Alumnus Erwin Edward Hart (BASc 1940) left a $20-million bequest to bolster early-career research and graduate student mentorship.

Posted on June 10, 2016

A historic $20-million bequest from the estate of alumnus Erwin Edward Hart (BASc 1940) will drive the engineering profession forward by supporting emerging research and education at U of T’s Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering and providing enhanced opportunities for graduate students.

The income from the Hart Trust will fund the Percy Edward Hart and Erwin Edward Hart Professorships. Seven faculty members, each within the first 10 years of their academic career, will receive $75,000 per year for three years for research and graduate student support. The recipients will be nominated by their department or institute and will have demonstrated a high level of research excellence and exemplary graduate mentorship.

Why investing in early-career faculty is good for innovation

“The Hart Professorships are an outstanding example of the impact that can be made when visionary generosity meets visionary leadership,” says University of Toronto President Meric Gertler. “Mr. Hart’s legacy gift will bolster the work of promising researchers at a crucial stage in their careers.”

The professorships will foster the next generation of engineering research leaders and educators, and strengthen the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering’s position as one of the world’s great engineering schools.

“Investments in early-career faculty will accelerate research and innovation,” adds Dean Cristina Amon of Applied Science & Engineering. “This gift will support generations of professors and deepen our Faculty’s culture of research and teaching excellence. It will also strengthen the Faculty’s ability to recruit top early-career educators and researchers from around the world. Our students will benefit by working with faculty members who are committed to mentoring the next generation of innovators.”

The power of flexible gifts to fulfill an extraordinary vision

Drawing by Andrea M. Listro

Erwin Edward Hart
Drawing by Andrea M. Listro

Erwin Edward Hart was a long-time employee of agricultural equipment manufacturer Massey-Ferguson Ltd., and served as the company’s chief welding engineer. The professorships are named in honour of Hart and his late father, Percy Edward Hart.

The terms of the Hart Trust have enabled the faculty’s leaders to carry out Hart’s intentions in a way that supports the faculty’s strategic priorities and addresses its evolving needs. Flexible gifts are one of the most effective ways to make a lasting impact and help the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering further its vision: to prepare the next generation of global engineering leaders and advance solutions to critical world challenges through experiential learning, cross-disciplinary collaboration and ground-breaking innovations that push boundaries and improve people’s lives.

This bequest contributes to U of T Engineering’s $200-million fundraising goal as part of the $2-billion Boundless campaign for the University of Toronto. To date, the Faculty has raised more than $180 million.

The first cohort of Hart Professors began September 2016. Read about these young scientists and their intriguing research.