Joseph Schull, BA’82, MA’85, and Anna Yang, BCL’88, LLB’88, experienced the transformative impact of international study firsthand. As students at McGill, they both benefitted from financial awards that enabled them to further their studies abroad. Schull, a Guy Drummond Scholar, spent a year at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris – an experience that motivated him to pursue a D.Phil from Oxford University. Yang, meanwhile, received the Macdonald Travelling Scholarship upon graduating from the Faculty of Law, which enabled her to obtain a Master’s in International Law from the Université de Paris II.
Now, the couple has committed to making a landmark $3-million gift to establish and endow the McGill Student International Program, which will support extended international study and research projects for students in the Faculties of Arts and Law, as well as in other Faculties across the University. The gift will also bring international students and faculty to McGill.
Under this new program, McGill students will have the unique chance to participate in academic activities that range in length from one semester to a full academic year, including internships, volunteer opportunities, workshops and field study courses.
“The experience of studying abroad was transformative for us and opened a new world of ideas and possibilities,” says Schull, Managing Director and Head of Europe at Warburg Pincus, a leading global private equity firm focused on growth investing.
Yang, who after graduation clerked at the Supreme Court of Canada and then worked as a litigation attorney in Montreal, New York and London, adds that “McGill provided us with a great educational foundation and a passport to the world outside. We want to ensure that McGill can continue to provide such opportunities to many more students in perpetuity.”
Schull and Yang are making an initial gift of $1.5 million, which will be immediately matched by an equal donation from McGill. They will make a further $1.5-million gift within the next three years, again as a one-to-one match against an equal donation to be raised by McGill, to create an endowment of $6 million. The parties have set a target of increasing the endowment to $10 million through further fundraising from third parties.
“We hope that this program will enable McGill students to make extended research and study visits to foreign countries while also enriching the student experience at McGill by bringing foreign students here on similar visits, and in so doing enhance McGill’s standing internationally,” explains Yang, who also serves as a member of the Faculty of Law Advisory Board.
The Student International Program will do far more than add stamps to students’ passports, stresses Professor Christopher Manfredi, Dean of the Faculty of Arts. “The program is a testament that knowledge has no borders,” he says. “It promises to give our students a truly global experience and provide them with the opportunities to keep up in an increasingly pluralistic world.”
Based in London, England, Schull and Yang are longstanding supporters of McGill. In 2009, they endowed the Joseph Schull Fellowships in Arts to recognize and support top-tier graduate students in the Faculty of Arts. The Fellowships are named after Joe’s father, who was a leading Canadian historian and biographer of Sir Wilfrid Laurier.
“Joe and Anna welcomed me into their home four years ago when I became Dean of Law,” says Professor Daniel Jutras, recalling a visit he made to England early in his Deanship. “They were so kind and supportive of McGill that I immediately concluded that alumni relations would be the easiest part of my new job. And I was right – people like Joe and Anna make me proud of McGill every time we meet.”