McMaster reaches higher with new fundraising campaign


McMaster University is undertaking an ambitious fundraising campaign that will bolster the University’s reputation for offering innovative teaching and learning experiences and supporting research excellence.

The four-year campaign is the largest fundraising initiative in McMaster’s history and will directly support teaching, learning and research activities in all areas of the University. The campaign will also boost financial support, through enriched bursaries and scholarships, for many of the University’s more than 23,000 full and part-time undergraduate and graduate students.

“We aspire to reach higher,” President Peter George told the Board of Governors. “We are an institution that is unabashedly ambitious and poised to do even greater things.”

The Board endorsed the strategic academic priorities and approved the overall plan for the campaign at its meeting last Thursday. The Senate will be asked to approve the academic priorities at its main meeting on May 15.

President Peter George said new support is crucial if the University wants to continue to foster an environment where students, faculty and staff have the resources needed to achieve a shared vision of excellence.

He acknowledged that McMaster, like many post-secondary institutions across the province, faces challenging fiscal circumstances and noted that everyone is working hard to mitigate budgetary pressures.

President George said the campaign has been designed so that all faculties will benefit in a balanced and strategic approach. “We have built this campaign to be as inclusive as possible,” he said.

“Without this new support there will be a growing gap between what we can do and what we know we can accomplish with the right people, facilities and resources,” he noted. “Our challenge is to close the gap and make sure the resources are in place so creativity, innovation and excellence continue to flourish within our community. We believe this campaign will help us do that.”

Guided by the leadership of Provost Ken Norrie, the Refining Directions committee evaluated submissions totaling more than $800 million from academic and unit leaders from across campus in order to identify the strategic academic priorities that will be the focus of this campaign.

Norrie said the chosen projects reflect McMaster’s considerable teaching and research strengths, including a commitment to integrated, multidisciplinary study and collaboration, and the University’s experience in and commitment to innovative learning. He noted that the academic priorities also target research areas where McMaster researchers are emerging as international leaders.

The campaign priorities have been organized into five themes: New Spaces, Building on Strengths, New Frontiers, Supporting Student Success and New Opportunities.

The strategic academic initiatives determined to be priorities for the campaign include Innovative Learning, Collaborations for Health, the Origins Institute, Biomedical Engineering, Globalization and Developing Countries, Nanoscience/Nanotechnology, the Institute for the Cognitive Science of Language, New Biology, the Institute for Molecular Archeology and Paleontology, the Centre for Canadian History, Sustainable Energy Systems and Digital Society.

Numerous endowed research chairs have been identified for all faculties.

The McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind typifies the collegial and collaborative nature of the priorities as it includes involvement from all six faculties, Norrie noted.

The campaign priorities also feature capital projects such as a new Liberal Arts building, a shared facility for Engineering, Science and Health Sciences faculty, students and staff, a Learning Commons in Thode Library modeled on the successful Mills Library Commons now under construction, a Kinesiology addition, an Institute of Social and Economic Research and a Museum and New Media exhibition and work space.