March 8, 2018

Donation enhances entrepreneurial thinking at University of Calgary

Elizabeth Cannon and Gérard Lachapelle donate to create endowed award

What if a student sitting next to you — in a classroom, at an event, at the table across from you in Mac Hall — is on the verge of something big … a new invention, an innovative business or enterprise, or becoming a leader in their chosen field of study?

What if they never get to realize their true potential because of financial constraints? Elizabeth Cannon and Gérard Lachapelle want to do what they can to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Cannon, president of the University of Calgary, and her husband, professor emeritus in the Schulich School of Engineering, are donating $1 million to create the Cannon Lachapelle Award in Entrepreneurial Thinking.

  • Photo above: University of Calgary President Elizabeth Cannon and her husband, Gérard Lachapelle, professor emeritus in the Schulich School of Engineering. Photo by Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

“We chose to make this gift because it enables promising students to become entrepreneurial thinkers,” explains Cannon. “Both of our careers in teaching and research at the University of Calgary have been about helping students to focus on innovation — which is about thinking outside the box — and with the launch of the Hunter Hub, this is a significant strategic priority for UCalgary across all disciplines.”

Adds Lachapelle, “Getting students involved in entrepreneurial thinking is key to developing community builders and leaders for the future.  This is important for our students, our university, and for Elizabeth and me.”

Each year, up to four undergraduate students will be awarded scholarships allowing them to explore and develop their creativity and innovation to find new ways of doing, shaping, thinking and supporting the UCalgary campus community and society beyond. One of the four awards will be granted once an embedded certificate in entrepreneurship has been established at the University of Calgary.

The students can come from any faculty and any field of study. One of the eligibility requirements includes a submitted essay detailing how the student has already applied entrepreneurial thinking to a project or activity.

The gift will be used by the university to create an endowed award, with the first scholarships awarded in 2019. 

The Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking is the University of Calgary’s new multidisciplinary initiative to engage and immerse students, faculty, staff, alumni and the community in a culture of entrepreneurial thinking, challenging them with a new and bold approach to teaching, learning, discovery and knowledge-sharing.