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Engineering school gets $10 million boost

March 1, 2012
by Norm Tollinsky
In: News with 0 Comments

Laurentian University’s School of Engineering began 2012 with a touch more swagger thanks to a $10 million gift from Stan Bharti, chairman and CEO of Toronto-based merchant banker Forbes & Manhattan.The endowment will fund scholarships and fellowship for top students as well as improvements to classrooms, teaching labs, equipment and software. It will fund student field trips, internships and co-op placements, support student and faculty recruitment and assist in the branding of the school internationally.In recognition of the gift, which brought the total amount raised for Laurentian’s Next 50 Campaign to $48.6 million, university president Dominic Giroux announced the renaming of the School of Engineering in honour of the Bharti family.Bharti was born and raised in India, completed a mining engineering degree in Moscow and worked at a copper mine in Zambia before landing a job in Vancouver. In 1978, he moved to Sudbury to join Falconbridge and called the city home until 1995.

“We have very fond memories of the many years we lived and raised our family in Sudbury and wanted to give back to the community,” he said. “My youngest son was born there and the kids grew up there, so Sudbury was really our first Canadian experience.”

In 2001, Bharti opted for a different business model focusing on junior mining stocks and founded Forbes & Manhattan, a private merchant bank with a global focus on the resource sector. Headquartered in Toronto with offices and assets around the world, F&M employs more than 150 geologists, mining engineers and number crunchers who specialize in incubating junior resource companies and creating shareholder value by combining world-class assets with experienced management, access to capital and marketing support.

F&M’s successes include the sale of the Jacobina Mine in Brazil to Yamana Resources for $450 million in 2006 and, more recently, the sale of Consolidated Thompson Iron Mines in Quebec to Cliffs Natural Resources for $4.9 billion.

“When I was living and working in Sudbury, I used to give lectures at Laurentian,” said Bharti. “At that time, the school didn’t even have professional engineering certification from the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario. It was a new school and, while Inco and Falconbridge supported it, they really didn’t give it the support it needed. But the school survived. It has 400 students and it’s consistently winning a lot of awards.”

Laurentian’s School of Engineering is ideally located and unique for that reason, said Bharti.

“The best hard-rock mining expertise in the world is located in Sudbury. It’s where the first rockbursting technologies in Canada were developed and evolved. It’s where deep mining and all the backfilling systems were developed. All this technology and all the equipment manufacturers are here, so it’s the heart of mining and an important education centre.”

The endowment fund will generate between $500,000 and $1 million a year in new funding for the Bharti School of Engineering, which offers undergraduate degrees in mining, mechanical and chemical engineering, as well as graduate programs at both Masters and Doctorate levels.


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