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Lorne Trottier: The gift of passion for stars and sky

November 15, 2006

Source: McGill University

High-tech entrepreneur increases support of science, engineering at McGill

The combination of a longtime passion for both the wonders of aviation and the mysteries of the cosmos has made Lorne Trottier an exceptionally devoted champion of excellence in teaching, exploration and research at his alma mater.

That relationship will reach new heights on Wednesday, November 15, at 10:30 a.m., in the second floor lounge of the Lorne M. Trottier Building, 3630 University, when Mr. Trottier, co-founder of Montreal-based high-tech video graphics company Matrox Electronic Systems, will donate $12 million to advance McGill University's Engineering and Science faculties.

The gift comes just six years after his generous donation of $10 million toward the construction of the Lorne M. Trottier Building, which was inaugurated in 2004 and houses teaching facilities for the University's Electrical and Computer Engineering Department as well as the School of Computer Science.

This latest gift will allow each of the two faculties to establish an endowed chair as well as fellowship funds for graduate students. Victoria Kaspi, a McGill physics professor, world-renowned expert on pulsars (neutron stars) and already a Canada Research Chair in Observational Astrophysics, will hold the Lorne Trottier Chair in Astrophysics and Cosmology in the Faculty of Science. The Lorne Trottier Chair in Aerospace Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering will be filled at a later date through an international search to recruit a leading expert in the field.

Mr.Trottier, 58, who earned bachelor's and master's degrees in engineering from McGill – where he was also awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree earlier this year – admits to a lifelong infatuation with space-related sciences. McGill's strength in these areas was the impetus for his latest gift. To date, three McGill alumni have gone on to become astronauts: Julie Payette, Dave Williams and Robert Thirsk.

"I've been very impressed with the calibre of the astrophysics and cosmology groups at McGill and wanted to help build those programs," explained Mr. Trottier, who recalled taking up remote-control model airplanes as a hobby while studying at McGill. "I still like to bike out to the airport and watch the planes take off and land. I still get a real charge out of that."

McGill Principal and Vice-Chancellor Heather Munroe-Blum said the gift will help drive excellence in teaching and research at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. "McGill has always been recognized for its strength in science and engineering, and Montreal is a global leader in aerospace," said Prof. Munroe-Blum. "Lorne's continued support helps ensure that we can build on these strengths for generations to come."

Montreal is the world's second largest aerospace industry employer in terms of jobs per capita, second only to Seattle, WA, according to Investissement Québec. As well, Quebec leads the country in overall aerospace production, with sales of $11.1 billion in 2005.

On the Web:

McGill benefactor intrigued by how the world works (The Montreal Gazette)Contacts

Michael BourguignonMcGill University Relations Office514-398-8305



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