The Salamander Foundation gifts $1 million to environmental engineering Chair at Western

Claus Andersen

The Salamander Foundation's new endowed gift of $1 million will support The Salamander Chair in Environmental Engineering, currently held by professor George Nakhla.

Western Engineering will continue to lead the charge in mitigating the effects of pollution on the environment and public health with today’s announcement of a $1 million donation from The Salamander Foundation.

This new endowed gift of $1 million will be added to the existing endowed fund established by the donor in 1999 in support of The Salamander Chair in Environmental Engineering. The Chair oversees research activities in environmental engineering with a focus on water quality and processing, including wastewater treatment, resource recovery from municipal wastewaters, and treatment of organic wastes. This brings the total funds donated by The Salamander Foundation to $2,811,000.

The Foundation’s latest gift was matched by Western, boosting the existing Chair fund and creating an endowment of approximately $3.4 million. Each year, the endowment generates income to support research and activities of the Chair.

“At the time of our original donation, the Chair in Environmental Engineering could be established for $1 million but over the past several years, it has become standard practice for most universities across Canada to commit $3 million to establish any Chair,” said Nan Shuttleworth, founder and president of The Salamander Foundation. “The Salamander Board made the decision to augment the original endowment with an additional $1 million to ensure Western continues to provide national leadership in this area.”

The current holder of the Salamander Chair, George Nakhla, is a professor in the departments of Civil and Environmental and Chemical and Biochemical Engineering. His research focuses on municipal and industrial wastewater treatment, biological nutrient removal processes and recovery of energy and resources from wastewater.

“Municipal and industrial wastewater can cause significant damage to the environment,” said Nakhla. “Disease-causing pathogens can make water unfit for human use, excess nutrients can overstimulate the growth of aquatic plants and decaying organic waste can threaten aquatic life. The Salamander Foundation’s support of this research has allowed us to make some significant advances in treatment and recovery technologies, as well as establish valuable partnerships with other researchers, government, and industry.”

The Salamander Foundation is especially pleased that Western will be matching their contribution.

“It’s particularly satisfying to know Western is matching the Foundation’s additional $1-million donation. The resulting endowment will really give the Chair the strength it needs and support the extraordinary work being accomplished by Dr. Nakhla and his team in environmental engineering,” said Shuttleworth.

MEDIA CONTACT: Stephen Ledgley, Senior Media Relations Officer, Western University, 519-661-2111 x85283,

Western University delivers an academic experience second to none. Since 1878, The Western Experience has combined academic excellence with life-long opportunities for intellectual, social and cultural growth in order to better serve our communities. Our research excellence expands knowledge and drives discovery with real-world application. Western attracts individuals with a broad worldview, seeking to study, influence and lead in the international community.