The fifth anniversary of a major milestone in Concordia’s history was celebrated by alumni, students, administrators, faculty, staff and supporters on September 26.
Various events commemorated Gina Parvaneh Cody, MEng 81, PhD 89, and her impact on her alma mater since she donated $15 million to the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science in 2018.
The Iranian immigrant and double alumna’s gift was the largest in support of the Campaign for Concordia: Next-Gen Now at the time. In recognition of her generosity, leadership and accomplished career, the faculty was renamed the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science — the first such faculty in Canada named after a woman.
The festivities began with a breakfast reception in the Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex (EV Building) for scholarship recipients who shared words of gratitude with Cody and Mourad Debbabi, dean of the Gina Cody School.
“As I look out at all of you, I’m reminded of the scale of Gina’s impact,” remarked Debbabi. “In the five years since her gift was announced, 20 graduate students and 49 undergraduate students have benefited from her scholarship support.
“Of course, Gina’s generosity has also led to the development of research chairs, grants for equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives, innovation fellowships, research infrastructure and much, much more.”
Cody, who has also volunteered her time to mentor students and advocate for more diversity in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines, told the assembled students that her gift was a way to pay it forward.
“When we achieve success, it’s important to be grateful and to be generous,” she said. “We should give thanks, and we should give back.
“My gift five years ago was a way for me to show my pride and to change some lives, just as my life was changed as a student. My hope is that you will take every opportunity to make your alma mater proud.”
A midday showcase of student-led research in the atrium of the EV Building included remarks from Paul Chesser, BA 94, GrDip 97, vice-president of Advancement, and a cake-cutting ceremony.
“In the five years since [Gina’s gift], the Gina Cody School has grown in stature and reputation, admitted more students and increased its research capacity and output,” observed Chesser. “Inspired by Gina’s vision, the school has also facilitated access to STEM fields through targeted scholarships, outreach initiatives and more.
“Gina, your example has energized our community and helped to foster a culture of philanthropy and service. Your tireless support as a donor, volunteer and mentor means the world to our students. Thank you for your enduring friendship and for being such a remarkable ambassador for your alma mater.”