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Grace and Lillian Baker Medical Research Fund

by Karmen Dowling | December 22, 2010

Sisters Grace and Lillian Baker were both teachers who shared a lifelong passions for education.

Through their estate gift to Foundation Western, the Grace and Lillian Baker Medical Research Fund has been established in the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. This unrestricted endowed fund will generate approximately $40,000 a year in perpetuity to support medical research, at the Dean’s discretion.

Kathy Coleman, second cousin to the sisters, whose grandfather was the brother of Grace and Lillian’s mother, says she remembers the sisters as loving and gentle women, who both had a thirst for knowledge and a keen interest in reading, nature and politics.

Neither sister married or had children. They saw their young relatives and students as their children. Their modest lifestyle allowed them to contribute to several organizations over the years, including Western. Lillian passed away in 1999 at 88, while Grace continued to live in their London home until shortly before her death in 2008, at 91.

Grace and Lillian did not share why they decided to give to medical research. The family surmises it was because the sisters suffered the loss of their father at an early age, and mourned the death of a young brother, and wanted to keep others from this experience. They also might have thought because dentistry was a part of the school, they were honouring their two uncles who were dentists.

“Higher education is revered in our family, so Grace and Lillian’s support of Western is extremely appropriate,” Coleman says. “They both believed that supporting the younger generation was vital to improving society.”

This article appeared in the Winter 2010 edition of Impact Western
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