When Ross Beaty says, “there’s no magic to water”, it would be easy to mistake his meaning. As an outspoken environmentalist and supporter of alternative energy, Mr. Beaty is, at his core, a big-picture thinker. He explains, “Water is a subset of all nature. To me, it’s all part of the whole picture of protecting nature and preserving biodiversity. It’s all interconnected. It’s important to look after all of it.”
A geologist and highly successful resource company entrepreneur, Mr. Beaty is rounding out a lifetime commitment to conservation with a $5-million gift to Queen’s in support of the Water Research Centre (WRC). The centre, which includes more than 50 faculty members working on water technology research, is currently located in shared lab space in Ellis Hall but that is one of many things set to change.
In recognition of Mr. Beaty’s generous gift, the WRC will be renamed and take up residence in the new Innovation and Wellness Centre. In its new home, The Beaty Water Research Centre will be expanded to include 8,000 square feet of lab space and surrounded by an additional 2,000 square feet of collaboration space to encourage interdisciplinary connections between researchers and students.
For Dr. Geof Hall, Director of the Water Research Centre, Beaty’s gift creates unprecedented opportunities for cross-disciplinary interactions and research at Queen’s. “When you get all of these different ideas in one room, and you get multiple disciplines seeing what everyone else is doing that leads to further collaborative research and more vibrant projects and innovative outcomes.”
For Ross and his wife, Dr. Trisha Beaty, supporting the centre was a natural fit. As the parents of five children, two of whom are successful Queen’s graduates, they were interested in returning something to the university. This gift builds on the Beatys’ other significant investments in Canadian biodiversity and environmental research including the Beaty Biodiversity Centre at the University of British Columbia and most recently, a gift to the Canadian Museum of Nature in to support the fundamental work of preserving and digitizing their collections.
Mr. Beaty explains, “We are very pleased to support Queen’s. There are so many good things that can be done in the realm of water research and water protection in Canada. We are confident that Queen’s will put not only our money to best use but that for many years to come the research centre will support good things for Canadians and for nature.”
Scheduled to open in spring 2018, the Innovation and Wellness Centre, located on the site of the former Physical Education Centre, will feature expanded engineering facilities, research and experiential learning spaces, including the newly expanded Beaty Water Research Centre.