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In Memoriam: Dr. J. Fraser Mustard (1927 – 2011)

It is with profound sadness that we learned today about the passing of Fraser Mustard – a remarkable man loved and admired by the CIFAR community. All who were privileged to work with him were awed by his charisma, prodigious energy and determination. We were inspired by his extraordinary vision for research excellence in Canada.

Fraser, a founding father of CIFAR, served as President of the Institute for 14 years. Most recently, he was an active member of the Institute’s Advisory Committee for its Experience-based Brain and Biological Development program.

From the beginning, the idea of creating a “university without walls” excited Fraser’s imagination. He wanted nothing less than to create an Institute defined by achievement and research excellence in Canada. His vision was to create a global institute that promoted interdisciplinary, inter-university research and explored the scientific and social challenges important to Canada and the world.

By bringing together outstanding researchers from across Canada and around the world, he contributed to this country’s international leadership in advanced research. Fraser also had a remarkable capacity to rally leaders from different professions, interests and regions of Canada in support of the Institute.

Well-known for his leadership of the Early Years Study with the Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain, Fraser made an extraordinary contribution to the world’s understanding of how social and economic gradients affect health, early child development and lifetime well-being. These topics continue to be important areas of research for the Institute today.

Before establishing CIFAR, Fraser was widely respected for his work in blood and vascular disease. In 1966, he was one of the founding members of McMaster University’s Faculty of Medicine. He was bestowed with many awards and honours throughout his life, including his appointments as Companion of the Order of Canada, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and Laureate of the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.

His foresight and imagination were widely sought out and respected by the Canadian community. Every day at CIFAR, we strive to carry on his legacy by bringing together the world’s brilliant thinkers and giving them the freedom to cross conventional boundaries and tackle research that is helping to create a better future for Canada and the world.

He will be deeply missed.

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CIFAR is a registered charitable organization supported by the governments of Canada, Alberta and Quebec, as well as foundations, individuals, corporations and Canadian and international partner organizations.

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