November 7, 1996

News from Development and Alumni Relations

Mary Brown was a great believer in the credo "Healthy body, healthy mind." She was convinced not only that physical and mental health were related, but also that modern medicine should treat the whole person. So it came as no surprise that when she decided to benefit McGill through her will, she provided for the creation of a mental health and preventive medical care centre here.

Mrs. Brown, who passed away in January of this year, left an extraordinarily generous sum to McGill, of which $1.25 million will be used for the creation of the new facility. Her husband William has strongly supported what Mrs. Brown sought to do for McGill students, so the University will name the new centre after both of them. It will locate the William and Mary Brown Medical and Mental Health Care Centre in a new building for student services.

The bequest is a vital step in making the new building a reality, according to McGill's Dean of Students, Rosalie Jukier. "There have been many important gifts, but now we can say there is no doubt as to whether it will be built," Jukier says. The new addition to the downtown campus will be located on the south side of Dr. Penfield Avenue between Peel and McTavish streets and thus will be linked to the Shatner Building. Jukier is eager for the new Student Services building to replace its "cramped and badly located" predecessor. "It will make the quality of student life so much better."

The Dean also believes health care for students will improve. Health services will have more space--6,600 square feet of the new building's total of 32,000 square feet are earmarked for the Medical and Mental Health Care Centre. Students--who already make 18,000 health-related visits to the Powell Student Services Building annually--will be more likely to seek assistance in a comfortable, welcoming environment, she says.

Mary Brown's bequest also provides for an endowment to maintain the centre and to fund research projects. At the moment, the Mental Health Service, for example, is involved in investigations into depression, suicidal behaviour, the consequences of divorce and the interaction between innate personality traits and environmental influences.

Mrs. Brown had a particular interest in mental health issues, having earned bachelor's degrees from the University of Western Ontario and the University of Toronto in mental health studies. She continued in the field, doing graduate studies at McGill in the 1930s, as well as working for the province of Ontario. Her husband, a Queen's graduate, has a McGill connection as well, and a medical one at that. His father, William Arthur Brown, won the Holmes Medal, awarded by the Faculty of Medicine to the student achieving the best academic performance, in 1891.

"Generosity at work" is a monthly column from Development and Alumni Relations which seeks to illustrate the ways McGill is made better through private support--financial and other--from graduates, parents and friends of the University.