Last summer, brothers Daniel and Jimmy Kaufman approached Marc Weinstein, Vice-Principal of University Advancement, to share the news that their brother, Richard Kaufman, BCom’64, had left a $1.4 million bequest to the Faculty of Medicine to be used for medical research related to heart diseases. On February 13, a tea was held at Holmes Hall to celebrate the creation of the Richard I. Kaufman Cardiovascular Scholars Fund.
“Rik had a mitral valve heart condition,” said Daniel Kaufman, remarking that the timing for the celebration was fitting: “The anniversary of his death was twenty years ago last week.”
“He was like a second father to me,” remembered Jimmy Kaufman. “’Rik guided me in life.”
“He was a business genius,” added Daniel, a sentiment echoed by cousin Peggy Gaon, who has fond memories of skiing in the Laurentians with the late Mr. Kaufman when they were children.
Dr. Ariane Marelli, Associate Professor of Medicine, took the podium to explain that the Fund will attract the best and brightest PhD level scholars to McGill, ensuring the sustainability of what is one of the largest cardiovascular groups in Canada, with 54 cardiologists, 15 cardiac or vascular surgeons, five basic science researchers, and seven cardiovascular internists.
“In Canada, someone dies every seven minutes from heart disease or stroke,” said Dr. Marelli.
“Rik would have been happy about how the money is being used,” said friend Robert Garfinkle, who, with Kenneth Wolfe, played golf with the late Mr. Kaufman every Saturday morning. At the time of Mr. Kaufman’s death, the three childhood friends lived around the corner from one another in the Montreal suburb of Hampstead.
On the topic of Mr. Kaufman’s heart condition Mr. Kaufman’s heart condition, Mr. Wolfe said, “If he struggled with it, he kept it to himself.”
Marc Weinstein presented Daniel and Jimmy Kaufman with the James McGill Crystal, which they proposed to share with their sister, Lynda McGiffert, who could not be present.
About the Fund, Dr. David Eidelman, Vice-Principal of Health Affairs and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, said, “This is an exceptional gift, to serve a great purpose, and we are grateful to be celebrating it today.”
“It’s all about Rik,” said Jimmy Kaufman. “This is because of him.”
February 19, 2015