The donor: Bob Wares
The gift: $5-million
The cause: McGill University
The reason: To support scholarships and research in earth sciences
When Bob Wares was growing up in Montreal he loved collecting rocks and dreamed about becoming a geologist.
Mr. Wares studied earth sciences at McGill University in the 1970s and went on to a 35-year career in mining which included discovering one of Canada’s large gold deposits in Quebec and another major gold find in Arizona. Over the years, he’s become increasingly concerned about the dwindling number of geologists in Canada and he began donating to McGill’s Earth and Planetary Sciences department.
His biggest gift was contributed this month when he donated $5-million toward scholarships, research programs and to fund an outreach co-ordinator who will liaise with CEGEPs and high schools to encourage students to study earth sciences. He also donated $4.1-million in 2009 which funded scholarships and research awards.
“The whole objective is to boost the geology department,” he said from his home in Montreal. “The country is running out of geologists and the only way to remedy that is to encourage students to go into earth sciences … Whether we like it or not, we’re still consuming metals and oil and we’re not about to move away from that.”
Mr. Wares said he routinely receives letters from students who have benefited from the scholarships. “I get first-hand experience with what impact it’s having,” he said. And maybe some of them will find some major deposits too. “Hopefully,” he said, “Canada needs more deposits.”