FAB friends


by Philip Fine

Mitch Garber, BA, and Benjamin Burko, BSc, MDCM’88, have been friends since high school. The two were recently named co-chairs of the Faculty Advisory Board (FAB), and will use the familiarity of that long-held friendship to steer the FAB towards its goals of promoting community engagement, fundraising and entrepreneurship.

Garber, who also holds an LLL from the University of Ottawa, is CEO of Caesar’s Acquisition Company, which runs the World Series of Poker and Planet Hollywood, and is Chairman of Cirque du Soleil. Burko is Assistant Professor at the McGill University Health Centre in the departments of Pediatrics and Family Medicine and was, until recently, owner of Tiny Tots Medical Centre, where he is also Medical Director.

Both have years of experience volunteering their time and expertise. Garber has established the Garber Family Post Doctorate Fellowship in Hereditary Cancer at the Faculty and has taken on numerous community leadership roles, including co-chairing Centraide’s 2016 campaign. Burko has been a longtime volunteer fundraiser, beginning at 13 when he worked the phones for Federation CJA. He recently organized the 25th reunion for his Medicine class.

Now in its third year and formerly chaired by McGill Medicine parent Gail Adelson-Marcovitz, BCom, BCL, the FAB seeks to use philanthropic dollars to ensure the Faculty continues to set a new standard for health sciences education in Canada.

Garber and Burko both agree that the Faculty’s brand is strong, but that it could better capitalize on that good name to attract more donations. “We possess one of the world’s most respected academic brands,” says Garber, who adds that the FAB is trying to find business ideas that support the high standing of the brand and generate revenue for the Faculty.

As Burko explains, the FAB members are looking for ideas that are “clonable, scalable, marketable and monetizable in ways that we haven’t thought about.”

The first meeting with the new co-chairs will take place in June 2017. (Philip Fine)

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