McGill grad gives $1.2 million for fellowships in Science

By Allyson Rowley

McGill alumnus Richard Hart (PhD’70, MBA’73) isn’t a big fan of thank-you cards when it comes to expressing his appreciation. He believes in something a little more substantial – as witnessed by his recent $1.2-million gift to create the Molson and Hilton Hart Fellowships in Science. The fellowships will recognize and promote the scholarship and academic achievements of graduate students in the Faculty of Science.

“I have a lot of thank-you’s to give for the financial aid that I received as a graduate student. That’s why I’m directing my giving to fellowships for future graduate students,” Hart said, noting that he chose to name the new fellowships in honour of his two sons, because “the next generation is more important than the last.”

“I came from New Zealand for doctoral studies in chemistry,” said Hart, explaining why he chose McGill over a number of other top universities. “McGill was very good to me,” he said. He credited generous support from Molson Breweries and the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, as well as an NRC grant, with helping him get through the grueling pace of graduate studies.

After graduating from McGill, Hart moved to the U.S. where he carved out a career in biotech. Now President of American Diagnostica, a global biotech diagnostics company founded in 1982, Hart said, “I never forgot McGill.”

A long-time McGill volunteer, Hart is a founding member of the Faculty of Science Advisory Board (now the Science Campaign Committee). He received the Distinguished Service Award from the McGill Alumni Association in 2004.

“We are most grateful for Richard’s tremendous leadership, vision and commitment,” said Martin Grant, Dean of the Faculty of Science. “These new fellowships will allow us to continue to attract the best and the brightest from around the world who – like Richard himself – will go on to make significant contributions in their fields.”

Hart believes strongly in the importance of giving back in support of future generations. He plans to make a further gift to McGill in the coming year. His advice to others is straightforward: “Do your giving while you’re living.”

“We are indeed blessed to have such loyal and generous alumni as Richard, helping us achieve such phenomenal success with Campaign McGill,” said Marc Weinstein, Vice-Principal (Development and Alumni Relations). “This campaign is all about ensuring that McGill remains a world leader as a research-intensive, student-centred university. With such great support from leaders like Richard, we are certainly well on our way.”

Hart’s generous gift helps keep the momentum going for Campaign McGill: History in the Making, which recently surpassed the $500-million mark on the way to its ambitious $750-million goal. Publicly launched in October 2007, Campaign McGill is raising 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 such critical global challenges as sustainability, health and wellness, and global prosperity. Campaign McGill was launched with a $750-million target, at the time the largest starting goal in the history of Canadian universities.

For more information on Campaign McGill, please visit