Major donation to med school
By Anton Vidgen
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
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
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.