A jubilant crowd wearing gold scarves and waving thank-you placards celebrated a momentous announcement on the Bannatyne campus on May 12, 2016.
Ernest and Evelyn Rady, through the Rady Family Foundation, made the largest gift in the university’s history, committing $30 million to support the Faculty of Health Sciences.
The philanthropist couple, both U of M alumni, made the gift in honour of Ernest’s parents, physician Maxwell (Max) Rady [MD/21] and his wife Rose.
In recognition of the landmark donation, the faculty was renamed the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, and doctors will now graduate from the Max Rady College of Medicine.
The Rady investment will enhance teaching, learning and research in the health sciences for generations. It was initially announced during Convocation for medical graduates on the morning of May 12 – Manitoba Day.
“It is my distinct privilege and pleasure to announce today that Dr. Ernest and Mrs. Evelyn Rady are gifting to the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Health Sciences, which includes the Colleges of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy and Rehabilitation Sciences, $30 million in support of students, research, and places and spaces,” Vice-President (External) John Kearsey said, prompting a standing ovation.
Ernest Rady [BComm/58, LLB/62, LLD/15], a commerce and law grad who was recognized by the U of M with an honorary doctorate in 2015, grew up in Winnipeg and now lives in San Diego, Calif. He has founded several successful businesses, including American Assets Trust, Inc., and steered his companies to success in financial services, investment management, real estate and other industries.
His father, Max Rady, born Avraham Radishkevich, was a Russian Jewish immigrant who worked to put himself through the U of M medical school, graduating in 1921. He was known for his compassion, regardless of patients’ ability to pay for care. Max’s wife, Rose (Bronfman) Rady, was an educator and community activist who worked tirelessly for charitable causes.
Ernest Rady, wearing the red-and-white gown denoting his honorary doctorate, gave an emotional speech at Convocation, paying tribute to the legacy of his mother and father. “Perhaps the most important lesson I learned from my parents was the joy of giving back and making a difference,” he told the 106 graduating members of the Medicine Class of 2016.
“And in that spirit of wanting to make a difference – a big difference – I decided to make a gift to my alma mater, and specifically to the Faculty of Health Sciences, in honour of my parents, Max and Rose Rady. They taught me the values of hard work and giving back.
“The College of Medicine is where my father got his start, and it allowed him to make a difference in the lives of so many people here in Manitoba,” Ernest continued. “The college is of particular significance to my sisters and me.”
Ernest Rady’s wife, Evelyn Rady [BA/60, BSW/61, MSW/67], holds three degrees from the U of M. His sisters, Mindel Olenick [B.Sc./45] and Marjorie Blankstein [BA/50, LLD/14], also graduated from the university. In 2009, Ernest and his sisters gave the U of M College of Medicine $900,000 to establish the Mindermar Professorship in Human Simulation.
“Our announcement today, for me, represents the perfect match in giving, because it brings full circle a family’s relationship with this institution, this faculty, this college.” — PRESIDENT BARNARD
Ernest Rady returned to the podium to receive a replica senior stick staff from Robert Schmidt [MD/16], senior stick for the Manitoba Medical Students’ Association, in tribute to his generosity.
President and Vice-Chancellor David Barnard then addressed the audience.
“This announcement speaks to legacy, and to the wondrous miracle of people giving and receiving gifts with care and compassion,” Barnard said. “Our announcement today, for me, represents the perfect match in giving, because it brings full circle a family’s relationship with this institution, this faculty, this college.”
The $30 million, part of the ongoing Front and Centre capital campaign, will support student financial aid, research, and equipment and capital upgrades.
Brian Postl [MD/76], dean of the Max Rady College of Medicine; dean and vice-provost (health sciences), commented on the significance of the gift, “It puts our faculty – now the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences – on the map with other large faculties in the country that have been able to attract large external donors.
“This is the third-largest donation (to a university faculty) in the country.… We have lots of potential needs that this incredibly generous gift will help fill.”
On the afternoon of May 12, alumni, students, faculty, staff and supporters packed the Brodie Centre Atrium for a surprise celebration of the record-breaking gift. Amid balloons and gold confetti, Ernest Rady, his sisters and special guests were greeted with a repeated chant of “Thank you!” and thunderous applause and cheering.
On stage, the deans of all five colleges expressed their gratitude.
“My fellow deans and I are honoured and thrilled that the Rady name and legacy are now part of our Faculty of Health Sciences,” said Beverly O’Connell, dean of the College of Nursing. “An investment of this scale will have a resounding impact throughout the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences and all of Manitoba.”
Students from the five colleges also thanked Rady and his family. “This investment elevates our faculty on the world stage, helping to attract the best and brightest students, professors and researchers,” said Maira Ahmed, representing the College of Pharmacy.
The five students presented the philanthropist with an official Rady Faculty of Health Sciences lab coat. “We hope it will remind you of this gift’s life-changing impact on the lives of students, just as it reminds us of the legacy you are creating here,” said Hannah Severa, a student in the College of Nursing.
Ernest Rady encouraged the next generation of health-care professionals to find inspiration in the selfless lives of his parents.
“I hope you will all follow the example of the two people our family is honouring here today, and give back,” he said at Convocation. “Make a difference in someone’s life. Do that, and it will make a difference in yours.”
FIRST published ON UM Today.