Two McGill grads fund School of Environment’s first chair

Val Bradshaw, BA’61, and Richard Bradshaw, BCom’61, have donated $1.5 million, which has been matched by McGill, to create the Liber Ero Chair in Environment.

By Allyson Rowley

The McGill School of Environment has received a major boost with new funding to establish the School’s first chair.

“It’s a critical time in our world,” said Richard Bradshaw, BCom’61. “We’re very lucky to be in a position to help in some way, and funding an endowed chair is a way to keep giving forever.” He and his wife Val Bradshaw, BA’61, have donated $1.5 million, which has been matched by the University, to create the Liber Ero Chair in Environment, a new position at McGill at the full professor level.

“We can’t leave environmental issues to the politicians and government bureaucrats,” added Val Bradshaw. “We believe scientists have an important contribution to make.”

Based in Vancouver, the Bradshaws are already philanthropic leaders in the area of environmental research. They have funded a chair in fisheries research at the University of Victoria, as well as a chair in coastal studies at Simon Fraser University. Liber Ero means “I will be free” and is the Bradshaw’s family motto dating back to their roots in England.

“Being able to create a completely new position in today’s economic climate is truly exceptional,” said Professor Marilyn Scott, Director of the McGill School of Environment (MSE). “We are indeed grateful for the Bradshaws’ generosity, which will have a transformative impact on our research, education, and outreach missions.”

The new chair will attract a world-class scholar with experience in both the social and natural sciences. “At the MSE, we look at the interfaces between the social and natural sciences,” Scott explained. “To actually implement solutions, we need an understanding of the social sciences – the way people think about things – as well as the traditional scientific approach.”

Founded in 1998, the MSE encompasses the Faculties of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Arts, Science, and Law. The MSE now has 787 alumni as of the November 2009 Convocation. The new chair is expected to be filled by 2011 for a renewable term of seven years.

This gift is the largest to date from the Vancouver area to Campaign McGill, the university’s fundraising initiative which 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 critical global challenges.

Campaign McGill has recently surpassed the $500 million mark on the way to its ambitious $750 million goal. This momentum is thanks to more than 70,000 alumni, parents and friends who have contributed gifts of all sizes.

For more information on the McGill School of Environment, please visit

For more information on Campaign McGill: History in the Making, please visit