September 25, 2018
Three decades after becoming the first woman to earn a PhD in building engineering from Concordia University, Gina Parvaneh Cody, MEng 81, PhD 89, has made history by giving $15 million to her alma mater. In recognition of her transformative gift to the “Campaign for Concordia: Next-Gen. Now”, the university has named its faculty of engineering and computer science after the alumna.
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The Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science is the first engineering faculty in Canada — and one of the first internationally — to be named after a woman.
Gina Cody, a top business leader and building engineer, credits much of her success to Concordia because the university provided her with an entrance scholarship. “I arrived in Canada as a young student from Iran in 1979 with $2,000,” she says. “Concordia welcomed me and provided me with support that changed my life. My gift to the university is for the next generation, so that more people can succeed like I did.”
Gina Cody believes that the best way for anyone to succeed is through higher education. “University is a platform for women, people of colour, Indigenous populations and other minorities to pursue their dreams. That is why I am deeply committed to Concordia, and why I am making this donation. I hope my gift inspires other proud Concordia graduates to come forward to support more students and help them pursue their dreams.”
Gina Cody’s gift will support graduate and undergraduate scholarships, as well as next-gen research on smart cities. Her gift will allow the creation of three new chairs — in data analytics and artificial intelligence; the internet of things; Industry 4.0 and advanced manufacturing. Part of her gift, which Concordia will match, will go towards a special fund for equity, diversity and inclusion programming.
By lending her first and last name to the faculty of engineering and computer science, Gina Cody hopes to break down the barriers that may prevent women from pursuing a career in engineering. Nationally, according to Engineers of Canada, only 20 per cent of university engineering students are women. Statistics Canada reports only 12.8 per cent of working engineers are women.
“Gina Cody is a role model for all of us and her generosity is a watershed moment for engineering and computer science in Canada,” says Concordia President Alan Shepard. “Her gift will have a profound impact on our institution. Our engineering and computer science programs are among the strongest in Canada and the world. This gift allows us to build on the incredible strength that is already known, recognized and respected globally and to make it even stronger for the next generation.”
Amir Asif, dean of the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science, says the gift’s impact is significant: “Our faculty has made big strides and this donation will allow us to rise to the next level. It will provide the resources to train future engineers and computer science leaders who will develop next-gen technologies for the benefit of society. The name change is a reflection of our desire to achieve equity, diversity, and inclusion with a particular emphasis on gender balance. Gina will be a perfect role model for young women and inspire them to join this exciting profession.”
Gina Cody distinguished herself as an engineer and a female entrepreneur. She was executive chair and principal shareholder of a Toronto-based, national leading engineering consulting firm. In 2010, Profit magazine named her among its top 10 female entrepreneurs. Gina Cody sold her shares in the company and retired in 2016.
About the Campaign for Concordia: Next-Gen. Now
The Campaign for Concordia: Next-Gen. Now — the largest appeal in the institution’s history — will raise $250 million to support the university’s ambition to rethink higher-education teaching and research. Launched November 1, 2017, the Campaign for Concordia will support the university’s nine strategic directions. According to rankings by the Times Higher Education, Concordia is among the top two per cent of universities in the world and number two in North America for universities under 50 years old. The Campaign for Concordia will support research and teaching that benefit the university’s 48,000 students, 7,000 faculty and staff and more than 215,000 alumni. Learn more at www.concordia.ca/campaign.