The has announced gifts totaling $8.1 million (C$9.1 million) from Canadian diamond mining pioneer Charles Fipke in support of Alzheimer’s research.
The gifts include $5.5 million toward the purchase of advanced brain imaging technology, $3 million to endow a professorship dedicated to Alzheimer’s research, and $600,000 to outfit a lab at the , a partnership between the UBC and healthcare services provider . Haakon Nygaard, who joined UBC from the , has been named the new Fipke Professor in Alzheimer’s Research.
A UBC alumnus whose geological discoveries made Canada one of the world’s leading producers of diamonds, Fipke previously had given $8.7 million to the university, primarily for buildings and equipment at its Okanagan campus. According to UBC, Fipke was moved to make the gifts by the plight of his longtime friend, former British Columbia premier Bill Bennett, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.
"Our family is incredibly grateful to Chuck Fipke for this generous donation to Alzheimer's research, and we are very moved by his reasons for doing it," said Bennett's son, Brad. "The end game has to be to find a cure for this. We still don't know what causes this disease, and there are far too many people afflicted with it and far too many families like ours suffering the horrible consequences. They say with Alzheimer's patients you say goodbye twice, the first of those being the most difficult because you’re saying goodbye to the person you knew and loved while they are still alive."