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The Psychiatry Department has Irving Ludmer to thank for a thoughtful gift that will make it easier for faculty and students to develop their thinking.
"One of the things I thought about when I was a young man studying particle physics at McGill was, ‘How does matter create thought?' " recalled Mr. Ludmer, a 1957 engineering physics alumnus, long-time executive with the Steinberg grocery chain and now president of Cleman Ludmer Steinberg Inc.
Though it would seem quite a leap from particle physics to psychiatry, Mr. Ludmer's interest in both disciplines helped shape his decision, 50 years later, to give $3 million toward much-needed renovations in McGill University's Department of Psychiatry that will enhance labs and offices in ways immeasurably conducive to creating thought.
"We're in a 43-year-old building that has hardly been touched on the inside," said Joel Paris, Chair of the Department of Psychiatry. "This will make it a more attractive building for recruits and produce a better climate for research."
The investment will transform psychiatry at McGill by improving research and work space for current and future clinicians. "I studied at McGill, it's a great university and it's the medical faculty that has really led the way in enhancing its recognition beyond Montreal and outside Canada,"
Mr. Ludmer said. "And I think psychiatry is an area where McGill can excel."
The renovations, which have already begun, are expected to take two years. They will include new ventilation systems, improved fire-exit pathways and general renovation of laboratories and offices throughout the research and training facility on Pine Avenue West.
After graduating in '57, Ludmer joined Steinberg Inc., where he held a number of positions, including vice-president. In 1970, he left the grocery chain to form a real estate consulting firm, then entered the field of real estate development. Ludmer became president of Steinberg in 1984, then CEO in 1985. When Steinberg was sold in 1989, he and his partners formed the investment holding company Cleman Ludmer Steinberg Inc.