Linda Hasenfratz, BSc’89, MBA’97
President and CEO of auto-parts giant Linamar Corp
Let’s say your job is to cast a line for tonight’s supper, and you’ve found a pond teeming with fish: 100 blue ones and 100 red ones.
“If you decide you’re only going to fish for the blue fish, you have only half a chance of dinner tonight,” explained Linda Hasenfratz, BSc’89, MBA’97, President and CEO of auto-parts giant Linamar Corp.
This, she said, is the challenge and opportunity of finding and developing the best engineers who are also business leaders. “Pulling from a diverse pool will always ensure you have the very best performers.”
That challenge prompted the company, and the Hasenfratz family, to cultivate opportunities for women at Western.
As such, Linamar, Hasenfratz and her husband Ed Newton, and Linamar founder Frank Hasenfratz invested $5 million to create the Linamar Scholarships for Women in Engineering and Business. The scholarships support up to 10 female students in the Western Engineering and Ivey Business School dual-degree program each year.
“Our Engineering graduates are sought-after around the world. To know that Linamar is investing in women engineers, not only with scholarships but with guaranteed employment, pays testament to both the family’s generosity and the strengths of our program.”
Andy Hrymak, Former Dean of Western Engineering
The Linamar Scholarships for Women in Engineering and Business provide up to 10 students a year with tuition support, co-op placements and a full-time job offer at graduation.
They provide half the cost of tuition in the five-year program and also guarantee paid co-op placement and full-time job offers with Linamar to graduating scholarship holders.
“This is a great way to bring together the three things that mean a lot to me, and to Linamar as a company: manufacturing, business and improved opportunities for women,” said Hasenfratz, who emphasized she hopes this will encourage more women to pursue a dual degree in engineering and business.
It was Hasenfratz, who has two daughters studying engineering at Western, who contacted the university with the idea of creating the scholarships.
“It’s unique and exciting when donors approach us about supporting something about which they feel passionately,” said Western President Amit Chakma. “As the parents and grandfather of two daughters studying engineering, Linda, Ed and Frank are aware of the tremendous benefits and challenges for Women in Engineering. We are very pleased to support their vision.”
The gift enables Western to support its best female students to succeed in school today, and provides them with early career experience that will help them go on to be the leaders of tomorrow.