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Our Giving Story: Chandra and Wendy Kudsia

“Applying to McMaster was one of the best things I ever did,” says Chandra Kudsia. He and his wife, Wendy, are paying it forward by supporting the next generation of students at Mac.

He arrived on his own from India in 1964. “Canada was a new and wonderful experience,” recalls Chandra Kudsia, MEng ’66, DSc ’13. 

In his final year as an engineering undergrad in India, he applied to U.S. universities for graduate studies. One of his professors suggested he apply to a Canadian university, as well. “I knew very little about Canada,” Chandra recalls. But he decided to do some research and came across McMaster University,  

Mac offered him admission — and financial aid with no strings attached. “That scholarship was the essential enabler for me to make the move,” says Chandra. “And there I was at McMaster in the electrical engineering department in the fall of 1964.”

Only a few weeks later, he met Wendy at a dance at the FROS Lounge (Friendly Relations with Overseas Students, the present-day Faculty Club). They were married in the McMaster chapel in 1967. In June 2019, they celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary.

Wendy also benefited from financial support from her high school teacher, which allowed her to pursue her BA at McMaster. She graduated in 1966. “We learned the lesson that helping to educate students is not an expense, but an investment in our collective future,” she says.

Both long-time generous donors to McMaster, the Kudsias have funded bursaries and scholarships for students in the Faculties of Engineering and Humanities.

They are now stepping forward to support The Pivot, Mac Engineering’s initiative to transform undergraduate education and educate the engineer of the future. Their $100,000 gift will create the Chandra and Wendy Kudsia Fund: Supporting Excellence in the Engineering Education of the Future.

“The Pivot is transformational — a complete departure from the usual way of teaching,” says Chandra, who also serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board. He chose to support the initiative because of the hands-on leadership of Ishwar Puri, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering. “His leadership is the key to success,” says Chandra. “If anyone can make it happen, it’s Ishwar.”

“The Kudsias have been great friends of McMaster Engineering and I am very grateful for their support,” says Ishwar Puri. “Investing in the next generation of engineers allows us to enhance our current programming and build upon our long history of engineering excellence.”

For his part, Chandra is clear about his feelings for Mac. He recalls that fateful moment 55 years ago when he took a chance and filled out the one-page admission form.

“Applying to McMaster changed the course of my life. It was indeed one of the best things I ever did.”