The McGill Twenty-First Century Fund


3M makes three-pronged gift to Faculty of Engineering

Quick quiz: What do Post-It Notes and the long-anticipated Chemical Engineering and Materials Science Building (CEMS) currently under construction have in common? Well, the connection isn't far-fetched at all, actually. The 3M Company, based in St. Paul, Minnesota, which holds the patent for those ubiquitous little yellow sticky notes, is a major donor to The McGill Twenty-First Century Fund, with support designated to the Faculty of Engineering and, specifically, to the new CEMS Building.

In a letter to Dean of Engineering John M. Dealy, 3M Chair of the Board and Chief Executive Officer L.D. DeSimone expressed the company's pleasure at "focusing resources in an area of academic need where 3M [can] become better acquainted with McGill faculty and students."

The three-pronged donation­a fully equipped laboratory, audiovisual equipment for classrooms, and a self-check machine for the engineering library­will have a tangible impact on the everyday life of engineering students using the new building.

Hanna Waluzyniec, area librarian at the Physical Sciences and Engineering Library, is looking forward to the installation of the 3M Selfcheck System. "The automatic check-out machine will assist students so they don't need to line up at the desks. Staff will be freed up to perform more complex activities. Gifts like this are so much appreciated." The machine is valued at $25,000(U.S.).

The gift also includes about $60,000(U.S.) worth of audiovisual equipment for classrooms: three LCD panels, three overhead projectors, and five video projectors, all of which will constitute a welcome change from the woefully outdated equipment now used in overcrowded engineering classrooms in five buildings on the lower campus.

The largest component of the 3M gift is a donation of $200,000(U.S.) over the next two years to set up the 3M Chemical Engineering Laboratory and outfit it with state-of-the-art equipment. Chemical engineering professor Martin Weber eagerly anticipates working in the new lab.

Typically, students work on experimental projects for clients outside the University that span two terms. The 3M lab will make their work much more straightforward and efficient.

"We need a flexible place that has water, steam, gas, fume hoods and so on to be able to run our projects. We run 12 different projects a year, and projects that don't fit in the two rooms we have now are stuck in corners all over the building. The 3M Chemical Engineering Laboratory will house our projects properly." In fact, says Weber, "it will be a unique laboratory experience. I don't think there's another chemical engineering lab anywhere in Canada or the U.S. that can do all the things we'll be able to do."