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Family recognizes mentor through $7-million donation to SAIT technology complex


July 11, 2011
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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It started decades ago when a Petroleum Technology student nearly gave up on his education at Calgary, Alta.-based SAIT. His instructor and mentor urged him to stay and finish. Decades later, that student and his wife — Stan and Jane Grad — returned to SAIT to announce a $7-million donation towards the Promising Futures Campaign for SAIT’s Trades and Technology Complex.

“My time on this campus — the hands-on education I received and the mentor I found — was the catalyst I needed to move forward with my aspirations,” said Stan Grad. “It was during my time at SAIT where I gained confidence in myself and in my abilities.”

In recognition of the donation from the Grad family, the Heart building, constructed in 2001, will take on a new name.

“When the Trades and Technology Complex opens in the fall of 2012, the building — currently known as the Heart building — will have its name changed to the Stan Grad Centre,” said Irene Lewis, SAIT president and CEO. “We are extremely thankful for this generous legacy gift from the Grad family. Throughout Stan’s career, he has kept SAIT in his heart, and renaming the Heart building after this fine SAIT ambassador is most fitting.”

Grad completed Petroleum Technology in 1967 and has many fond memories of his time at SAIT, especially of his former instructor and lifelong mentor, Reg Erhardt. Erhardt worked at SAIT for 29 years, rising through the ranks from instructor all the way to president in 1990-91. In recognition of the impact Erhardt has had on Grad’s life, the family asked to have the library named the Reg Erhardt Library.

“Reg is all about education,” said Grad. “He knew how to motivate me to pursue my education and follow my goals. Naming the library in recognition of the impact Reg had on me — and on all of the students who learned from him over the years — is an absolute honour.”

Erhardt was extremely humbled by the gesture.

“I only did for Stan what all SAIT instructors do for their students, or try to do. I knew he had it in him to succeed, and I’m glad that he proved me right,” said Erhardt. “I accept this tribute, and dedicate it to all my fellow instructors — past, present and future.”

This $7-million gift provides the Promising Futures Campaign with the funds needed to reach its initial $75-million target — and SAIT is not stopping there. The polytechnic will build on the success of this campaign and continue fundraising in support of additional priorities. The additional funds will be used to support the tools and technical equipment for the Trades and Technology Complex, as well as scholarships and bursaries, and items to enhance program excellence.