School of Engineering benefits from Randall and Claudia Findlay donation

Randall Findlay (background) poses with Assoc. Prof. Cigdem Eskicioglu (yellow sweater) and students who work in the UBC Bioreactor Technology Group.

Randall Findlay Laboratory opens – $125,000 bursary aids Engineering students

The Randall Findlay Laboratory was dedicated in a special ceremony at UBC’s Okanagan campus on Wednesday, December 4.

The alternative-energy laboratory at the School of Engineering was named in honour of Randall Findlay who, along with his wife Claudia Findlay, made a gift of $225,000 to the School. The gift includes $125,000 to establish the Randall and Claudia Findlay Bursary in Engineering Endowment Fund, which will directly benefit students enrolled in the School of Engineering. The endowment has been augmented with an additional $30,000 from an anonymous donor.

Deborah Buszard, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal at UBC’s Okanagan campus, and Findlay officially open the Randall Findlay Laboratory. A UBC alumnus, Findlay gained loud applause at the ceremony when he congratulated UBC for “breaking new ground, breaking old rules.”

The Randall Findlay Laboratory investigates clean energy from renewable resources. It also houses the UBC Bioreactor Technology Group, led by Associate Professor Cigdem Eskicioglu, who leads research examining production of clean energy from common but unusual sources such as sewage sludge and wastewater.

Co-founder of Provident Energy Trust of Calgary, Findlay retired from his position as president in 2006. He is a UBC alumnus (BASc’73 CHEM), and has a longstanding, active relationship with the university. He became involved with the Faculty of Applied Sciences as a member of the Engineering Advisory Committee. Given his dedication to the university, Findlay was subsequently invited to join UBC’s start an evolution campaign cabinets in both Vancouver and the Okanagan.

“It took me several decades to realize that my UBC engineering degree was not only integral to my business career, but also significantly impacted how I have led my life,” says Findlay, who was in attendance at the official naming ceremony Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013.

The plaque will be installed outside the lab in the EME building.

“This realization spurred me to want to help others on their educational journey. By means of the bursary, I can provide financial help. By funding a laboratory, I can help with the tools for advancing discovery and understanding. I consider it a privilege to be able to make a contribution to education at UBC,” says Findlay.

UBC Deputy-Vice Chancellor and Principal of the Okanagan campus Deborah Buszard says supporters like Randall and Claudia Findlay are essential in building strong university research programs.

“We have an ambitious research agenda at UBC,” says Buszard. “We could not achieve our goals without the generous support of benefactors like Randall and Claudia Findlay. We are extremely grateful for their contribution to our School of Engineering and also for the many hours Randall has devoted to our start an evolution campaign.”

Randall Findlay meets students who do research in the lab bearing his name. Along with funding specific for the lab, Findlay’s gift also includes $125,000 to establish the Randall and Claudia Findlay Bursary in Engineering Endowment Fund.

Spiro Yannacopoulos, Associate Dean of the Faculty of Applied Science, says Findlay’s contribution benefits UBC in many ways.

“Our partnerships with industry leaders are vital for helping us to apply research by using knowledge and technology to solve real-life issues,” says Yannacopoulos. “Creating a bursary enables us to enroll gifted students who might otherwise not be able to afford a university education. We can also equip and enhance our laboratory facilities for our students to have the very best educational experience available.”

The start an evolution campaign has raised $70 million to date in the Okanagan.

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