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Attracting the world's best

by Karmen Dowling | December 22, 2010

Attracting the world's best

Western has set its sights on becoming a global leader in research with the creation of up to eight new endowed chairs by April 2011 and a total of 100 new chairs in the next ten years.

During this fiscal year, the University will match private gifts of $1.5 million to establish a permanent $3-million endowed chair.

President Amit Chakma has laid out the ambitious plan, intended to help attract some of the world’s best researchers to Western, that commits up to $12.5 million for the matching endowed chairs program this year. These chairs will bring new knowledge and research, teaching strengths, and will provide sustained leadership in fields of strategic importance to the University.

The first chair established under the matching program was announced by Western’s Richard Ivey School of Business in September, thanks to a gift from Ian Ihnatowycz and Marta Witer, who directed $1.5 million of their $3.5-million gift to endow a Chair in Leadership.

“The quality of leadership helps determine the quantity of success,” says Ihnatowycz, a 1982 graduate of the Ivey MBA program. “Ivey has always attracted talented students with strong leadership aspirations. I believe it is important their skills as leaders be nurtured and developed – so they’re prepared for the evolving demands and challenges that await them.”

The second chair, announced in October, is the Cecil and Linda Rorabeck Chair in Molecular Neuroscience and Vascular Biology, located in Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Robarts Research Institute. Their gift of $1 million, along with the late Myra Millson’s $500,000 bequest to Schulich, will see a total donation of $1.5 million, to be matched by Western to create the $3-million endowed chair.

“When we make major donations, we often look to utilize a matching program so our gift is leveraged to create a greater impact,” notes Cec Rorabeck. “We applaud the University’s direction and we’re pleased to play some small part in it.”

Chakma says, “These gifts are the beginning of a new thrust by our University to show the world the impact our research can achieve.”


A Chair is a critical tool in the University’s ability to attract, support and retain senior faculty teachers and researchers. It is a pool of capital that is invested to grow over time, with an annual allocation from income used to help pay for the incumbent’s research, graduate students, protected research time, and often part of the salary in the individual.

A Chair holder is someone of great distinction, the best in their field, who brings leadership, knowledge and expertise to the University. They are the driving force behind the research and academic work within their area, contributing to the betterment of society while raising Western’s reputation as a globally-recognized destination. These individuals are technology creators, economy builders, society servers, and health researchers.

This article appeared in the Winter 2010 edition of Impact Western
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