The Donor: Dr. Andrew Younger and friends
The Gift: $1.9-million and climbing
The Cause: University of Calgary's Schulich School of Engineering
The Reason: To create a research chair in gas processing
When Rick Sukovieff was trying to launch a natural gas company in the 1980s, he knew exactly who to ask for help: Andrew Younger.
Dr. Younger was already a legend in the industry at the time. He had spent more than 20 years working for some of Canada's largest energy companies, designing and building some of the most sophisticated gas processing facilities and pipelines in the world. He had also chaired the Canadian Gas Processors Association and spent countless hours developing and teaching an engineering course at the University of Calgary.
"A guy like him was courted by lots of people," Mr. Sukovieff recalled from his home in Bragg Creek, Alta., outside Calgary. "I guess there was just something about what we were trying to do, and perhaps how futile it looked from his point of view, that he took pity on us and thought he should help us out."
Dr. Younger ended up spending the next 20 years with Mr. Sukovieff, helping build Solex Gas Processing while continuing his other pursuits. Along the way, Dr. Younger picked up more awards for his designs, taught thousands of students and shared his ideas with anyone who asked. He even had a gas plant named after him in British Columbia.
Dr. Younger died in 2005 at the age of 82. He left a $100,000 gift to the University of Calgary's Schulich School of Engineering, hoping that one day it might create a research chair in gas processing. In his memory, Mr. Sukovieff and several others started a fundraising campaign to make Dr. Younger's dream a reality. They've raised $1.9-million so far with contributions coming from industry giants like Nexen Inc. and TransCanada Pipelines Ltd. Last fall, the university announced the creation of the Dr. A. H. Younger Chair in Hydrocarbon Processing.
Dr. Younger "was a very humble guy," said Mr. Sukovieff. "He wasn't looking for accolades or celebrity. But I think he would have appreciated the fact that he was recognized in this way."