Thursday, September 16, 2021

Janet with students smiling

Janet (middle) with award winners Alanna (left) and Alex (right)

Remembering the leadership and support of Janet McDougall

Janet McDougall was a lifelong ally of science, education, and community engagement. Through her achievements as a successful businesswoman, company owner, statistician, and civic activist, Janet inspired Waterloo Pharmacy students to make the world a better place, not just through their own research and scholarly pursuits but through connecting with others, giving back and leading by doing.

“Janet modelled the kind of civic activist, business leader and researcher that our students aspire to become one day,” says Andrea Edginton, Hallman Director. “She set an example for how scientists can go beyond their work to make important and meaningful contributions to their community.”

Janet was a proud Waterloo graduate and trailblazer with a passion for supporting future leaders. She graduated from the University of Waterloo with a degree in biology and psychology in 1971 and founded her own company, McDougall Scientific Ltd., in 1984. The company was built to meet a pressing need in the field of clinical trial research.

Janet, a long-time supporter of the University was one of the founding supporters of the School of Pharmacy. She donated $100,000 to the school’s building campaign in 2006 and, in recognition, the graduate student lounge was named in honour of her parents. Shortly after, she generously funded the Donald J. and Kathleen D. McDougall Graduate Scholarship, also established in the memory of her parents, Donald and Kathleen. Her father, Don, was a practicing pharmacist from 1934 through 1993. Both he and Kay McDougall were community leaders, dedicated volunteers, and civic activists, and it is from them that Janet learned the value of supporting education and of community engagement.

The Donald J. and Kathleen D. McDougall Graduate Scholarship, an annual award which provides $5,000 to the recipients, recognizes academic excellence and community engagement. Graduate school places considerable demands on students, and Janet felt it important to recognize those students who excel academically as well as contribute to their community. Through her financial support, she enabled these students to continue to seek out their passions and to have a positive impact on the people and place where they live.

Janet’s  career achievements and her commitment to mentoring and supporting young scientists were recognized with a Contribution to Science Award from the Faculty of Science in 2017. Janet will be missed by all of us at Waterloo Pharmacy, the Faculty of Science and especially by the students who were lucky to meet and connect with her over the years.

Shannon, Janet and Nyasha

Janet (middle) with award winners Shannon (left) and Nyasha (right)

“I feel very honored to have known Janet McDougall,” says Nyasha Gondora, PhD alumnus and a recipient of the award Janet sponsored. “She was a genuinely caring individual who always went out of her way to support others and make a difference in her community. She was a fountain of wisdom, a phenomenal mentor who showed great interest in helping students reach their full potential. One thing I learned from Janet is the value of giving back. She was a mentor and a role model and will be dearly missed by all.” 

Janet passed away on June 13, 2021, but her passion for supporting future scientists and community leaders lives on. Early in 2021, she established an endowment of $200,000 that allows her scholarship to be offered in perpetuity.

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