Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry donors honoured at 2020 National Philanthropy Day Awards

Student and community support a connecting theme for this year’s winning philanthropists.

Ryan O'Byrne - 19 November 2020

Five outstanding donors to the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry have been recognized for their efforts as part of the National Philanthropy Day Awards, hosted by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Edmonton & Area Chapter.

The MD Class of 2018, the MD Class of 1969, Patricia Ann Peat, Ivonne Hernandez and the Stollery Charitable Foundation all received National Philanthropy Day awards earlier today, recognizing their extraordinary contributions to research, student and program support and community outreach in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry.

“We are so proud that the outstanding work of our donor community has been recognized through these five winners,” said Brenda Hemmelgarn, dean of the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry. “Everyone in our donor community deserves awards for their ongoing generosity and support, especially during these challenging times, and we hope these awards will inspire even more people into philanthropic giving to further health research, support students and help communities around the world.”

National Philanthropy Day is an annual event celebrating the philanthropic contributions made by individuals and organizations to help improve and enrich communities. It is an opportunity to recognize and thank those who give their time, talents and donations to supporting organizations such as the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry.

For Peat, who was recognized for establishing endowment funds that support vision-related research and students entering family medicine, the award was a wonderful surprise.

“When I was told I was nominated, I really didn’t believe it at first,” she said. “It's such an honour, and I'm so grateful that I'm in a position to be able to give back to those who gave so much to me.”

Born with a sight impairment that left her extremely nearsighted, Peat has had numerous surgeries throughout her life, including one by the former chair of the University of Alberta’s Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, Mark Marshall. The experiences she had with physicians and researchers had a profound impact on her life, she said. It was important to her to do something to help students, as well as others who also suffered from visual impairments, especially considering the challenges faced by the university during the pandemic.

“Philanthropy is even more important now than it has been in the past. The economy has changed considerably and the money isn’t there as much,” she said. “If there weren't philanthropists, where would students be if they wanted to go to university but couldn't afford it? And because of COVID-19, people aren’t going to be giving donations like they have in the past, so I think it is even more important for people who are in a position to donate to do so.”

Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry’s National Philanthropy Day Award winners

MD Class of 2018: The class established the Medicine Class of 2018 Award, which will allow students to access financial support so they have one less thing to worry about and can focus on becoming the best physicians possible. While MD classes often leave a small class gift for the following year’s graduation celebrations, this award will ensure several future generations of students will be able to access excellent medical education.

MD Class of 1969: Fifty years after they graduated from the U of A, doctors from the MD Class of 1969 created a bursary to benefit current and future MD students. Though they were scattered across the country, in just six months the class raised an incredible $55,000. This bursary will go towards students who are struggling financially, to help relieve that stress and allow them to focus on their studies.

Patricia Ann Peat: Patricia Ann Peat has become synonymous with generosity at the U of A, thanks to her unwavering commitment to students. As a passionate supporter of the departments of ophthalmology & visual sciences and amily medicine, Peat established two endowment funds dedicated to advancing research and supporting learners in these areas.

Ivonne Hernandez: Ivonne Hernandez has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the School of Dentistry at the U of A, both personally and professionally. She significantly contributed to the oral medicine program and the School of Dentistry’s recent Dentistry for Life fundraising campaign. Most recently, she stepped in to support the School of Dentistry during the COVID-19 pandemic, to ensure it could continue operating during this global health crisis.

Stollery Charitable Foundation: The Stollery Charitable Foundation has long been a vital supporter of the Edmonton community, working towards eliminating poverty, increasing accessibility to education and providing critical health and social services for vulnerable populations. In the last 12 months, the Stollery Charitable Foundation has made significant contributions towards the development and expansion of the Boyle McCauley Health Centre Dental Clinic. The clinic provides dental care for people who cannot traditionally access it due to health concerns, social barriers or financial hardship. The foundation’s support helped the dental clinic expand, develop and launch sustainable programs and provide services to more than 3,000 clients in Edmonton’s inner city.