Alumni couple's generous gift born of deep commitment

(Edmonton) Paulette (’80 BCom) and Tony (’79 BCom) Lashuk know something about commitment. The high-school sweethearts committed to each other in marriage while they attended the Alberta School of Business together. They committed to their financial goals and achieved them. And they have now made one of the largest-ever bequest commitments to the University of Alberta—a $5-million gift to endow an “innovation fund,” representing a deep commitment to the institution and the future.

The fund will provide financing to support the inventive ideas and work of students, faculty, staff and researchers in the faculties of engineering and science. The Lashuks say they hope their gift will help teach the next generation of creators and innovators at the University of Alberta, and support research into new technologies that can help solve the challenges the world will face in the future.

“The University of Alberta has a long history of developing innovation in science, technology and engineering that power our economy and transform society,” says U of A president and vice-chancellor Indira Samarasekera. “A gift like this inspires our best efforts. It will support a wide variety of groundbreaking projects and activities, advance important future study and research, and enable the University of Alberta community to explore a wide range of creative, scientific and technical endeavours.”

After attending high school and university together, and since retiring from successful careers in the corporate world—Paulette as an accountant and Tony as a stockbroker—the couple has been enjoying a simple lifestyle at their waterfront property near Lone Pine, Alberta.

They are now in a position to leave a legacy at their alma mater that satisfies their desire to be a part of something bigger in the future.

“There are times I wish I could come back to university to study engineering or computing science—do something creative, make things,” admits Tony. “Engineers and innovative people are in short supply, so we wanted to do our part to ensure there are more of them in our society in the future.”

“I feel great that maybe we’ll be part of some innovation down the road,” says Paulette. “Maybe someone will find a cleaner way to utilize oilsands or something like that—who knows. Alberta is very fortunate,” she adds. “We’ve got a lot of resources, but that may not always be the case. This gift is our way of encouraging diversification of our economy.”