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Ernest Rady donates $30 million to U of Manitoba med school

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Ernest Rady
Ernest Rady at the University of Manitoba’s faculty of medicine 2016 convocation DANIEL GWOZDZ/UNIVERSITY OF MANITOBA PHOTO

Dr. Maxwell Rady was one of the most prominent Jewish doctors of his era to practice in Manitoba, and now, thanks to a major donation by his son and daughter-in-law, Ernest and Evelyn Rady, his name is being officially linked with the University of Manitoba’s faculty of medicine.

In honour of Ernest and Evelyn Rady’s $30-million gift, the largest in the university’s 139-year history, U of M’s faculty of health sciences – which includes the colleges of dentistry, medicine, nursing, pharmacy and rehabilitation sciences – will now be known as the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, and doctors will now graduate from the Max Rady College of Medicine.

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In an emotional speech at the graduation ceremony for 106 new doctors earlier this month, the 78-year-old San Diego-based billionaire philanthropist said: “In [the] 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 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 allowed him to make a difference in the lives of so many people here in Manitoba, and the college is of particular significance to myself and my sisters.”

Dr. Brian Postl, dean of the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, called the donation transformative. “This gift raises the stature of the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences and will bolster teaching, learning, inter-professional collaboration and research in the health sciences for generations.”

Maxwell Rady, born Avraham Radishkevic, immigrated to Manitoba from Russia in 1893, and changed his name when he arrived in Canada. He worked as the secretary at Talmud Torah School and put himself through medical school at U of M. He was one of the first Jewish doctors given admitting privileges at St. Boniface Hospital, which was founded by the Grey Nuns.

He married his wife, the former Rose Bronfman, in 1922. A dedicated volunteer, Rose Rady was the first Jewish woman in Winnipeg to participate actively at the highest leadership levels in non-Jewish causes.

Max and Rose Rady had three children, Ernest and his two older sisters, Marjorie Blankstein (a longtime community leader in her own right) and Mindel Olenick, both of whom still live in Winnipeg. All three are U of M graduates, as is Evelyn Rady.

Rose and Max Rady also have their name attached to the city’s Rose and Max Rady Jewish Community Centre in recognition of the substantial donation made by their children toward the construction of the Asper Jewish Community Campus, which opened in 1997.

Ernest Rady holds commerce and law degrees from U of M. He lives in San Diego, where he founded American Assets financial services and is a former part-owner of Major League Baseball’s San Diego Padres. In 2006, the Rady family gave a $60-million donation to the Children’s Hospital of San Diego, the largest children’s hospital in California, which was subsequently renamed Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego.

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Rady and his sisters previously gave U of M’s college of medicine $900,000 to establish the Mindermar Professorship in Human Simulation in 2009.

The $30-million donation will be placed in an endowment fund within the university’s ongoing $500-million Front and Centre capital campaign and will generate about $1.6 million each year for student financial aid, research, and equipment and capital upgrades.