Concordia University alumna donates $15M, faculty of engineering named after her

First for Canada: Concordia names engineering school after woman
WATCH: Concordia University has named its engineering school after trailblazing engineer Gina Cody. When she graduated in the late 1980s, she was outnumbered by men. And as Amanda Jelowicki reports, Cody is paving the way for a new generation of female engineers.

Concordia University alumna Gina Cody has made a historic $15-million donation to the school’s Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science.

To thank Cody for her generous gift, the engineering faculty has been renamed the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science.

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It is the first university engineering faculty in Canada to be named after a woman.

“Being female, or being from another country didn’t matter,” she explained.

“It was how well could I perform?”

Cody, a business leader, engineer and philanthropist, arrived in Canada from Iran in 1979, earning a PhD in building engineering — the first woman to do so at Concordia.

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“I want this donation to inspire other proud Concordia graduates to come forward,” Cody said, noting that she had $2,000 with her when she arrived in Canada.

“The goal is that in 10 to 15 years, there will be so many examples like me that I am forgotten. I hope there will be so many women in science, engineering and technology that it’s no longer an issue.”

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Since graduating in 1989, she has worked for three decades to become a highly successful engineering executive.

“I was respected for who I am because it was my knowledge and understanding in my practice,” she said.

Her gift is the largest to date and supports the Campaign for Concordia: Next-Gen to fund research and scholarships.

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She credits much of her success to the scholarship that allowed her to pursue graduate studies.

“University is a platform for women, people of colour, Indigenous populations and other minorities to pursue their dreams,” she said.

Her donation will go to supporting next-gen research into smart cities and establish three chairs in data analytics and artificial intelligence, internet of things and industry 4.0 and advance manufacturing.

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Concordia president Alan Shepard called Cody a role model, describing her generosity as a “watershed moment for engineering and computer science in Canada.”