Power Corporation of Canada, Canada Life gift to support scientific discovery at University of Lethbridge

The University of Lethbridge is pleased to announce that Power Corporation of Canada, together with Canada Life, is continuing its longstanding support of the University with a multi-faceted gift supporting scientific discovery and liberal education.

The donation, which totals $400,000 between the two organizations, includes $250,000 from Power Corporation and an additional $150,000 from Canada Life. The Power Corporation gift includes support to the Dr. Jim Coutts Prairie Research Program, a research program headed by U of L biologist Dr. Roy Golsteyn, and towards the development of a flexible lab and makerspace within the new Science Commons building.

The Canada Life gift also supports the Science Commons spaces and the valuable infrastructure that will allow U of L faculty and students to break boundaries with this unique and innovative research.

“At Canada Life, we believe education opens doors to the future. We’ve been a longtime supporter of the University of Lethbridge, and we’re pleased our funding can help bring the Science Commons to life,” says Paul Mahon, chief executive officer, Canada, at Canada Life. “The space is purposefully built to bring students of all ages together to learn from each other, experts and innovative programs, as well as support important research. We know this flexible lab and makerspace is a valuable addition to the University and will be a great asset to the community for years to come.”

Golsteyn’s project is specific to southern Alberta and born of the close relationship the University has had with the traditional Blackfoot territory on which it is situated, and the Blackfoot people. It’s a relationship that was also important to Dr. Jim Coutts (LLD ’12), whose generous gift of his homestead property led to the establishment of the Coutts Centre for Western Canadian Heritage in June 2011.

Coutts had a passion for the ecosystem of Western Canada and, in particular, the preservation and propagation of Western Canadian native prairie grasses. Golsteyn’s lab has become a space for students from the Blackfoot community who wish to use scientific approaches to study plants they may already know by Traditional knowledge or by knowledge from Blackfoot elders. The University of Lethbridge is an excellent place to foster different ways of viewing prairie plants and their impact on human cells, and specifically cancer cells.

“It is astonishing that, even in the 21st century, we are only beginning to realize that plants from the Alberta prairies contain chemicals of medical importance,” says Golsteyn. “This funding will continue to support our students and our research as we investigate these plants, seeking the chemicals that may lead to new and better treatments for eradicating cancer.”

“Power Corporation of Canada believes that leading-edge research and great educators change lives for the better and improve our communities,” mentions Paul Genest, senior vice-president, Power Corporation of Canada. “That is why we are so pleased to support the Dr. Jim Coutts Prairie Research Program, and to partner with Canada Life in support of the Science Commons Flexible Lab Space here at the University of Lethbridge. The University and Dr. Golsteyn are to be commended for their commitment to scientific innovation, using an approach that is respectful of indigenous knowledge and our Canadian ecological and cultural heritage.”

The investments are part of the U of L’s SHINE campaign and highlight the relationship with the University’s corporate partners and their support of a knowledge-driven future where faculty and students work to discover new solutions to perplexing problems and enabling positive change.

“We’re extremely grateful to Power Corporation of Canada for recognizing the incredible potential of Dr. Golsteyn’s project and how their support will push this research forward while empowering the next generation of scientific leaders, and to Canada Life for their support of Science Commons, which is changing the way we engage science students and the community at the U of L,” says Dr. Mike Mahon, the U of L’s president and vice-chancellor.

The University’s SHINE campaign continues to garner unprecedented donor support and has currently raised $88 million toward its $100-million goal.