Concordia names engineering school after Gina Cody, a first for women in Canada

Gina Cody is the first woman at Concordia to have obtained a PhD in building engineering.

Cody says she wants the new name to help break barriers for women in engineering

After a $15 million donation from alumna Gina Cody, Concordia has renamed its engineering faculty after her. (Concordia University)

Concordia University's engineering faculty is making history with its new name — the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science — the first in Canada to be named after a woman, the university says. 

Gina Parvaneh Cody is the former executive chair and principal shareholder of CCI Group, a large engineering firm in Toronto. In another first, Cody became the first woman at Concordia to obtain a PhD in building engineering, in 1989.

The title is in recognition of a $15-million donation Cody has made to the school, the largest personal donation in Concordia's history.

The university says it will be dedicating part of the money to creating a fund for equity, diversity and inclusion programming. 

"I arrived in Canada as a young student from Iran in 1979 with $2,000," Cody said in a news release sent by the university. 

"My gift to the university is for the next generation, so that more people can succeed like I did."

She added that she wanted to make the donation because university is a place for "women, people of colour, Indigenous populations and other minorities to pursue their dreams."

The gift will also help fund scholarships and research on smart cities and allow for the creation of three new chairs in the faculty.

There will now be chairs specializing in data analytics and artificial intelligence, "the internet of things" and "Internet 4.0" and advanced manufacturing. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took to Twitter Monday night to offer his congratulations.

The goal in lending her name to the school, Cody says, is to help break down barriers for women in engineering. 

Only 20 per cent of university engineering students in the country are women, according to Engineers Canada.