Local couple and former UBC faculty members donate $3.3 million for scholarships

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Sydney Friedman

Constance and Sydney Friedman dedicated their professional lives to UBC and now their legacy of generosity will live on with a $3.3-million donation to fund scholarships for medical students.

The Friedmans were the first appointments to UBC’s brand new Faculty of Medicine in 1950, teaching the first graduating class of 1954. Together they established the department of anatomy, a department Sydney Friedman lead from 1950-1981. Constance taught and researched at UBC until her retirement in 1985. She and her husband published more than 200 papers together. Constance Friedman passed away in June 2011 and Sydney Friedman in February 2015.

“The Friedmans were instrumental in making the UBC Faculty of Medicine the exceptional medical school that it is today,” said UBC President Prof. Santa Ono. “The university is grateful for everything they did and the endowment that allows that good work to continue.”

Funding for the scholarships comes from the Constance Livingstone Friedman and Sydney Friedman Foundation, following the sale of the couple’s former home this summer. The donation will endow two awards – the Friedman Scholars in Health Award and the Friedman Travel Award.

Four 2016 Friedman Scholars in Health (graduate students in the broad field of health) received $25,000 to $50,000 each to advance their work through studies outside Canada. Two MD program graduates were presented with $5,000 each to travel during their first year out of university. The goal of the Friedman Travel Award is to provide the recipient with an opportunity to experience diverse cultures so that they may enhance their global perspective with patients.

The Friedmans also appreciated and valued architecture. Their colleague and fellow UBC pioneer Fred Lasserre (first director of the UBC School of Architecture) designed their long-time home in the 4900-block of Chancellor Blvd. The grounds of the home were designed by renowned landscape architect and honorary UBC professor Cornelia Hahn Oberlander. More than 60 years later, the Friedman House and its gardens are seen as a showcase example of the mid-century modern aesthetic.

Many in the community feared the house would be torn down, but after media coverage a buyer stepped forward who was willing to preserve the property.

“Everyone at the foundation was relieved the home would be preserved. It’s what Sydney and Constance wanted. They would be thrilled to know that the medical school they helped to build and the students they so cherished will be able to benefit,” said Dr. Al Boggie, co-president of the Friedman Foundation.