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Faculty of Medicine receives historic $250 million donation for medical research

Gift more than doubles U of T revenue from donations from 2018–2019 school year
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The Faculty of Medicine has received a $250 million donation. CHARLOTTE HOOD/THE VARSITY
The Faculty of Medicine has received a $250 million donation. CHARLOTTE HOOD/THE VARSITY

On September 24, U of T announced a $250 million donation from the Temerty Foundation, which will be spread across the Faculty of Medicine and affiliated hospitals. This massive sum includes a $10 million donation that was pre-announced this past April, which allowed the creation of the Dean’s COVID-19 Priority Fund.

This donation is the largest ever received by a Canadian institution, even larger than the $200 million donation that McGill University received in 2019. The sum more than doubles the amount U of T received from donations in the entirety of the 2018–2019 school year, during which time it received $102 million from donations.

The donation will be spread throughout the Faculty of Medicine, which is being renamed the Temerty Faculty of Medicine after the donors James and Louise Temerty. A U of T News article laid out where the donation funds would be allocated, including the new Centre for AI Research and Education in Medicine, redeveloping the faculty’s building in King’s College Circle, and additional research funding.

The donation is equivalent to 27 per cent of the total amount that U of T spent on medical research from April 2018 to March 2019.

The most recent donation includes the earlier $10 million donation, which was given by the Temerty Foundation to create the Dean’s COVID-19 Priority Fund. The donation was used for clinical resources, isolation housing for frontline health care workers, and emergency assistance grants for students.

In a speech at an event accepting the $250 million donation, U of T President Meric Gertler said that the donation had been in the works long before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The event also featured videos from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford thanking the Temertys.

“Jim and Louise, along with their daughter Leah Temerty-Lord, noted the faculty’s huge impact in training physicians, specialists, and researchers, with more than 60,000 living alumni across the Toronto region, the country, and the world,” said Gertler.

“[The Temerty family] also noted the faculty’s commitment to the wellness of its learners and faculty members, and they noted the faculty’s outstanding strengths in areas such as personalized medicine and regenerative medicine, artificial intelligence and machine learning, genomic medicine, and biomedical and biotech innovation.”

U of T will use the gift to create the new Centre for AI Research and Education in Medicine, which will further U of T’s artificial intelligence research. It will also create a new fund for the Toronto Academic Health Science Network, which includes hospitals across the city, such as the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Mt. Sinai Hospital, and St. Michael’s Hospital.

Some of the funds will be allocated to the redevelopment of the Faculty of Medicine’s building located on King’s College Circle. The building will be named the James and Louise Temerty Building after the donors and will feature new laboratories and teaching spaces for the faculty.

The Temerty Faculty of Medicine will also feature an elder-in-residence position and a Circle of Elders in an effort to further Indigenous health education within the faculty.

U of T will also create a Dean’s Strategic Initiatives and Innovation Fund for researchers, equipment, and new research projects. “Our family is deeply honoured and very excited about the possibilities that lie ahead. It’s taken a long time to get to this day,” said James Temerty.