York University receives $1M gift from Carswell Family Foundation for graduate student scholarships


TORONTO, June 1, 2016 – York University Professor Emeritus Allan Carswell and the Carswell Family Foundation have donated $1 million to fund graduate student scholarships in the University’s Faculty of Science and Lassonde School of Engineering.

York University President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri thanked Professor Emeritus Carswell, and his family for their generous gift, which will create a permanent endowment and an expendable fund to establish the Carswell Scholarships.

“In his role as a professor here at York, Allan experienced firsthand the significant contributions that students make to the research enterprise, as well as the financial challenges of being a graduate student,” said Shoukri. “He also understands the challenges of being a faculty member trying to recruit great students. This gift will go a long way to addressing those challenges so that our students and faculty members in the Faculty of Science and the Lassonde School of Engineering have the support they need to continue to conduct groundbreaking research.”

The gift will allow York to start awarding Carswell Scholarships as early as this September. The endowed component of the donation has been matched by the University with the support of the Provost and the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies to ensure that the Carswell Scholars program continues long term.

“This is a very special occasion and opportunity for the Carswell Family Foundation,” said Carswell. “It’s a win-win-win situation: a win for not only students, but also for the professors and their research activities, as well as more broadly for the advancement of science and engineering. The Foundation is extremely pleased to be a part of this.”

This is not the first gift that Carswell, who received an honorary degree from York in 2014, and his family have made to York University. In 2004, Optech, a global company founded by Carswell during his tenure at York, became a significant supporter of research at the University with a donation of $125,000 to establish what is now called the Optech Lab. To this day, the Optech Lab at York continues to stage a unique-in-Canada course on experimental techniques in laser physics and atom trapping.

Ray Jayawardhana, dean of the Faculty of Science, and Janusz Kozinski, dean of the Lassonde School of Engineering, expressed the incredible impact Carswell’s gift will have for their students moving forward.

“As a pioneering scientist and a long-serving physics professor, Allan understands the transformative potential of research and the vital role that graduate students play in the research enterprise,” said Jayawardhana. “He appreciates that graduate students are not only the `scientists of tomorrow', but also of today... I can’t wait to see the exciting discoveries and meaningful contributions that Carswell Scholars will make at York and beyond.”

“With this gift we can guarantee that more of our young talent will have the resources and the support to get started on their journeys into the unknown,” said Kozinski. “It will be up to them to show the courage, the skill, the perseverance and the will it takes to get to the top of their fields. We have no idea where their journeys will take them or where they will end. What we do know, is that for many of them here at York – thanks to the Carswell Foundation – it started here today.”

This gift comes at an opportune time in the University’s journey, particularly with the launch last month of Impact: The Campaign for York University, a $500-million fundraising and alumni engagement campaign. This Campaign celebrates the University’s impact on the world – past, present and future – and acknowledges alumni and donors, like Carswell and the Carswell Family Foundation, whose financial support has contributed to this remarkable success.

York University has always been known for championing new ways of thinking that drive teaching and research excellence. Our 52,000 students receive the education they need to create big ideas that make an impact on the world. Meaningful and sometimes unexpected careers result from cross-discipline programming, innovative course design and diverse experiential learning opportunities. York students and our 283,000 alumni worldwide push limits, achieve goals and find solutions to the world’s most pressing social challenges, empowered by a strong community that opens minds. York U is an internationally recognized research university – our 11 faculties and 25 research centres have partnerships with 200+ leading universities worldwide.

Media Contact:
Janice Walls, Media Relations, York University, 416 736 2100 ext. 22101 / wallsj@yorku.ca