McGill’s flag atop the Arts Building flew at half mast on Wednesday as the community mourns the passing of Rosalind Goodman, a devoted alumna, generous philanthropist, and tireless volunteer, who committed herself to energizing cancer research activities at McGill and to educating others about the disease. It is an illness she fought and survived in 2007, but one that ultimately took her life on Monday, Aug. 11.
In 2008, Rosalind and her husband Morris made a transformative multi-million dollar gift to support the McGill Cancer Centre, which was renamed the Rosalind and Morris Goodman Cancer Research Centre (GCRC) in their honour. Not only did their support allow McGill to bring together more than 300 leading cancer researchers, students and staff in a new state-of-the-art facility, but it also cemented the University’s status as a leading strategic hub for innovative cancer research.
“Rosalind Goodman had a special ability to inspire the people around her,” said Suzanne Fortier, McGill’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “She channeled her boundless energy, and her passion for helping others, into a lifelong mission to support world-class scientists in the battle to eradicate cancer. She was an extraordinary woman.”
Helping the Centre to thrive was a true labour of love for Mrs. Goodman, and she was a driving force behind its popular annual lecture series and its hugely successful biennial galas that raised more than $6 million for the Centre’s activities.
“Rosalind Goodman was the heart and soul behind the Goodman Centre,” said Dr. Morag Park, Director of the Goodman Cancer Research Centre. “She had a profound admiration for the Centre’s researchers and a genuine interest in the work they were doing. All her efforts on behalf of the Centre had one overriding goal – to benefit the cancer scientists who are working to unravel the mysteries of this dreadful disease.”
“Rosalind Goodman passionately dedicated the last several years to helping advance the basic cancer research that is crucial to turning the tide on the disease,” said Dr. David Eidelman, Vice-Principal of Health Affairs and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine. “The impact and legacy that she leaves will be lasting, and we are forever grateful for her extraordinary support and selfless devotion.”
In addition to her tireless work on behalf of the Centre, Mrs. Goodman donated her time and energy to an array of philanthropic causes – efforts that earned her an Outstanding Volunteer of the Year award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals in 2011. That same year, McGill bestowed Honorary Doctorates on both Rosalind and Morris Goodman.
“McGill has lost one of its most generous and devoted champions of cancer research,” said Marc Weinstein, Vice Principal of University Advancement. “In the battle against cancer, Roz was a true warrior and a tireless advocate for the Centre, and she had an incredible ability to reach out and successfully rally the Montreal community to this important cause. Though in the end she lost her personal battle to cancer, the time and energy that she devoted to this wider fight, and the future discoveries and breakthroughs that are surely to come as a result of her efforts, will be her everlasting legacy.”
In addition to supporting cancer research, the Goodman family has also supported other areas at McGill, including the Faculty of Law, the Department of Oncology and the Schulich School of Music.