Volume 96, Issue 100
Tuesday, April 8, 2003

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Robarts receives helping hand from TD

By Paolo Zinatelli
Gazette Staff

The Robarts Research Institute received a donation from Toronto Dominion Bank recently to establish a business development program at the institute.

The $250,000 donation from TD was received by Robarts last week, said Susan Horvath, VP-external at Robarts. "TD has been a supporter before," she added.

The money will be used to fund a business development program, Horvath said. "Staff who have science and business expertise work with scientists to discover what to patent," she explained, adding the donation will go directly towards the salary and training of the programs first associate, Hermanth Varghese.

Varghese is currently finishing his PhD at Western, Horvath explained. "The bank saw this as a great opportunity," she said, adding the funds will help Varhese further develop his business skills.

"[This program] is taking me out of science and training me in business," Varhese said, noting he is completing his PhD in medical bio-physics.

"They are taking advantage of my science background," he said. The program has already started, Varhese explained, adding the funding is not directly for him, but for whoever holds the position in years to come.

Varhese said he became involved in the program through a chance meeting at The Wave, where he worked until last year. A master of business administration session was taking place there, and he was introduced to Michael Crowley, Robarts VP-business development and his current boss, Varhese explained.

"I began working part-time [at Robarts], and just came on full-time," he said. Under the program he will be trained in such areas as property law and finance, Varhese added.

Neil Parmenter, media relations manager at TD, said the bank has had a long history of working with Robarts.

"We try to look for projects that are used to invest in people," he said, adding the bank has donated over $700,000 to similar projects over the last 17 years.

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2002 THE GAZETTE