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VeriFone Systems Inc : $2 Million Gift Creates Bergeron Entrepreneurs in Science and Technology (BEST) Program at York University

05/10/2012 | 07:05pm US/Eastern

York University President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri and Janusz Kozinski, Dean, Faculty of Science & Engineering, are extremely pleased to announce that Douglas Bergeron and his wife Sandra Bergeron are generously donating $2 million to create The BEST (Bergeron Entrepreneurs in Science & Technology) program at York. The funds will be used to support entrepreneurial programs and initiatives focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) majors.

York University announces that alumnus Douglas Bergeron and wife Sandra are donating $2 million to c ...

York University announces that alumnus Douglas Bergeron and wife Sandra are donating $2 million to create the Bergeron Entrepreneurs in Science and Technology (BEST) to support entrepreneurial programs and initiatives focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) majors. (Photo: Business Wire)

"We are thrilled to be the recipients of $2 million from Doug and Sandra Bergeron," said Mamdouh Shoukri, York's President and Vice-Chancellor. "This generous gift will allow York University to create a unique interdisciplinary program in entrepreneurship that will teach real world business experience to aspiring student-entrepreneurs, so that they can contribute to Canada's growing knowledge-based economy." The initial announcement of the $2 million gift was made at a special event held this evening celebrating York's Faculty of Science & Engineering at Toronto's historic Casa Loma. The Bergeron gift will be matched by funding from other sources and is a part of York's Engineering expansion initiative.

"A solid science and technology education is a fundamental stepping stone to technology entrepreneurship, but often alone not sufficient. Aspiring technology entrepreneurs also need interdisciplinary exposure to private equity finance, law, and business plan formulation," explained Douglas Bergeron. "York University has embraced this concept and we hope The BEST will inspire York students to diversify their practical education so that they will be better prepared for tomorrow."

Sandra Bergeron said, "We are delighted to create 100 fellowships over the next ten years to support young women and men at York who show great promise and leadership potential."

"These scholarships will enable students to realize their academic dreams and contribute to their entrepreneurial aspirations," added Douglas Bergeron.

"The Bergeron Entrepreneurs in Science & Technology program will be like no other in Canada," said Dean Kozinski. "The BEST will help us create a true partnership between the professional disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Business and Law. It is especially stimulating being able to do so thanks to the generosity of our own alumnus, Doug Bergeron, and his wife Sandra."

The gift extends Douglas and Sandra Bergeron's previous $1.5 million commitments to Georgia State University and the University of California at Berkeley where they developed unique programs targeted specifically toward high-potential female technology undergraduates. Since 2006, 31 women have been named Bergeron Scholars and each recipient has received financial assistance, but most importantly has been paired with a C-level female technology mentor in the private sector.

Douglas Bergeron, a Canadian citizen, was born in Windsor, Ontario and obtained his undergraduate degree at York University in 1983, with a major in computer science. He has been CEO and the largest individual shareholder of VeriFone Systems, Inc. (NYSE: PAY) since 2001 when he led the acquisition of the company from Hewlett-Packard for $50 million. In the past decade, VeriFone's sales have risen 600% to nearly $2 billion and the company is now valued at over $5 billion, employing nearly 5,000 people across 120 countries worldwide.

Sandra Bergeron is one of the most highly regarded female technology leaders in Silicon Valley. She is a venture partner with Trident Capital, and a director of Qualys Inc. and Sophos plc, and chairman of TraceSecurity, Inc.

Graduates of the Bergeron Entrepreneurs in Science & Technology program will earn a Bergeron Distinction in Entrepreneurship and New Ventures - a certification that the graduate truly understands, appreciates and embraces the entrepreneurial mind set and is ready to tackle any innovation challenge.

The top two scholars will be awarded the Bergeron Entrepreneur Medal. Both the Distinction and the Medal will be recognized at graduation.

York University is a leading interdisciplinary research and teaching university in Canada. York offers a modern, academic experience at the undergraduate and graduate level in Toronto - Canada's most international city. The third largest university in the country, York is host to a dynamic academic community of 55,000 students and 7,000 faculty and staff, as well as 250,000 alumni worldwide. York's 10 faculties and 28 research centres conduct ambitious, groundbreaking research that is interdisciplinary, cutting across traditional academic boundaries. This distinctive and collaborative approach is preparing students for the future and bringing fresh insights and solutions to real-world challenges. York University is an autonomous, not-for-profit corporation.

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=50274199&lang=en

York University
Janice Walls, 416-736-2100 x22101
416-455-4710 (cell)
Media Relations

© Business Wire 2012
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