challenges such as international development or gender diversity within the engineering profession, and thereby enhance the engagement of engineers in the community.

• In the category of Engineering Education and Enhancement of the Education Experience, areas of particular interest will include such initiatives as national or international design competitions, school outreach initiatives, programs that foster academic success, technological entrepreneurship, and student-designed seminars, debates and leadership development forums.

• The Research category supports graduate student initiatives involving engineering research and its transfer to industry. This could include business start-up activities by graduate students, research project fairs, travel funding for paper presentations, and support for graduate students involved in national or international competitions.

“Increasingly, our students are contributing to academic and community life in innovative ways, and the benefits are wide-ranging,” said Dr. Ray Gosine, dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. “This new program will allow for even greater opportunities for them to gain experience and leadership skills. It will also help us attract more top-level students to our faculty.”

Student leadership in developing innovative projects will be the primary focus of these awards, which can range up to $10,000 each.

“At Memorial University, our primary focus is on students,” noted Dr. Meisen. “Fostering their leadership skills, as the program we are announcing today does, will benefit not just them, but our province and our world.”

He also commended the donors for their forward-thinking and generous support, given through a donation of securities.

“Dr. Angus Bruneau and Dr. Jean Bruneau have, for many years, shown a strong interest and commitment to Memorial University and its students, as well as to our province. The level of the gift we are announcing today demonstrates their support once again and in an outstanding manner.”

Throughout the years, the Bruneaus have given to Memorial through volunteer and advisory capacities, and generously supported student scholarships.

Their relationship with Memorial began in 1968, when Dr. Angus Bruneau joined the university to establish the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. During his tenure as dean, he led the development of co-operative engineering programs – an innovation offered then at only one other Canadian university. He is also credited with creating the Centre for Cold Ocean Resources Engineering (C-CORE), which he chaired for 10 years.

Dr. Jean Bruneau’s three decades of dedicated service to non-profit and community organizations were recognized in 1998, when Memorial University bestowed an honorary doctor of laws on her.

Fittingly, the announcement was made in the Angus Bruneau Engineering Lecture Theatre, which was renovated last year through a donation made by Fortis, Inc. (matched by the university) and renamed in honour of Dr. Bruneau’s contributions to both Fortis, where he served for 18 years as chairman of the board, and to Memorial.

“What we hope will come from this contribution will be many surprises,” Dr. Angus Bruneau said. “With the bright, young, committed people in this faculty, throughout this province and in this university, we’re confident that this is another small contribution that will yield so much more to the community through the capabilities and commitments of those people.”

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