Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis are joining a select group of Canadians who have given more than $100 million in support to post-secondary education and research.
The University of Waterloo is today announcing that the pair are donating an additional $25 million to the Institute for Quantum Computing. The new gift raises their total donation to IQC to $101 million.
"This extraordinarily generous gift reflects Mike and Ophelia's passion for fundamental research and it gives increased exposure to quantum computing around the world," said Waterloo president David Johnston. "Their generosity has helped launch IQC into the forefront of quantum information processing research, making Waterloo one of the world's premier destinations in the field."
Previously, Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis gave $76 million to support the development of the IQC, including a major share for construction of the Quantum-Nano Centre, a distinguished research chair in quantum computing, and international graduate fellowships. This gift was key in obtaining $100 million, $50 million each from the federal government and the Ontario government, toward the $160-million Quantum-Nano Centre and the IQC.
"We are excited to add support to what is becoming the epicentre of quantum research and experimentation," said Mike Lazaridis. "Our investment in fundamental research at the Institute of Quantum Computing will help researchers tackle some of today's most challenging problems and seed some of tomorrow's biggest innovations."
Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis are part of a select group of philanthropists who have given more than $100 million in support of higher education in Canada.
The Quantum-Nano Centre will be home to two forefront areas of science and engineering: quantum information technology and nanotechnology. Quantum deals with the atomic and sub-atomic levels, where the usual laws of physics do not apply; things can, for instance, exist in two places at the same time. Nanotechnology deals with the fabrication and behaviour of materials, devices and systems in the size range of atoms or molecules, generally 100 nanometres or smaller.
Besides the IQC, the centre will accommodate the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology and Waterloo's undergraduate program in nanotechnology engineering. It will serve the needs of up to 400 academics, equally split between the quantum and nano sides, with most coming from the faculties of engineering, mathematics and science.
Mike Lazaridis, who served as Waterloo's chancellor from May 1, 2003 to April 30, 2009, will be installed as chancellor emeritus on Saturday, June 13 during spring convocation. He has also been a dedicated employer of thousands of the university's co-op students and graduates since he founded Research In Motion 25 years ago.
Ophelia Lazaridis is a member of the university's board of governors. She holds a bachelor of mathematics from Waterloo.