Myhal family champions next-generation engineering innovation and entrepreneurship

Rayla Myhal, Dean Cristina Amon, George Myhal
From right: George Myhal (IndE 7T8), Dean Cristina Amon and Rayla Myhal. As the finishing touches are made on U of T Engineering’s newest building ahead of its official opening on April 27, George and Rayla Myhal have bolstered their commitment to engineering innovation and entrepreneurship with a generous gift that will name the building in their honour.

This spring when U of T Engineering opens the doors to the Myhal Centre for Engineering Innovation & Entrepreneurship (Myhal Centre), it will mark the success of an ambitious campaign and reflect a new era for engineering – one with multidisciplinary collaboration and active, experiential learning at its core. The Myhal Centre will offer one of the finest teaching and research environments of any engineering school in the world, fostering innovation and interaction among talented students and faculty at one of the world’s top-ranked programs.

When Dean Cristina Amon and the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering envisioned this state-of-the-art space in the heart of U of T’s St. George campus, George Myhal (IndE 7T8) and his wife, Rayla, were immediately taken with the idea. Long before the groundbreaking, when the building only existed in architectural renderings and blueprints, the Myhals were two of the project’s most ardent champions. To rally support from the broader U of T Engineering community and government, George Myhal took the lead as the chair of Engineering’s Campaign Executive Committee.

Now, as the finishing touches are being made on the eight-storey building, ahead of its official opening on April 27, George and Rayla Myhal have bolstered their commitment with a generous gift that will name the new building in their honour.

“The Faculty’s ambitious vision has come to fruition,” says George Myhal. “It is a testament to the impeccable leadership of Dean Cristina Amon, and the affinity, pride and engagement that is palpable among our donors, faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends. This building will transform the Faculty and have a lasting impact on future generations of engineers.”

Located on St. George Street, adjacent to Simcoe and Convocation Halls, the Myhal Centre is a cornerstone of the University of Toronto’s Boundless Campaign, which is raising a historic $2.4 billion for Canada’s leading research institution. The building’s dynamic, flexible learning environments, including Technology-Enhanced Active Learning classrooms, design studios and fabrication facilities, will break down artificial barriers between people, fostering interaction, encouraging active learning and accelerating innovation. It will house some of U of T Engineering’s most innovative, world-leading institutes and centres – from the Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering to the Centre for Global Engineering to The Entrepreneurship Hatchery.

“George and Rayla’s commitment and generosity will accelerate innovation in Toronto and enable us to harness the boundless energy and creativity of our engineering community,” says Dean Cristina Amon. “The Myhal Centre for Engineering Innovation & Entrepreneurship will strengthen multidisciplinary research, nurture entrepreneurship and cultivate future global engineering leaders. Their gift will have a tremendous impact on our students’ engineering education by providing new opportunities for experiential and technology-enhanced active learning, as well as design studios and dedicated space for student clubs and co-curricular activities.”

“On behalf of the entire U of T community, I would like to thank George and Rayla Myhal for their incredible leadership and their dedication to this project,” says U of T President Meric Gertler. “The Myhal Centre will provide a state-of-the-art environment to support our Engineering community in translating imagination into reality.”

George Myhal is a dynamic business leader, philanthropist and volunteer

George Myhal had a distinguished career with Brookfield Asset Management Inc. over almost 40 years. He is presently President and CEO of Partners Value Investments Inc. He was recently named a member of the Order of Canada for his achievements as an investment and finance leader, and for his philanthropic contributions, notably in support of innovation in engineering. He also has a long history as a volunteer in the wider University of Toronto community, serving for more than a decade on the Governing Council and the Faculty’s Dean’s Strategic Council. He was also a member of the Great Minds campaign cabinet and is currently a member of the Boundless Campaign Executive. This fall he will receive the degree Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, from the University, in recognition of his leadership in business and the community and his service to the University.

George credits his success, in part, to the educational opportunities afforded to him after his family emigrated from western Ukraine. When he and Rayla thought about the best way they could give back and say “thank you,” they said it seemed natural to choose U of T Engineering.

“U of T Engineering offers an outstanding education,” George says. “The new building will enable world-class research and education, providing a rich environment for collaboration and excellence. This is critical for 21st-century engineers who are driving innovation in industry, government, academia and beyond. This space will inspire a very bright future for us all.”

Article originally published at U of T Engineering News. April 5, 2018, by Engineering Strategic Communications.