April 2, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 97  

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NEWS

Major donation to med school

By Anton Vidgen
Gazette Staff
Dave Picard/Gazette
HEY SCHULICH, I WANT TO “SEE MORE” CASH. Seymour Schulich, who dropped $26 million worth of bling on Western’s medical school, gets an inanimate wooden rod for his benificence. Bravo, good sir, bravo.

In a display of pomp and circumstance befitting royalty, Western announced a donation Wednesday of $26 million to the faculty of medicine and dentistry — the largest gift in the history of both the university and the City of London.

Entrepreneur Seymour Schulich’s entrance into The Great Hall at Somerville House was accompanied by the sound of bagpipes and he received a standing ovation from a packed crowd of students, faculty, business leaders and politicians, including former Ontario premier David Peterson.

The unprecedented donation from the Canadian philanthropist will support 60 undergraduate medical students with $20,000 a year each in tuition and educational expenses. It will also give $15,000 to 50 graduate students, with a majority of the scholarships to be distributed in the fall of 2004.

Along with the naming of the Schulich School of Medicine — pending Senate approval — part of the endowed investment will support two Canada Research Chairs and create the Tanna Schulich Chair in Neuroscience & Mental Health.

“In the evolution of our institution, this is one of those historic times,” said Western President Paul Davenport. “Our medical program will become one of the most accessible in the world.”

The discussions that led to the donation started over a year ago, and it was clear from the start Schulich wanted to maximize the long-term impact of his philanthropy, said Carol Herbert, dean of the faculty of medicine and dentistry.

“At the crux of what we do is training the future medical leaders of Canada,” she said, stressing the necessity of strong financial support for willing and able students. “We are thrilled and honoured that [Schulich has] chosen our school of medicine as the recipient of [his] generosity.”

As Western is only the second medical school in Canada to attract a major sponsor, Schulich said he hopes his donation will spur others to do the same, adding a strong and educated medical community contributes to a healthy standard of living. “We learn today that students in medical schools are the true philanthropists,” he said.

Western was one of four prominent Canadian universities approached by the Schulich family when they were considering a donation. According to Schulich, the commitment and qualifications of Davenport, Herbert and the entire university were what sealed the deal. “So you beat out four other people in my mind,” he joked to Davenport in his speech.

His well-received speech was punctuated by moments of humour and swipes at his livelihood: “Giving away money intelligently is truly more difficult than earning it in business,” Schulich remarked. When a cellphone inadvertently rang from someone’s pocket, he said it reminded him of Nevada, referring to the state where he made much of his fortune in gold-mining operations.

 

 

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