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McMaster University medical school receives unprecedented $105M gift


Hamilton, ON December 17, 2003 Canadian businessman and philanthropist Michael G DeGroote has given $105 million to McMaster University. The university’s medical school will be the beneficiary of what it says is the largest single cash gift in Canadian history. In tribute, the School of Medicine will now be known as the Michael G DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University.

“This gift is intended to support health care research and education,” says Mr DeGroote. “Health and health care are clearly the most prominent concerns for Canadians. I am investing in new discoveries in health care and in the delivery of health care."

A noted entrepreneur, Mr DeGroote purchased and grew Laidlaw Transport, a company that became the largest school bus operator and third largest waste management company in North America before it was sold in 1988. Mr DeGroote’s business ventures have included US companies such as Republic Industries, AutoNation, Century Business Services, Capital Environmental Resource, and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League.

Dr John Kelton, dean and vice-president of the faculty of health sciences, said the gift allows the university to take immediate steps in furthering a bold vision for the school of medicine. He said the $105 million donation will be divided between a $64 million endowment fund, supporting education, health care and medical research in perpetuity and a $41 million capital fund directed to construction and outfitting of laboratories and hospital units.

The endowed fund of $64 million will be allocated as follows:

– $35 million will be directed to the establishment of three centres, all priority initiatives of worldwide interest. Each centre will have an internationally recognized leader in an endowed professorial chair, who will build an exceptional team of scientists and caregivers. The centres are:

1. A $15-million centre for research, education and care in pain with a special focus on thalamic pain. Dr Akbar Panju, a professor of medicine and the chief of medicine for Hamilton Health Sciences, has been recommended to lead the Michael G DeGroote Institute for Pain Research and Care.

2. A $10-million centre for research, education and care in cancer, with a particular focus on the molecular determinants of cancer.

3. A $10-million centre for research, education and care in infectious diseases.

– $25 million to create the Michael G DeGroote faculty of health sciences development fund. It is intended to enable McMaster to attract the best health sciences researchers, physicians and teachers.

– $4 million will be directed to two immediate priorities with the establishment of an endowed chair in stroke prevention and treatment, and The Medard DeGroote Chair in Medicine, an endowed chair named after Mr DeGroote’s father. The recommended chairholder is Dr Akbar Panju.

The gift of $41 million will be designated toward capital expenditures with a focus on three areas:

1. $26 million directed to the Michael G DeGroote Centre for Learning & Discovery, currently under construction. This multi-disciplinary, 300,000-square-foot building combines state-of-the art classroom space, research laboratories, hospital units and faculty offices. When it opens in 2004, the centre will host faculty investigating new ways of learning as well as McMaster’s Institute for Molecular Medicine and Health, which has been working on the development of the SARS vaccine.

2. $5 million directed to the Michael G DeGroote Institute for Pain Research and Care that will provide appropriate facilities for a team of researchers and clinicians to revolutionize the way pain is treated and managed.

3. $10 million dedicated to the Michael G DeGroote Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Located on the second floor of the Michael G DeGroote Centre for Learning & Discovery, it will be connected to patient units of Hamilton Health Sciences with an enclosed pedestrian bridge to the McMaster University Medical Centre.

The medical school currently has 410 undergraduate medical students and 490 medical residents.