Jock and Janet MurrayWhen Dr. T. Jock Murray, O.C., O.N.S., became Dalhousie University’s Dean of Medicine in 1985, he saw an opportunity to push the boundaries of medical education. He began an ambitious program of innovation, introducing a trendsetting, problem-based undergraduate curriculum and a renowned medical humanities program. And he did it all with the university’s full support.

A supportive community

Dalhousie’s enthusiasm and encouragement during that time meant the world to Jock, so much so that this Canadian Medical Hall of Fame inductee was always quick to turn down any institution looking to hire him away.

“Dalhousie gave me the basis of my career. It provided me with a quality medical education and my post-graduate training. And as a faculty member, it was consistently supportive of my career and aspirations. I always said ‘Why would I go anywhere else?'”

When you are fortunate enough to receive such unstinting support from your alma mater and employer, you can’t help but give back. And that’s what this Order of Canada and Order of Nova Scotia recipient has been doing, making regular gifts to the university with his wife Janet.

Fulfilling a vision

“Universities are incredibly important. They are agents of social change and need to be supported. It is up to us to do something and there are so many ways to contribute. We have a vision for how we want to make a difference. Our bequest to Dal will see it fulfilled.”

Their vision goes beyond creating and supporting endowment funds that deliver bursaries to students in need. They have also established several awards to encourage academic excellence and enhance the educational experience. One fund recognizes interns for their international work, while another brings in outstanding physicians from around the world to talk about the humanities.

“The thing I’ve always tried to do in medical education is provide an experience that goes beyond science. We need science, but science also needs the humanities to understand human values as well as the human questions and decisions that must guide our use of science. That’s why we support the humanities.”

Jock and Janet Murray plan to continue giving back to the university, endowing additional bursaries to ease the financial pressures of post-secondary education. “I want to see good things happen for students. I also feel like I am fulfilling a very important objective – giving back to the university because of the support it has given me. For those reasons, making these gifts is very gratifying.”