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Janet Loebach, BEng Scty '97

Civil Engineering & Society | Big Ideas: Investing in the Future

macLAB Fund Supports Leading-Edge Facilities

About 20 years ago, Janet Loebach had a $4 million idea.

Of course, at the time, it looked more like a $50 idea. As in, collect $50 a year from each engineering student to build a fund aimed at maintaining the faculty’s undergraduate labs, computers, and equipment.

Loebach had heard about another university setting up an endowment fund, and thought it was a good plan.

So as MES president in 1997, she decided to champion the idea of the McMaster Laboratory Advancement Benefaction Endowment Fund – or what has become known as the macLAB Fund.

It was a vision that engineering students supported overwhelmingly in a student referendum.

“I think we all recognized the difficulty in keeping lab facilities up-to-date, but also how valuable it was to have exposure to the latest in methods and techniques,” Loebach says.

Two decades later, the impact of the voluntary $50 annual contribution is undeniable. The balance in the macLAB fund sits at about $4.2 million. Interest earned on that money has paid for more than $1 million in investments in engineering labs and equipment through the years.

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