He's been there: Donor gives $1 million to Schulich School

Gerald J. Maier has accomplished many things throughout his career. He’s the former president, CEO and chairman of TransCanada Pipelines, board director of more than 10 international corporations and the recipient of awards from more than 30 institutions and organizations, including the Canadian Engineering Leader Award presented by U of C’s Schulich School of Engineering. He’s also an Officer of the Order of Canada.        

Despite all of his success, Maier has not forgotten where he came from. Born and raised in a small town in Southern Saskatchewan, Maier started with humble beginnings. After attending high school at the Athol Murray College of Notre Dame in Wilcox, he scraped together enough money to attend the University of Alberta.          

He did whatever he could to pay for his education—borrowing money, taking part-time jobs and working through the night while trying to study.

It’s these memories of struggle that inspires Maier to support students today.

He did so with a $1-million donation to the Schulich School of Engineering. “I know there are quite a number of students that have the intellect and ability but don’t have the financial resources to make it through university,” says Maier. “As long as they have the ability and interest, the drive and commitment, I feel it’s important to support them in their journey.”

The gift was directed to endow the Gerald Maier/Chan Wirasinghe scholarship. “Including former dean’s Chan Wirasinghe’s name on the scholarship was fundamentally important to me. He brought so much to the U of C and the faculty of engineering,” says Maier. “Throughout my worldly experiences I’ve been affiliated with many universities and professors. In terms of innovation, intelligence and leadership, he is clearly in the top 10 percent in the world. It’s an honour to have his name included in this scholarship.”

Maier is well-known for his many philanthropic contributions and commitments. One of those commitments speaks directly to his appreciation for his roots. He has been chairman of the board of regents of his high school since 1997, which means many trips back and forth to Saskatchewan.

He understands there’s unlimited need to support education and he enjoys using his experiences and knowledge to support our future leaders—especially when it means a trip back home.

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