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$5-million gift bolsters women in engineering and business leadership

  • Communications
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  • Sep 27, 2017
$5-million gift bolsters women in engineering and business leadership

Linda Hasenfratz

WESTERN UNIVERSITY
LONDON, ON – September 27, 2017 – Women seeking to combine engineering and business degrees will receive a major boost at Western, thanks to a $5-million gift from Linamar Corporation and the families that grew it from a one-lathe machine shop into a multi-billion-dollar global enterprise.

Linamar, its CEO Linda Hasenfratz and her husband Ed Newton, and Linamar founder Frank Hasenfratz have invested $5 million to create the Linamar Scholarships for Women in Engineering and Business. The scholarships support up to 10 female students in the Western Engineering and Ivey Business School dual-degree program each year, providing half the cost of tuition and, in a unique feature, a guaranteed paid co-op placement and full-time job offer to graduating scholarship-holders.

The gift enables Western to support its best female students to succeed in school today, and provides them with early-career experience that will help them go on to be the engineering and business leaders of tomorrow.

“This is a great way to bring together the three things that mean a lot to me and to Linamar as a company: manufacturing, business and improved opportunities for women,” said Linda, who emphasized she hopes this will encourage more women to pursue a dual degree in engineering and business at Western. “Western has world-class engineering and business faculties — it’s the perfect combination to help develop this country’s next generation of women leaders.”

She said the advanced-manufacturing sector needs people who understand the technical, financial, production and business aspects of industry: The dual-degree program offered at Western, plus the guaranteed offer of employment, “puts graduates that much further ahead and gives them the ability to lead within our organization or any other. They’re ready to hit the ground running when they come in,” she said.

“This generous gift enables Western to support some of our best female students,” said Western President Amit Chakma. “It provides an unparalleled opportunity for academic growth and offers these future leaders an experience that, thanks to Linamar and the Hasenfratz and Newton families, will give them a stepping-stone to rewarding careers.”

Linda Hasenfratz, a Western alumna, holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master’s of Business Administration from the Ivey Business School. In addition to her strong philanthropic ties to Western, she also has strong family ties. Three of her four children attend Western, including her two oldest daughters who are taking a similar path in completing the engineering and business dual degree program that the newly-established scholarships support.  

Frank Hasenfratz received an honorary degree from Western in 2016 and is a member of the Order of Canada. A Hungarian immigrant, he started Linamar in 1964 from the basement of his home. Now, the Guelph-based auto-parts manufacturer employs more than 25,000 people in 59 manufacturing facilities in 15 countries, and generates annual sales in excess of $6 billion.

Said Chakma: “Linda and her family have learned the business from the inside-out and from the shop floor to the boardroom. They are living examples of how to do advanced manufacturing well, how to grow an enterprise and how to lead the world.”

QUOTABLE:

"We chose Western for this program because of its dual-degree opportunity in engineering and business. In five years, you can get two degrees and I love that combination.” Linda Hasenfratz, CEO of Linamar Corp.

"Our engineering graduates are sought-after around the world. To know that Linamar is investing in women engineers not only with scholarships but with guaranteed employment pays testament to both the family’s generosity and the strengths of our program.” Andy Hrymak, Dean, Western Engineering

"Linda’s career sets an extraordinary example of leadership; I can think of no better role model for our students. The gift provides the opportunity for students to gain a valuable dual degree that will help them become the engineering and business leaders of tomorrow.” Mark Vandenbosch, Acting Dean, Ivey Business School

MEDIA CONTACTS: 
Stephen Ledgley, Western University Senior Media Relations Officer, 519-661-2111 x85283 and stephen.ledgley@uwo.ca (until 3 p.m.) After 3 p.m., contact Debora Van Brenk, Media Relations Officer, 519-661-2111 x85165, or on mobile at 519-318-0657 and deb.vanbrenk@uwo.ca

ABOUT WESTERN:
Western University delivers an academic experience second to none. Since 1878, The Western Experience has combined academic excellence with life-long opportunities for intellectual, social and cultural growth in order to  serve our communities better. Our research excellence expands knowledge and drives discovery with real-world application. Western attracts individuals who have a broad worldview and who seek to study, influence and lead in the international community.