Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

November 18, 2002

Royal Bank invests $500,000 in U of G

The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) Foundation has provided $500,000 to the University of Guelph for two initiatives that find connections through the university's capital campaign theme.

That dual theme "The Science of Life, the Art of Living" was in evidence during the gift announcement by principals of Toronto-based RBC during a reception held on campus Nov. 18.

The foundation will provide $400,000 to support research and teaching by U of G plant scientists in the proposed Agricultural Plant Biotechnology and Biocomputing Centre. The planned $6.5-million centre will include new and refurbished classrooms, state-of-the-art laboratories and computing equipment, and other facilities designed to promote collaborations between researchers in the department of plant agriculture and industry.

The announcement by George Dickson, RBC senior vice-president, Commercial Markets-Ontario, included $100,000 toward the creation of a chair in Scottish studies in the College of Arts, the only one of its kind in North America.

"We hope to enable breakthroughs in research, teaching and product development," Dickson said of the biotechnology centre. He added that the bank's gift to the College of Arts is intended to help the university "maintain its reputation as the foremost research centre in Scottish studies outside of Scotland."

About three-quarters of the employees in RBC's agriculture and agribusiness division some 45 people are U of G graduates, said Dickson, whose son is a Guelph graduate in environmental engineering.

The bank supports Guelph students through internship opportunities and through World of Work, a skills development program for undergraduate students in the Ontario Agricultural College.

"The gift announcement marks a new chapter in the long and fruitful relationship between RBC and the University of Guelph," said president Mordechai Rozanski.

Ontario Agricultural College dean Craig Pearson said the new biotechnology centre will allow the university to strengthen existing research links with industry and offer more teaching and research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. "This gift today is absolutely crucial to provide cutting-edge facilities and experiences for our students," he said.

Referring to the proposed chair in Scottish studies, College of Arts dean Jacqueline Murray said, "This scholar will act as a catalyst not only for research and teaching but for community outreach activity."

Dedicated to the study of Scottish history and culture, the Scottish studies program was one of Guelph's first graduate programs in the liberal arts and is still one of the most popular.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs, 519-824-4120, Ext. 6982.

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