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Donation gives engineering research a boost at Western


London, ON July 11, 2003 Don Smith, London philanthropist and founder of the multinational company Ellis Don, has donated $500,000 to support the University of Western Ontario’s Faculty of Engineering.

Smith founded Ellis Don in London in 1951 with three employees and $15,000. Since then he has helped build structures such as the Sky Dome in Toronto and the National Art Gallery in Ottawa.

His donation to Western will support the construction of the Don Smith Design Studio in the new Thompson Advanced Technology Centre. The studio will house computing technology to support the virtual elements of design, lab facilities to support the physical construction stage of projects, and conference rooms to assist with multi-disciplinary group collaboration.

"Don Smith’s generous commitment to the Faculty of Engineering recognizes the importance of research and innovation," says Dr Paul Davenport, Western’s president. "His contribution allows us to continue to expand and improve our facilities and provide our students with a world-class education. His commitment to engineering at Western over the past decades has been truly extraordinary."

Half of Smith’s donation will be allocated to the Design Studio and will leverage matching funds from provincial and federal programs. The remaining $250,000 will be endowed at Foundation Western as a permanent resource for the faculty.