Campaign McGill surges forward with new $4.1-million gift

Robert Wares, BSc'79
Robert Wares, BSc'79, is the executive vice-president and chief operating officer of Osisko Mining Corporation, the company he founded in 1998.

Mining executive supports young talent in Earth and Planetary Sciences

By McGill Reporter staff

A new donation of $4.1 million in support of outstanding students and junior faculty members in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences in the Faculty of Science is the latest generous gift to Campaign McGill, which recently surpassed the $500-million mark on the way to its $750-million goal.

Robert Wares, BSc’79, and Osisko Mining Corporation have each donated an equal amount of Osisko shares to create a $4.1-million endowment in support of the next generation of Canadian geologists. A portion of the gift will be matched by the McConnell Challenge Fund, created in 2008 by The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation.

“It’s time to inject some money into replenishing the geological profession,” said Wares, who founded Osisko Mining Corporation in 1998 and is currently its executive vice-president and chief operating officer. Osisko is currently developing the Canadian Malartic gold project in northern Quebec, slated to become Quebec’s biggest gold mine.

“During the last mineral exploration boom, we had a hard time finding geologists,” explained Wares, who is also president of the Ordre des géologues du Québec, the professional body that controls the practice of geology in the province. “Earth sciences departments across the country have been chronically underfunded for the last 15 years, some departments have even closed, and this has seriously hindered student enrollment. I’m interested in backing dynamic young talent and encouraging students to enroll in earth sciences. New mineral discoveries and the future of the mining industry depend on a steady supply of qualified geologists, and industry leaders in this country need to get more involved.”

The gift will fund these four areas in McGill’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences:

– The Robert Wares and the Osisko Faculty Scholars in Economic Geology, two new tenure-track positions to attract and retain top junior faculty.

– Fellowships to support outstanding graduate students in the department.

– Scholarships for promising undergraduates who have completed at least one year of the BSc program in the department.

– The Dawson Field Study Support Fund, a new fund named after geologist Sir John William Dawson, principal of McGill from 1855 to1893.

“We are tremendously grateful for Bob’s leadership,” said Prof. John Stix, chair of the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. “This generous gift will help us to attract and retain the very best junior faculty members, as well as the top students from around the world. To receive this kind of visionary support from an industry executive is truly gratifying.”

Through the McConnell Challenge Fund, McGill will be able to match the donation amounts for the fellowship, scholarship and field study portions of the gift – further increasing the impact of the gift by $1 million.

“Our sincere thanks go to Bob Wares for stepping up to the plate personally with an incredible gift in support of his alma mater, and also for enlisting the support of his board to back the training needs of future geologists,” said Marc Weinstein, Vice-Principal (Development and Alumni Relations). “As well, I’d like to express once again our deep gratitude to The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation for the establishment of this challenge fund, which continues their eight-decade legacy of supporting the student experience at McGill.”

Campaign McGill was publicly launched in October 2007 to raise the funds needed to attract and retain the world’s best students and faculty, increase access to quality education and enhance McGill’s ability to address critical global challenges.

Earth and planetary sciences is an interdisciplinary field of study which applies physics, chemistry, mathematics and biology to understand the past, present and future evolution of the Earth and its neighbouring planets.

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For more information on McGill’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, please visit