Celebrating 55 Years by Giving Back
“I am indebted to McGill for my medical education,” says William Bentham, MDCM’55, GradDipMed’59, who has given back to McGill since 1956. Recently, Bentham and his wife Christie have established the Dr. William H. and Mrs. Christie J. Bentham McGill Medical Research Fund to support Parkinson’s research at the McGill Centre for Studies in Aging (MCSA). This outstanding gift of $100,000 is in addition to the Benthams’ previous contributions of $200,000 to McGill for the study of aging.
The retired physician has fond memories of his medical education and anesthesia training at McGill. Bentham paid his way through medical school by working as a night lab technician and ambulance driver at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where he was inspired by the pioneering work in anesthesia of Harold Griffith, BA’14, MDCM ‘22, director of the hospital. After interning at the Hamilton General Hospital where he met his wife Christie, a speech/language pathologist, Bentham returned to McGill for his anesthesia specialty training. He then went on to have a successful career as an anesthesiologist in Toronto, including cosmetic anesthesia and pain control as subspecialties. The Benthams adopted six children and now have 14 grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Supporters of many causes over the course of their lives, the Benthams are deeply aware of the importance of Parkinson’s research, as Bentham himself was diagnosed with the disease eight years ago.
Plans for their new research fund are underway at the MCSA, which continues to be involved in the many facets of Parkinson’s research, from clinical trials of new medications to studies of genetics and prevention. Jens Pruessner, the Centre’s director, is excited by the possibilities. “We hope to use this endowment to fund important long-term needs,” he says. Potential projects include longitudinal studies to assess the risk and incidence of the disease in the Montreal community.
This year marks the 55th anniversary of Bentham’s graduation, and the class of 1955 will be celebrating at Homecoming. Says Bentham of his generous giving: “I welcome the opportunity to express my gratitude for the excellent education I received. It’s important to give to those who follow.”