Celebrating the Legacy of Norman Bethune

May 7, 2014

Dean WhitesideAmong the many celebrated graduates of our Faculty, Dr. Norman Bethune looms large. Revered in China and celebrated in Canada, his commitment to selfless service inspires us today. This year marks the 75th anniversary of Dr. Bethune’s passing, which is an occasion for us to reflect on his legacy and celebrate our close ties to China.

At the end of May, the Faculty of Medicine will host two events in honour of Dr. Bethune. The first is the fulfillment of an announcement first made last August. As you may recall, we received a generous donation from Chinese business leaders Mr. Zhang Bin and Mr. Niu Gensheng. Together they have contributed $800,000 to the Faculty of Medicine, which funds medical student awards and bursaries in honour of Dr. Bethune. It also supported the creation of a bronze sculpture of Dr. Bethune. This statue will sit adjacent to the Medical Sciences Building and will be a constant reminder of Dr. Bethune’s legacy. On Friday May 30, we will be very proud to unveil this statue to the public in the company of Mr. Zhang and Mr. Niu.

On the following night —Saturday May 31 — we will host a gala dinner where we will honour Dr. Bethune. The gala will be held at the Four Seasons Hotel and radio host and musician Holly Cheng and Breakfast Television personality Kevin Frankish will cohost the evening. It will also feature outstanding entertainment. We are privileged to have The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, former Governor General of Canada, serving as the honourary chair of the event. The organizing committee is chaired by Justin Poy who leads a dedicated team of volunteers.

South Asia represents important strategic opportunities to advance our Faculty’s goal of international leadership in improving health through innovation in research and education. Many of our faculty members have developed collaborations representing a broad range of projects with colleagues in some of the most highly-ranked, research-intensive Universities in China and Hong Kong. In education, we have established a joint PhD program between our Department of Molecular Genetics and  the University of Hong Kong Department of Biochemistry. Our recent agreement with Fudan University in Shanghai to develop joint education activities will build health professional capacity in primary health care and public health. Our engagement in China and Hong Kong is now leading to the recruitment of new excellent graduate students, new collaborators and new ideas.

I invite you to join us at the gala to celebrate the legacy of one of our most distinguished alumni and toast our proud ties with China and Hong Kong.

Catharine Whiteside
Dean, Faculty of Medicine
Vice-Provost, Relations with Health Care Institutions


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