York University alumnus Douglas Bergeron (BA Spec. Hons. ’83) and his wife Sandra together donated $2 million to create the Bergeron Entrepreneurs in Science & Technology (BEST) Program at York University. The funds will be used to support newly created entrepreneurial programs and initiatives focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) majors.
The announcement was made at a special event last night hosted by York President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri and Janusz Kozinski, dean of York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering. The event was held at Toronto’s landmark Casa Loma.
“We are thrilled to be the recipients of $2 million from Doug and Sandra Bergeron,” said Shoukri. “This generous gift will allow York University to create a unique interdisciplinary program in entrepreneurship that will teach real world business experience to aspiring student-entrepreneurs, so that they can contribute to Canada’s growing knowledge-based economy.”
The Bergeron gift will be matched by funding from other sources and is a part of York’s Engineering expansion initiative.
“The Bergeron Entrepreneurs in the Science & Technology Program will be like no other in Canada,” said Kozinski. “ The BEST will help us create a true partnership between the professional disciplines of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, business and law. It is especially stimulating being able to do so thanks to the generosity of our own alumnus, Doug Bergeron, and his wife Sandra.”
The BEST Program will groom the next generation of entrepreneurial minds.
“A solid science and technology education is a fundamental stepping stone to technology entrepreneurship, but often alone not sufficient. Aspiring technology entrepreneurs also need interdisciplinary exposure to private equity finance, law and business plan formulation,” explained Mr. Bergeron. “York University has embraced this concept and we hope The BEST will inspire York students to diversify their practical education so that they will be better prepared for tomorrow.”
Graduates of the Bergeron Entrepreneur in Science & Technology program will earn a Bergeron Distinction in Entrepreneurship and New Ventures – certification that the graduate truly understands, appreciates and embraces the entrepreneurial mindset and is ready to tackle any innovation challenge.
The top two scholars will be awarded the Bergeron Entrepreneur Medal. Both the distinction and the medal will be recognized at graduation.
“We are delighted to create 100 fellowships over the next 10 years to support young women and men at York who show great promise and leadership potential,” said Mrs. Bergeron.
The gift extends Doug and Sandra Bergeron’s previous $1.5 million commitments to Georgia State University and the University of California at Berkeley with unique programs targeting high-potential female technology undergraduates. Since 2006, 31 women have been named Bergeron Scholars and each recipient has received financial assistance, but most importantly has been paired with a C-level female technology mentor in the private sector.
“These fellowships will enable students to realize their academic dreams and contribute to their entrepreneurial aspirations,” added Mr. Bergeron.