Josef (Jim) Spatz: Philanthropist and executive
Dalhousie is presenting eight outstanding individuals with honorary degrees during Spring Convocation ceremonies in May and June. Honorary degrees are awarded to individuals across a wide range of disciplines and achievements. They recognize people who have shown inspirational leadership; outstanding contributions to a field or discipline of study or a non‐academic area of achievement; and/or outstanding achievement at or contributions to Dalhousie. Candidates are reviewed and recommended by the Senate Honorary Degrees Committee and approved by the university Senate. The 2022 honorary degree cohort consists of five people who are already alumni and three more who soon become alumni (as all honorary degree recipients officially join our alumni community if they’re not a member already). They represent Dal’s supporters and friends, and we are grateful in the Office of Advancement for the many ways they enrich our community.
Honouring Jim Spatz: Philanthropist and executive chairman of Southwest Properties Limited
Born in Munich, Germany to Holocaust survivors, Jim Spatz (MD’74) immigrated to Canada through Pier 21 with his family as a small child. After graduating from Dalhousie’s Faculty of Medicine, he started his career as a physician, practising family and then emergency medicine for 15 years.
Today, Spatz is an award-winning CEO and philanthropic trailblazer. He has led Southwest Properties Limited, one of Atlantic Canada’s leading real estate developers, for over 30 years.
In 2008, Dr. Spatz founded the Spatz Foundation and has made substantial charitable and volunteer contributions to arts and culture, health, entrepreneurship, and Jewish life regionally and nationally. Countless organizations have benefitted from his generosity, including the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Neptune Theatre, Spatz Theatre, IWK Health Centre, Phoenix Youth Programs, Canadian Mental Health Association and the Discovery Centre.
True friend to Dalhousie
Jim Spatz has also been a true friend to Dalhousie, serving on the Board of Governors from 2001 to 2015 and its chair from 2008 to 2014. He sits on the Dalhousie Advisory Council, is a founding partner and Fellow of the Dalhousie-based CDL-Atlantic and was instrumental in establishing the Simon and Riva Spatz Visiting Chair in Jewish Studies, named for his parents.
“Its doors open to all.”—Jim Spatz (2013) speaking about Dalhousie when he established the Simon and Riva Spatz Visiting Chair in Jewish Studies. He noted that unlike other universities, Dalhousie never had a quota on the number of Jewish students it would accept.
Spatz has been inducted into the Nova Scotia Business Hall of Fame and in 2013 received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.